Nobody likes a manager who is all business all the time – but nobody respects a manager who only tries to be “fun.” In fact, the most effective managers know when to guide in a lighthearted manner and when to be serious.
How can you strike a balance in your management style so your team members accomplish their goals, but still feel as though they can approach you? Consider the following tips:
- Provide clear directions, expectations, and feedback. The best managers are often good teachers. They know how to explain clearly what their team members should do, they model the proper outcome, and then they stand back and let their team members try it – and offer feedback both on what went right and what needs improvement.
When your employees understand clearly what they need to do, it’s easier for them to do it. When they know what success looks like, it’s easier for them to succeed. When you provide this information clearly and concisely, it’s easiest for your team members to trust you to communicate effectively in the future.
- Learn about the employees you have, and coach them. Your team members come with their own mix of talents, skills, and aspirations. When you know each person’s particular strengths, you can encourage them to focus on what they do best – and to improve on their weaknesses. Not only does this approach improve the team’s overall performance by placing people where they do their best work, it also tells your team members that their manager genuinely cares about their professional growth and their place on the team.
- Admit when you’re wrong. When you’ve made a mistake, it’s time to treat the problem seriously – but this does not mean hiding the problem or blaming it on your employees, even in the guise of a joke. Rather, admit to the mistake and ask for help in fixing it. People respect bosses who can say they’ve made an error and who show a willingness to learn from it. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak; it makes you human.
- Have a sense of humor. Serious results require serious commitment, but they don’t always require a straight face. Be willing to bring a little fun and laughter into the work day. For best results, avoid sarcasm and jokes at the expense of your team members in favor of humor that includes everyone and encourages them all to join in the laughter. You’ll build team spirit as well as lighten the load for your staff.
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