They say a team is a reflection of its leadership. You cannot underestimate the power a manager has when it comes to deciding the success of his/her team. However, with power comes responsibility. Great managers can come in all sizes but a few traits are common in all of them. Take a look at what successful managers do and don’t do to become and remain successful.
Things managers should do:
1. Focus on the development of employees as individuals
Yes, a manager’s first priority should be to create a successful team but it is worth pointing out here that only successful individuals make such teams. You, as a manager, must prioritise upskilling and ensure your team members never stop learning.
The best part here is that the Ministry of Manpower believes continuous education and trainings are at the heart of the city’s competitive workforce and has thus set up the SkillsFuture Council to help individuals enhance their knowledge through various courses and trainings, all sponsored by the government. Encourage your employees to take up these courses and reward those who do.
2. Work hard, without bragging about it
Managers are trendsetters for their teams. For example, if you are punctual, everyone will try to come on time; if you are kind, your team members will be empathetic too.
Plus, nobody likes a manager who doesn’t get his hands dirty and only dictates. So, roll up your sleeves and do the hard work; your team members will follow. And yes, please don’t brag.
3. Be there for your team, always
Remember how Harvey got his associate Mike’s back in front of others when he needed it the most in the famous American legal drama series Suits? A successful manager is protective of his team members and is always present when they need him/her. However, that does not mean you don’t point out the mistakes when it’s made.
4. Ditch the gossip
As a manager, you will be privy to the sensitive personal and professional issues of your team members. It is your responsibility not to give away these secrets at the lunch table or at an official dinner. Always remember, your team members trust you with their issues and expect you not to gossip about them. So, respect that.
5. Encourage and reward team work
Tough times don’t last; tough teams do. The truth here cannot be undermined. Yes, you must promote and reward individual successes but don’t miss out on fostering team work.
For example, when your team achieves a target, reward the team instead of an individual. This will bring them closer and get them all excited to achieve the next one. They don’t say, “None of us is as smart as all of us” for nothing!
6. Try innovation
Your team is fun — you do the right things, enjoy after-work dinners, bond well and life is quite a hoot! However, it helps to be a manager who can also play the role of a mentor. Think long-term growth and make plans to add value to the business you work in.
Have a brainstorm Wednesday (after lunch, maybe), where you throw ideas at what can be done better at work. Try them out and keep a scorecard. Going the extra mile is what makes a good team a great one.
Things managers should NOT do
1. Don’t micromanage
Asking “What are you on?” or “Is it done yet?” every other minute is not one of the best manager traits. Plus, it’s simply annoying for the person who has to answer that. While there are managers who track bathroom breaks of their team members, you don’t want to be one of them.
Once you have given a task to a team member, trust him/her to complete it on time. They will ask for your help if needed. Giving them their space will also give them confidence. If leaving them alone is too difficult for you, try yoga to make you calmer!
2. Don’t be secluded
There is a thin line between being a micromanager and being an approachable manager. Identify it and be the latter. Many companies say they have an ‘open door’ policy but only a few actually implement it.
You can make sure your team members know they can talk to you anytime at work as well as over the weekends if needed (don’t be over-generous here, of course!). Have lunch with them, take them out for coffee, and celebrate their birthdays. They must think of you as a friend and not a boss.
3. Don’t pick a favourite
This goes without saying. Just like parents are not allowed to have a favourite child, you are hereby forbidden to have a favourite team member! Although it looks like an easy one to follow, you might unknowingly prefer a particular team member over the others. We all like the outperformers! But show the love during the appraisal chat. Not every day. Share the big projects within the team and give everyone a chance.
4. Don’t shy away from apologising
You are human and will make mistakes. Not accepting them will only make you a despicable manager. If you mess up, apologise. Your team members will stand by you and help you with damage control.
By accepting your mistake, you are also discouraging blame-game in the team and encouraging a problem-solving and supportive approach.
5. Don’t hog the limelight
We all know this very well. There are managers who give ample credit to their team for their success and then there are those who brag about how great they are. Nobody likes the latter breed.
If you are being presented with an award or have achieved a target, make sure you mention how your team members helped you do so. This will make them feel valued and their respect for you will increase manifold!
6. Don’t be over-zealous about rules
It helps to treat your team as one comprising mature adults who know their way around the world. No one is in school and you haven’t been crowned principal. So, let the rules be known, but don’t be the roll-caller. Focus on innovation and efficiency instead.
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