How can managers become leaders?
Ever had a manager who is only concerned about the status of the project assigned to you? We all face managers like this at some point in our career.
Most of the managers get promoted as managers due to the seniority and good technical skills. But once they become managers, their roles change and they need soft skills more than the technical skills. Not all of them get the training or mentoring which is needed to improve their soft skills (It is a different issue related to HR and training). If managers do not learn these skills and continue to be the major cause for employee attrition, low engagement and productivity, then Holacracy will fast become the new trend. In 2015, Zappos will be experimenting with “no managers” concept to reduce hierarchies and improve efficiencies.
What can managers do to become leaders?
- Providing autonomy:
All employees like autonomy in their work. No one likes micro managing. Managers should have trust in their teams and provide autonomy. This will not only help free up managers time but also helps in bringing in new ideas from their teams. New ideas can make processes better and more efficient. It’s a win-win for both managers and employees.
- Providing flexibility:
Remote work is a new trend in almost all industries. Millennials cannot imagine work without flexibility. It is a growing trend. Where possible, allow work from home. As per recent research, remote employees are more productive. See here for a Harvard article on this.
- Providing frequent feedback:
We all experience this. No complaints by your manager up until the point of annual review. Expecting great review, we often get disappointed when we see the final review. We all are left wondering why was this not discussed during the year. Managers should take the time to provide frequent feedback. This not only helps in continuous improvement but level sets the expectations during the annual review process.
- Showing genuine concern about the well being of his/ her team members:
Let’s be honest. Not all managers can show genuine care. Each personality is different. But a good manager understands his/ her limitation and makes genuine attempts to show concern about an employee, work-life balance and family.
- Recognizing their team members:
Employee recognition is a significant factor in improving employee engagement. Employees want to feel valued at work. When someone in your team does a good job, recognize it. Recognition can be as simple as saying “great job!” Simple but very effective.
- Communicate well:
A good manager communicates well. Keeping your employees in the dark about new changes, new processes or a new boss is never a good idea no matter whatever your reasons are for this. Good communication builds trust which is essential for a great team.
- Reduce bureaucracy:
Reduce the number of approvals needed to get a job done. Greater bureaucracy not only hurts productivity, but it may lead to higher frustration and eventually it may lead to employees leaving the job.
- Taking ownership:
It is easy to take credit for projects which are successful. Take equal responsibility for projects which have failed. This shows your character and employees feel that they can do the right thing without worrying about the failure of a project.
A manager can become a good leader by making simple changes to how he/ she manages the team daily. It is not a rocket science! You just need the awareness, right training and desire to improve as a manager. Good luck!