There are two distinctly different, yet equally damaging, types of ineffective managers who can cause their team a world of harm. Micromanagers, whose involvement with projects is suffocatingly close, are the more infamous of the two. However, absentee managers are just as problematic because they fail to provide the guidance and support their team needs – especially during the most critical times.
Managers who display the following traits may be ill-suited to a management role:
- They do not set goals
- They are reluctant to listen
- They either feel intimidated by details -or- demand too many
- They lack problem-solving skills -or- formulate solutions without fully understanding problems
- They either build and throw snowballs -or- task others with throwing them
Problematic managers wreak havoc on employees and have long term negative effects on companies.
The average organization is 50% as productive as it should be, thanks to less-than-optimal leadership practices.1
Managers account for at least 70 percent of the variance in employee engagement.2
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to become a more thoughtful and effective manager.
Collaborate to Set Goals and Objectives
Managers may be in charge, but that does not mean they should be the only employees who determine objectives for the team. Setting goals as a team accomplishes the following:
- Makes employees feel like valued members of the team
- Obtains input from multiple people with varying perspectives and experiences
- Familiarizes employees with objectives from the very beginning
- Fine tunes the team’s comfort level in working together
Communication skills are among the most critical for good managers to possess and display. If the lines of communication go down, the dire consequences can include misunderstandings, oversights and resentment.
Communicating effectively begins with what is perhaps the most important step: listening. In order to truly digest what your employees are saying, you must listen carefully before responding. (This includes listening entirely and not completing sentences or making assumptions.) After they finish speaking, ask for relevant details to make sure you get the full picture. Once you have processed what your employee has told you, you need to make a smart decision about whether you need more information to proceed.
It is important to strike a balance between exhibiting genuine curiosity and asking silly questions. Equally imperative is resisting the urge to create extra work for the sake of keeping employees busy.
Get in the Trenches
While as a manager you hold a position of superiority over employees, you should still be willing to roll up your sleeves and work hard alongside your team. Tap into their thoughts while you are there by encouraging them to give you feedback about improvements they feel could be made; after all, they do the job day and day out and may be more aware of challenges and opportunities – as well as simple solutions that can save time and/or money, create new relationships/revenue for the company, or identify/mitigate risks.
Take a Wholistic Approach to Problem Solving
It is not enough, as a leader, to respond to problems; you must anticipate them. This way, you can, to the best of your ability, prevent them from occurring in the first place.
For example, could a specific department’s feedback be critical to your team? Delivery times be impacted by an upcoming strike by regional carrier? Time to market hindered due to new government regulations? Rumblings about a competitor developing a new product/service line that will directly compete with your company?
Of course, sometimes problems arise despite your best efforts. When this happens and employees approach you, it is essential to listen objectively, encourage your employees to come up with a solution and then brainstorm solutions with them.
Remove Obstacles to Success
Every team will encounter obstacles on the road to success; this is inevitable. You can establish yourself as a good manager by devising effective strategies for removing obstacles – especially those that could cause major issues for your organization.
You can impress your employees even more by preventing obstacles from emerging in the first place. Remain aware so that you can see obstacles coming before they make themselves known.
Employees that feel appreciated are more likely to perform well. This is psychology 101. Demonstrating recognition of their hard work and accomplishments does not have to cost your company a lot of time or money.
It starts with simply recognizing them, whether verbally in a group meeting or with a physical gesture such as a small gift card. Never try to take credit for the contributions your employees make to the benefit of the organization. Be humble and make it known that they deserve the credit.
While it may sound minor, it is equally as effective to get to know each employee as a person. Take the time to give them individual attention outside of formal meetings. Learn the names of their spouse, children, dog, find out what their hobbies are, etc.
The aforementioned practices can be implemented at any organization. Taking the time and making the effort to become a thoughtful manager will pay off in dividends with engaged, motivated and hard working employees who consistently perform well.
For more information about how Gavel International can help your organization through outsourced meeting planning, event and travel incentive programs, contact us.