Being a manager is not an easy job. Apart from yourself, you have a whole team of people that you have to take care of, and many important things, including the success of the company, depending on the management. Day do day, you are building trust within your team, trying to make lives easier and less stressful. Is there anything you can do more? Let's find out.
Why is caring about my team is so important, you say? That's quite a question and has its complications. In general, the answer is easy: happy people are more productive and creative. Having less stress than usual, clear work expectations, trust, and honesty — these all add up, leading to a better quality of life and better quality of the end product.
Being honest and transparent is at the top of the list. The trick here is not to give feedback only when it is critically needed, but every time you think it's important to communicate something to a person: especially positive things. You would not believe how acknowledging small successes can boost your team's morale in a long run. The truth is, small wins are what matters because they all fuse and make something bigger in the end. Of course, you should point out the mistakes too, and it's better to do so on the spot, so a person has a chance to correct themselves instantly, not doing the same wrong thing over and over, until they have learned to do it this way. It will be harder for them to correct their ways if you wait for a monthly appraisal.
Foster Positive Work Environment
You must foster a friendly work environment from day one. The vibe in the company is a macro aspect of employee happiness. It is not rocket science to create a positive attitude, here are some tips:
- Do team-building activities regularly - Make sure that there are some snacks in the fridge - Always check that employees have all the supplies they need - Provide training and courses
Make Them Feel Like They Belong
Imagine working any job and feeling like you are not on your own plate. It's awful, isn't it? There may be many reasons why your employees can feel that way: being alienated due to some differences between them and their colleagues, bad management practices, or complete lack of it together. You have to understand, that even if those people are your subordinates, you must treat them like people. Be more human, and try to have a dialogue with all members of your team regularly, as communication is the key to both a happy employer and employee!
Recognize Their Progress
We talked about communicating positive things earlier, but it deserves more recognition. Progress is not always something big, and should not be perceived that way only. I can't stress enough how important it is to recognize small steps that people make every day, and what an enormous impact it has on their morale. Remember that time when you volunteered to work late and did that annual report that nobody wanted to do? Everybody took that for granted and didn't even recognize your effort. As a result, you won't volunteer again, because you don't feel that it was worth something. That is why giving feedback on the small steps is important as well, so don't overlook this one!
Set Clear Goals
Being clear in your expectations is one of the best things that you can do for your employees. This way, they will be able to assess the goals and work their way towards them without wondering what to do next.
Try to ditch micromanagement for a while and see how it goes. Why? When we are being monitored and criticized 24/7 for the smallest things that we do, we become overly nervous and anxious and sense that we are not trusted by our employer. Give your employees more freedom and more work, and you will see the results - when you trust them, they will be more motivated not to disappoint you, and with all the micromanagement gone? You guessed it, less anxiety, and more productivity!
Do Not Overload Them
There are many things to do, but you always have to keep in mind that overloading an employee will lead to fast burnout. While giving people more work is unavoidable, try to keep balance and distribute all the work in a way that won't make them wonder how to do it — everything must be manageable within their work hours and not more. Encourage your employees to have a good work & life balance, and try to avoid disturbing them regarding their job after work hours are over.
Do Not Overreact
Did something go south? It happens. Don't go and take it all out on your team even if they made a mistake. Encourage them to learn more about the subject, support them, suggest possible explanations to why it happened and what could be done to prevent the situation. Showing too much emotion will make the whole team tilted and will kill their morale for many hours to come. Your job as a manager is to preserve it, and shift the focus from the mishap to doing everything to prevent the same thing from happening again.
Respect Their Time
Respecting others' time is a universal rule both in business and personal relationships. However, when tied with a contract, being disrespectful towards other's time can lead to many disasters, that is why you must learn to consider a person's availability and overall workload when approaching them with something that can disturb their plans.
Breaks Are Good
You should encourage your employees to go on breaks. It is imperative to have a few minutes to let your brain change the focus. Having little breaks from time to time won't hurt the schedule and will make employees more lively, satisfied, and productive, as they will have time to take a breath from the long hours of work.
Perks, Perks, Perks
Perks should not be only money. There are tons of creative ways to show your team that you truly care about them, and make their jobs a little more interesting. Offer free tickets to a cinema or a show, free dinner coupons, or whatever they will love! The trick is to learn what each person likes to do in their free time and adapt. Trust me, they will love it.
Somebody got out of their way and did something extra? Be sure to tell them that you noticed it and that they did a good job. Proactivity is the manifestation of the motivational flame — be sure not to be put it out with ignorance.