How Not To Be THAT Boss: A Guide On Being A Great Manager
You’ve made it! You’re finally the manager of your very own team. But what exactly does it take to make yourself a great manager? You don’t just want to be a good manager, you want to be great! Let’s start with hiring.
Not Exact Copy
Whether you are starting up a new team for a project or already have an existing team, you should always be looking for new talent. But how would you decide who to choose? Here’s where many managers overlook one important aspect: don’t hire yourself. Similar? Yes. But an exact copy? Probably not a good idea. Why? While the manager may be great at what they do and a great team player, to benchmark the candidate based on their own traits will be exactly that: a clone of sorts. For any team to function effectively, however, you need to have more than one type of person. Think of a CEO. They might be smart, well educated, and probably know how to speak well to motivate the team towards a goal, but if the entire company consisted of CEOs, it would be a bust! That’s why there are vice presidents of sales, of production, of finance, of technology and others to help manage a large corporation. A manager needs a team that has similar traits but also able to fill the gaps that the team members are missing or needing some extra help.
We’ve probably heard and read many times about how an effective leader listens to their team. I 100% agree! What often gets missed, though, is that a manager needs to talk to their team too. The manager is responsible for sharing their plan and how they are going to reach that goal. It doesn’t matter how great your idea might be if you can’t explain that same vision to your team. If no one understands your idea, it makes it very difficult to achieve. Of course a few inspirational speeches (or just listing minor achievements) along the progress of the project goes a long way.
Sharing the plan with the team, however, does not mean to micromanage the details of what and how they complete the task! Not only does micromanagement lead to low workplace morale, less creativity, and poor productivity, but as a manager, you miss out on the potential for ideas leading to greater efficiency and an overall better product. Give the team the task and let them run with it! Make it an open environment where the team members can approach you if they have questions or problems rather than the other way around. This, of course, doesn’t mean you don’t have periodic check-ups at all (that would be poor management too). Instead, have reviews and deadlines based on a timeline agreed by the team at the start of the project. On the topic of flexible workplace hours and locations, we had this discussion here.
This point is simple. You work hard, your employees are held to a certain standard of working hard. You slack off, they have less motivation to work as hard. Also, pretending to work hard is just as bad as slacking off.
Here is the one thing that we always try to best remind our readers. Have a succession plan! Just as you might be looking to move up in the company with your great management skills you’ve applied from this article, you need to prepare the next person for your role. Like being dropped into a pool when you don’t know how to swim, no one likes that feeling. Even if you are going to be working with an existing team for a long period of time, you want your team to improve their skills leading to creating better work and generating more revenue. On the same note, provide the opportunity for education for your employees. If they are willing to take the time outside of work to learn new skills that can be translated to their workflow, great managers should embrace that and provide the resources for that training. At the end of the day, the employee feels valued that the company is supporting their learning, and the company gains a more effective and skilled employee.