Behind every successful business, high performance team, and high employee morale record, there is a successful manager. The happiness of employees (and ultimately their performance) is often highly dependent on the relationship they have with their direct manager/supervisor.
In the book “First Break All the Rules: What The Worlds’ Greatest Managers Do Differently”, by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, the authors state that people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers.
One of the biggest challenges for managers in small businesses is the lack of resources. Unhappy employees and a high employee turnover rate can be a recipe for disaster. Good hiring decisions will acquire top talent, but great management is often what keeps this talent in the long run. It is important to invest in your employees and ensure that they have the right support, motivation and challenges to help them reach their peak.
If you want to ensure your employees are happy, as well as retain your top talent and limit the amount of training sessions you are running, then you should look at yourself in the mirror and see if you are following these 10 tips of being a successful manager:
1. Be a mentor and a coach (not a drill sergeant)
View yourself as a coach and a mentor who is there to help develop your team and team members’ potential, not as a drill sergeant there to crack the whip and keep employees in check. Most employees want a job where they can grow, be respected, challenged with great work and where they can build great relationships and friendships. View yourself as a coach who is there to motivate the team when they need it and mend their wounds to get ready to fight another day.
2. Put yourself in their shoes & provide support
Every great leader was once a follower. Never forget where you came from and put yourself in your team members’ shoes to consider things from their perspectives. Ask yourself: what would have been helpful for me if I was in that situation? What type of support/coaching would have benefited me?
3. Give them challenges & help them build a development plan/career roadmap
To build a high performance team, you need to challenge your employees to do their best work while also allowing them to reach their personal career objectives. A happy employee is one who sees the value of their work and who feels productive and needed. As a manager and a coach, you should help each team member reach their full potential by helping them create a yearly development plan of one or two key career goals they would like to meet. Then during the year, be on the lookout for these opportunities and give them to the employees who are actively working on acquiring these skills.
4. Customize your management style
Everyone operates differently and we all have different drives and motivations. Some of us are intrinsically motivated while others are extrinsically motivated. Get to know each one of your team members and what makes them tick. No one size fits all.
5. Lead by example
The greatest managers are the first ones to get their hands dirty when push comes to shove. If you are asking your team to work overtime, then you should be in the trenches with them throughout the night.
6. Be open, honest and transparent
Good communication and trust are key ingredients for a happy high performance team. If you want your team to feel comfortable, to be honest and have trust in you, then you need to do the same with them. People can always sense when someone is not being genuine with them. Being honest and open also means admitting your own mistakes and acknowledging when you don’t have the answers. Don’t try to be a know-it-all.
7. Push them to their best and have difficult conversations when you need to
At the end of the day, you are running a business and trying to be successful in a competitive market. The business world is not all roses and sunshine and sometimes you need to have difficult conversations with individuals if they are not meeting expectations. The way you phrase your feedback is important and the conversation should focus on development points, along with suggestions for improvement and support. Remember that we are all human and mistakes happen.
8. Never stop learning
In order to be a great manager, you should recognize there is always room for you to learn and improve. Cultivate a positive personal growth mindset and create your own yearly development plan with individual career goals.
9. Be confident and trust yourself
Leaders need to show confidence and provide their team with a direction and a compelling vision. Trust your own abilities, they are what got you to where you are today.
10. Work on your own issues and develop yourself
If you find yourself lacking in some of the points above or in your own confidence, then you should focus on dealing with those internal issues or road blocks.
Now get out there, lead the way and build a successful high performance team!
Photo Copyright: Edyta Pawlowska