One of the most important aspects of corporate management is learning how to develop your leadership skills. While you may have the qualifications necessary to be a manager, this doesn’t always mean you’re a good boss. Learning how to guide, encourage, support and motivate your employees is something that takes time and effort. For many managers, these skills don’t come naturally. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can improve your management skills to become a boss your employees will never forget.
First, always show up to work on time. If you’re late, you can’t get upset when your employees follow suit. When you arrive promptly at work, you demonstrate that you care about your job. Being on time is a sign of respect that will resonate deeply with your employees. If you do have to be late because of a personal emergency, be sure to contact your team and let them know what’s going on. Never just leave your team hanging.
Another common quality in good managers is strong listening skills:
Do you pay attention when your staff members talk to you?
Do you listen attentively when they discuss an issue or idea with you?
Are you quick to dismiss things you don’t feel are important?
Do you actively engage in the conversation, and offer positive feedback?
If you want your team to respect you and to feel like you understand them, you need to listen effectively. This doesn’t mean you have to stop what you’re doing to listen to a minor issue, but you should be willing to set up a time to meet with any employee who has problems, concerns or ideas regarding their work. When you do take the time to meet with employees, listen to your employees concerns and ideas just as closely as you would listen if it were your superior on the other end of the table. While you may think your ideas and opinions are right, you can probably agree that others feel the same about their opinions and their ideas. Making employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas and concerns with you is a quick and easy way to gain the respect of those who report to you, which makes your team stronger and results in everyone accomplishing more. When you make an effort to acknowledge others and respect them enough to truly hear what they have to say, it pays you back ten-fold. EVERYONE deserves the same level of respect whether it’s the CEO or owner of a company or the entry-level employee you manage. If you hold yourself accountable to follow the golden rule with everyone you encounter, regardless of whether it’s your superior or your newest direct report, you will find that those who report to you are eager to give their all and that makes you look better to your superiors and makes your job managing a lot easier.
When you lead a team, you likely experience a lot of pressure. Maybe your own supervisors want you to manage your employees a certain way. Maybe the CEO of the company has strong opinions on how you should lead. You might even have pressure from your employees themselves. Keep in mind that part of being a strong leader means standing up for what you believe in. If you want to lead your staff members in a specific way, you need to be willing to go for it.
Finally, make sure you look for the good in your employees. While it can be easy to notice the mistakes each team member makes, it’s probably more challenging to find the good in each of them. Try to support your team through positive reinforcement. If someone is always on time, thank them; if someone always stays late to get the extra projects you’ve asked them to do done, acknowledge them for their extra effort. If a team member goes above and beyond, point it out. If someone has been struggling to understand something and finally manages to grasp the concept, congratulate them. Be easy and free with the praise you give your team.
Remember that learning how to manage your team takes time. Even great bosses had to start somewhere. Just because you’re struggling now doesn’t mean you’re doomed to be a mediocre manager forever. With effort, dedication and patience, you can become an amazing leader your staff members will love and want to follow. Every day is a new day, and a new opportunity to change to how you engage those on your team. Remember, most employees will do what you say because you are in charge and they likely need to be working, but most employees will not strive to perform at their best when their leader isn’t performing at his best.