It doesn’t seem to matter what industry, organizational level, or number of years a manager has in their job; the biggest error I see the boss making is thinking that they need to have all of the answers.
It’s not just exhausting for the boss, it’s counterproductive for the role of a boss. If you truly want to get the job of ‘getting work done through others’ done well, you will need to engage your workforce so that they feel valued.
Sure, you can give them ‘atta boys’ and ‘atta girls,’ and provide clear and concise direction, but that isn’t a strategy to truly engage them The best way to show people that they are important is to ask for their input when you are problem solving.
The job of the manager is to facilitate the development of their employees, not just make decisions and assign work. As the boss, you are not the one to whom all problems should come for solutions. You are one who is supposed to be developing problem solvers. If you think that a great manager is to the person to come up with the best solutions, think again!
Tips for Effective People Management
- Know how your employees differ. Ask them to describe their ideal manager to learn who hopes for firm direction and who wants more autonomy; then treat them accordingly.
- Ask more questions for employees who seek to be more involved. Ask them to come to you with options for solutions, not only problems.
- Ask more questions to find out what they think. Then be quiet and listen to what they have to say.
- Manage expectations by making your role clear. Make sure they (the ones who want a more directive boss) understand the benefits of your taking a more facilitative and supportive role. Explain that you want to engage them and foster broader ownership rather than be the ‘one with all the answers.’
- Hold regular one-to-one meetings and ask them what went well and what didn’t since your last meeting. Encourage them to think of at least 2 things they did that they are pleased about. When you move to what hasn’t gone well, use questions to encourage ideas for improvement out of them. What will they do differently the next time around?
- Think strategically about which decisions you have to make and which decisions need to be drawn out of others.
- Don’t keep all the ‘fun and ‘sexy’ stuff for yourself. Delegate genuine developmental challenges.
Often remind managers that one size will not fit all. To manage people effectively, broaden your role and include being a catalyst. Flex your style for the needs of different employees. If you don’t develop your talent, they may look for someone else somewhere else who will