Do you know what one of the biggest mistakes companies make when it comes to hiring a manager or promoting those into management positions? Assuming they’ll be great at managing and leading people based solely on their previous job performances. I’ve seen it time and time again people being hired or promoted into roles that put them in a position of being responsible for other people, and they are not wired, nor fit to do so…and in many cases, don’t want to be except for the benefits that come with the title. In many cases, the best managers are by nature, nurturers. People that naturally are fulfilled by taking care of others, and take more pride in their accomplishments over their own. I’ve had the fortunes of being able to be in management roles over the past 15 years, and have had some amazing teams, but more importantly, have learned quite a few lessons along the way.
- Authentically give a shit. In most cases, you spend more time with the people you work with than your own families. Taking an interest in the lives of the people you manage goes a long way in building strong relationships, trust, and bonds that lend themselves to incredible team dynamics. It makes everything easier along the way when you hit work related roadblocks and challenges.
- Hire/Enable great people and get out of the way. I’m a firm believer in hiring people that are better than you are. Surround yourself with great people and get out of their way. Let them be great. Your job is to enable people to do great work and mentor along the way. NOBODY likes a micro-manager yet the world is chock full of them.
- Celebrate. Whether it’s birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, life events or work related accomplishments, celebrate and elevate those on your team when they happen. I currently have a team of 3 which obviously makes this more manageable, but I love surprising my team with gifts or decorations on their desks. Bonus Manager Hack: have everyone you manage on your team fill out a list of their favorite things their first week and tuck it away when needed. By the time you use it, they’ll forget you even did that and be shocked at your ability to gift some of their fave things.
- It’s about them, not you. I rarely ever point out my own achievements…perhaps to a fault sometimes. When it comes to leadership meetings or getting credit for team performance, I always point to the members on my team and their accomplishments. It’s my job to advocate for them, help them learn, grow, and evolve their careers. I need to be their biggest cheerleaders, and always have their back.
- Let them fail. There’s nothing wrong with making mistakes. Encourage risk taking, it’s where the majority of learning and career development happen. It’s critical to create an environment where employees feel like they can take chances and make some mistakes. It’s all about “failing up”. Making sure that when things don’t go as planned, learning from them and course correcting.
There’s certainly much more to being a great manager, but these are some of the biggest reasons I’ve been able to have the level of success as a manager that I’ve had, and some incredible working relationships along the way.