It's not easy managing people especially right now, when the economy is down and stress levels are up. Being a great manager takes time and dedication.
Here are a few tips to help you be the leader that people want to follow:
- Share information. There's a lot going on these days. Long management meetings are bound to make your team nervous. Communicate the news that you can, so minds don’t wander.
- Say thanks. People want to feel appreciated! A simple thank-you note doesn't cost a thing, and it makes a huge difference. Why not write a thank-you e-mail to your direct report and CC your boss?
- Empower through delegation. We know no one can do it as well as you can, BUT you need to delegate to give yourself time to complete tasks more appropriate for your level.
- Adjust your style. You have many different communication styles and personalities on your team. Don't think that you can manage everyone the same way, and don't assume everyone likes to be managed the way you like to be managed.
- Set small milestones. Everyone loves achieving goals and celebrating success. If you can't match last year's numbers, set milestones that can be reached. Your team will appreciate the focus and brighter perspective this brings.
- Remove obstacles. Bureaucracy stifles creativity and innovation. If you can streamline processes or cut down some of the paperwork, it will be easier for your team to succeed.
- Give feedback – the good, the bad, AND the ugly! You know that spinach leaf that gets stuck in your teeth after lunch? Don't you want someone to tell you about it? Your direct reports want feedback, and it’s crucial in making your team as productive as possible.
- Focus your time. It's the old 80:20 principle. Focus the majority of your time and attention on the 20% of your people and projects that generate 80% of your results.
- Raise your hand. When your people see you putting in extra hours, volunteering to pitch in, and "walking the walk", they are inspired to jump in and follow your lead.
- Have fun. Your team wants to enjoy going to work. Play ten minutes of Boggle in the afternoon, have a chili cook-off, or hold a sandwich swap to keep the positive energy flowing.
Managing a team is challenging, but it's rewarding and worthwhile if you invest the time and the effort.