1. Be understanding
Being a good manager is 50 per cent running the business, and 50 per cent people. In order to truly understand your team, the inter-team dynamics and the ability of every individual to collaborate and deliver, you’re expected (and need) to know a lot.
By creating opportunities with your team for informal, one-on-one conversation - lunches, coffee catch-ups, even a walk around the block – you set yourself up to be understanding. These informal conversations can quickly give you an idea of the motivations, distractions and frustrations that lie in your employees’ way.
These questions are likely going to result in an outpouring of information. This is your opportunity to accept the information and the person in front of you, and show to them your willingness and ability to help.
Knowing what motivates and drives your team leads to empathy. And empathy empowers your team members to work in an environment they’re comfortable in, and with a boss that understands them.
2. Create comfort
Armed with the understanding of what’s going on in the work environment allows you to create comfort, usually expressed in a level-playing field between employee and employer. This comfort can lead to better work outcomes, as people feel more open to expressing their opinions and providing different perspectives.
3. Be honest
Recognising that everyone in the team has lives, ambitions, frustrations, and setbacks is important to getting the most out of your time. Honesty breeds trust.
But trust needs to be reciprocal. Dictatorship is destructive, and leaves your staff feeling out of the loop, or worse, ineffective.
Be transparent about everything, good and bad. Work with staff in a way that leads them to reflect on problems and reach their own conclusions, giving them the responsibility they need to own their role and help direct the future of the business.
4. Protect what you’re given
So often the walls come tumbling down when assumptions and uncertainties surround teams that are already under pressure. These assumptions and uncertainties are crippling, even to the best of the best.
Once you have a good relationship with staff, you need to continue to work at it. A true ‘open door policy’ needs to come to life, as your team embraces the honest relationship they have forged.
5. Go forth and know with conviction
Take what you know, and with the honesty, ideas and beliefs, be empowered to make informed decisions. The more diverse the knowledge you take on through collective insights, the better informed the business and the sturdier the team.
Knowledge is a great foundation for good business. If used correctly, it can prevent the greatest of battles and direct the largest of armies.