Most of us have been there. We have gone to work and for the sake of a paycheck have done everything to, essentially, put up with an insecure manager who is incompetent, mean-spirited, a micro-manager or worse. These managers can make life incredibly difficult and, more than likely, they will continually find fault in everyone else but themselves.
Other times, the pressure to perform is great because a business, social enterprise or non-profit has to make its financial goals, or perhaps there is an important initiative that demands a lot of time and effort by staff. When there are times of this sort of pressure, even the best managers are human and people sometimes lose their cool. That can be remedied with a little more patience on the part of the manager.
However, the world has more than its fair share of people who simply should not be managers. What if the person staring back at you in the mirror is one of these difficult managers and you know, somewhere deep inside, that you need to change? What if you would like to change your modus operandi and try to get people to be more productive and successful and have them spend less time worried about where they square with you on a daily basis?
One of the best approaches to take is to do a charm offensive. Very simply, a charm offensive is using flattery and friendliness in order to get people to like and trust you. In turn, you are able to influence them, and in business, this means you can motivate them to perform at a higher level with increased output.
That said, in my opinion, you need to be real. People will see through someone who is not being honest. People will not trust and actually may be even more put off by a manager who stages a charm offensive with the ultimate goal of having workers produce more, but there is no genuine interest in the employees. So, a charm offensive can only really be undertaken if the manager realizes intrinsically that he or she needs to change and grow and when they do, because he or she will earn the trust of the workers, they in turn will reward the manager by producing at a greater level.
If you want to change and develop as a better manager, how do you approach treating your employees better? Do you bring in donuts and coffee to work?
The first thing is you need to do is to be authentic. You need to really care about the well-being of your employees. You need to take a genuine interest in who they are, not only as workers, but also as human beings. In order to do this, you should know little things about their lives, such as birthdays, anniversaries or important life events (eg. marriages, children’s graduations).
Another technique to use is to ask questions. People want to know that they are being heard. Listening to people shows them that you care about what they think and you respect their thoughts and ideas.
If it is a particularly difficult period of time because you need to make the numbers or have a very tight schedule on an important effort, this is the time to communicate. A manager can choose to be confrontational and an adversary or a manager can choose an alternate path to galvanize and motivate the team. Explain to the team the challenge and what’s at stake, then move forward to explain how you want to accomplish the goals or objectives in as efficient a manner feasible. If possible, ask their opinion in how to get a certain task done. More often than not, employees know their jobs much better than managers and can make suggestions on how they would be able to improve productivity. All managers need to do is listen.
Create milestones toward the ultimate goal where people are either brought up to speed on the results to date or are rewarded for going above and beyond in their work. Remember, information is power and rewarding excellent work helps keep a team’s esprit de corps high, which in turn motivates employees to keep pulling toward the goal.
Taking a genuine interest in your employees, listening to them, communicating in positive and constructive ways and rewarding them will go a long way to keeping your turnover low. These strategies will foster a better working environment where people actually want to be in the office and produce a high level of work. It will also permit you, as the manager, to receive honest feedback from the people who are doing the job with regard to how to improve business processes and procedures.
This, in turn, will lead to more and greater successes on the accomplishment of your organization’s goals and the bottom line.