Successful Managers are Great Communicators and More
What does it take to be a successful manager? Great communication skills will be a good start - in fact, this is vital. Setting a good example may be useful, but there are pitfalls with this approach. Understanding the individuals in the team is essential. All of these things come in addition to the industry and product knowledge you must have. Talent alone is not enough. To be a successful manager you need more attributes than you ever realised. Today we look at some of these.
The best managers I have ever known are the ones who really want to well and are motivated to keep learning and keep improving their skills. Managers who are open to feedback, who encourage others to have input on better ways of doing things will succeed more than managers who think they know it all already and just want the team to get on with the job.
Successful managers share ideas, listen to other people's ideas, keep an open mind and admit their mistakes. No one person has all the answers. Team members often see things that a manager will miss, because people at the "doing" end of the business have a different perspective and see issues that may be missed from the managers point of view.
Some managers are afraid to look like they don't have all the answers. They don't invite input from the team because they are afraid of criticism. They want to appear strong, but in reality, when they shy away from criticism they actually appear weak to their team.
Some managers are very clever, productive, hard-working people and they think others should just do the same as they do. In fact, they get frustrated when team members react differently or do not take the same actions as they would themselves. This creates pressure and tension in the team, because team members feel they cannot ever live up to the manager's expectations.
Successful managers are not perfect. Perfection is intimidating. If the manager comes across as always right, always perfect and expects everyone else to be the same - people will give up trying, or get very depressed because they are not good enough. This does not enhance the productivity of the team. It does not make the manager more successful either - it just increases the stress levels.
Many managers do not take the time to really understand their team members. We are not all the same. We are all different! Unless a manager tunes in to these differences and understands how to communicate effectively with each person, they will not enjoy the success they are hoping for.
People who feel misunderstood, or who have unrealistic expectations put on them will never perform at their best. Many times, team members need training in certain aspects of their job. If they are unsure how or what to do, they become paralysed with fear because the manager will not be happy. I have met so many people who are afraid to ask for help, or afraid to approach their manager. This situation is crazy, but sadly true.
A manager who thinks they are always right and team members should just harden up and get on with it, will be deeply disappointed. Team members will underperform and a toxic environment may develop as the manager blames the team for all the short-comings of the business. Resentment will build up from the team who may begin to feel useless or undervalued. The reality is, the manager is handling things all wrong.
The best thing a manager can do is ask "How can I help?"
How can I help improve the systems or processes? How can I help improve your knowledge of products? How can I help you do your job better? What blocks are in the way? How can we get rid of the blocks. What is holding you back at performing your best? How can we change this?
A successful manager will ask these questions and then listen to the answers. Successful managers take on board the feedback they get and then do something about it. Take action. Be open to the fact that you, the manager, might be part of the problem. Managers need to be adaptable and change the way they do things for the benefit of the team.
If you are scared of your manager, if your manager does not take time to understand you, if your manager does not communicate well, what can you do? If you ignore the issue it will not go away. Be prepared to look for another job - but maybe first, let your manager know how you are feeling. This takes courage, loads of it. But look at it this way, if you are not happy you are probably going to leave anyway right? So what have you got to lose?
Success With Grace is home of the TechBiz Success Academy, coaching and training to help technology based businesses grow. For information about TechBiz programs go to www.techbizsuccess.com Also check out Business Communication and Customer Communication workshops in www.iitp.nz/courses/
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