I’ve been blessed to have several employees tell me I was their favorite manager/employer. As much as I would like to take credit for being awesome, I can’t say how much of that was because of me or because of the extremely low bar set by their other employers. The stories they would tell me of their previous employers led me to believe that my dog would have been considered a better manager.
I know my own managerial style has been greatly influenced by a number of people.
I worked for some amazing leaders back in the 1980’s at YMCA Storer Camps that had a profound impact on my development as a person. The camp motto is “I’m Third” (God is first, others are second, and I’m third.) I’m sure you have seen powerful leaders who do their best work serving the people they lead.
I worked for an amazing man named Dana in the summer of 1992 who taught me how to treat everyone on the team equally and also how to trust us to do our jobs. You know how tough it can be when the boss plays favorites.
I saw my own parents and grandparents in action, too. My grandfather, Phil Conley, was Mayor of Jackson. He told me time and time again that the true jobs of Mayor were to build consensus and be head cheerleader. Mayor? Manager? The roles are pretty much the same. You and I are head cheerleaders for our teams, spending much of our effort trying to get everyone all on the same page.
- Do praise your staff, even for the small stuff, even for the stuff they only partially do right.
- Do listen to new ideas and carefully consider them before deciding.
- Do grant your team the time off to handle family and health issues as necessary.
- Do be thorough in your explanations and communications.
- Do schedule them as far in advance as possible so that they can make plans farther into the future.
- Do work around any time-off requests they give you well in advance.
- Do encourage them to better themselves through classes, conferences, books, etc.
- Do let them redecorate and re-merchandise the store.
- Do give the autonomy to do their job.
- Do be clear how they will be measured and rewarded.
- Do give them unexpected bonuses and meaningful gifts.
- Don’t criticize them in front of other employees or customers.
- Don’t be condescending.
- Don’t play favorites.
- Don’t give them a task without clear instructions of how you want it done.
- Don’t give them a task you would not do yourself.
- Don’t share anything they told you in confidence with another employee.
- Don’t talk about other employees to them.
- Don’t do anything you wouldn’t let them get away with.
- Don’t believe that you are “above” them in any way. (They are people, too.)
- Don’t expect them to care as much as you do. It is your life, it is their job.
- Don’t make a decision until you know all the facts.
- Don’t micromanage.
- Don’t assume they think like you do or know exactly what you mean.
What would you add to these lists?
*PS This will always be a partial list. No one could ever finish it (although I encourage you to try). With that said, share with me your best ever manager stories either when you were being managed or you were managing someone else and it just clicked.