There is no such thing as a perfect employee, a perfect team, a perfect manager or a perfect partner, but there are a few keys to great management that bring out the best in everyone. To be a great manager, you must learn when it's time to step in to guide and discipline and when it’s best for you to step back and allow for some individual freedom. To build a winning team, you must know your own balance and let go of any and all expectations around perfection. Learn to enjoy the journey.
Here are nine keys to great management.
1. Let each person shine.
As the manager of a team, the success of the team needs to be shared, not focused on you. For your team members to succeed, they need to feel they are the reason for the team success. Team members must be given opportunities to lead to increase their individual capacities. You must tell them of their significance, both individually and collectively.
The easiest way to build confidence within team members is to offer empathy and acknowledgement whenever necessary. Advocate for and compliment their successes, big or small, both publicly and privately. When you place a high value on each individual team member and share their contributions openly, bonds deepen and motivation grows.
2. Meet each team member where they are.
Each team member comes with a unique set of needs and personality traits. One person’s strength on your team will be another person’s weakness.
To be effective in any type of leadership role, you must have the versatility to meet each person where they are at, and grow them from that place. As their manager, you must be emotionally intelligent enough to bend your communication style to click with the individual personality you’re working with.
Figure out the emotional language each speaks, and learn to communicate in ways that will empower them to be at their best. To manage in this way, you must get to know each team member personally.
3. Hold a protective role.
Be protective of your team members. Love them as you would an extended family member. I am not suggesting treating anyone like a subordinate.
Be an authority. A leader they will look to for guidance and approval.
When your team members feel protected, they will feel valued, which will build a positive and secure working environment. In trusted, protective environments, people are more willing to risk because they know they will have support to fall back on. When failures happen, they must trust that you’re solid and spend time with them to analyze, correct, re-calibrate and then trust them enough to send them back out to try again.
4. Allow team members to be spontaneous.
As a manager, you want to support and encourage the natural instincts and desires of your individual team members. You obviously need to keep them on track, but they must be given the freedom to operate on the spontaneity of their gut instincts.
When you encourage individual spontaneity and responsiveness, you get a bird’s-eye-view into where your team's strengths and weaknesses are in the heat of a moment. This helps educate you on how to better guide each person.
5. Give them space.
There is nothing worse than a micromanaging authority hovering over your every word, deed and action.
For your team to succeed, you have to stop poking at them.
It may be hard to let go and let them work, but people work more effectively when their mental flow isn’t constantly disrupted. This may be hard for you if you have a more controlling nature, but you must be willing to stop your overbearing impulses. You have to trust your team members and allow each to add their own flavor to the soup.
7. Don’t expect them “to know.”
Leadership is not a guessing game. Be clear with your team members; do not play head-games with them. Tell them what you need, want and expect in straight, clear language. Never expect people to be mind-readers, or to just know what they’re supposed to be doing.
Take a few extra minutes to be sure your team members are on the same page with you and then set them loose. When people are told exactly what you want and expect, they will feel driven to provide it for you. The clearer you are, the more successful your entire team will be.
8. Reduce confusion.
There are managers who react before having all the information necessary to make any decisions or assumptions.
To be great, you must listen and observe, more than you speak. It is always better to ask questions than hurl wild accusations.
Be patient. No one can succeed under an emotionally liable manager. There are a lot of grey areas in business as you seek to secure and close new deals. Expect miscommunication or misinformation.
9. Appreciate your team.
You cannot take for granted your team members, their efforts, their drive or their success. Appreciate them for who they are and what they contribute. Appreciation goes a long way in the business world.
You do not want your team members to only be successful: You must want for them to be authentically happy.
The making of a great team comes down to love. Love what you do, love what they do, and you create an environment where everyone has the chance to thrive.
Winning teams are developed under leaders who have the ability to flex and bend their own personalities around each team member's needs. When you manage each team member individually, you maximize their strengths and learn how to fill in for their weaker areas.
This is what true support is all about. Supported teams are successful teams.