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At a recent company offsite, the topic of New Year’s resolutions came up. Amongst an amazingly thought-provoking set of promises, these are the ones that Aditi Sharma Kalra advocates.
Being a manager may not officially qualify as among the world’s hardest jobs (moms, communication tower climbers, and oil rig workers); or the most stressful jobs (thank you, firefighters and airline pilots); or even the coldest jobs (we leave that to hazmat specialists in Barrow, Alaska).
But no one can dispute the fact that being a manager is not for the faint-hearted. No course or mentor can prepare you for the multiple difficult conversations, decisions, and criticisms that come your way – yet, those are precisely the experiences that make the job so rewarding at the end of the day when you and your team deliver results, both professionally and personally.
Here at Lighthouse we recently organised an evening drinks catch-up for all the managers, where among the multiple interesting conversations, the topic of New Year’s resolutions came up. Amongst an amazingly thought-provoking set of promises, these are the ones that I’d love for all of us, and you, to keep this year and onwards:
#1: Less meddling and more delegation
If you’ve got a team that’s well-trained on skills and well-versed with processes, then you’ve got to let that trust shine through. Let staff handle their own KPIs, but make sure you check in regularly just to get updates on their progress on work and targets, rather than a more direct style of management.
#2: Challenge your team more
As an events and media company, we work intensively to craft compelling content for our audience. Sometimes when you’re working against strict deadlines it can be quicker to re-edit pieces of work rather than pushing back with constructive feedback. That’s the faster way out, but what we really should be doing is make more time to challenge them constructively and continually improve their skills. After all, we want them to learn these skills for the long-term.
It would be wishful thinking to try and sweep the tales of the politics, back-biting and credit-snatching that go in every office corridor under the rug.
#3: Praise and reward more for good performance
An O.C. Tanner report last year found that in an average 30 days, only 57% of employees can claim to have received a “thank you” from a leader or peer, while two in five (42%) actually were told how they could improve while receiving recognition. Hopefully, this scenario isn’t familiar to us and our teams, but it is human nature to take for granted some of the good and hard work done by staff.
So this year, let’s all be conscious about praising them and giving more inspiring comments and feedback on their work, and to top it off with maybe a team lunch every three months or whatever drives them to work better together (if your team is anything like mine, food is truly the key to their heart!)
#4: Build a bond between managers
It would be wishful thinking to try and sweep the tales of the politics, back-biting and credit-snatching that go in every office corridor under the rug. So as managers, why don’t we take the responsibility to halt this behaviour and stick up for each other more? We are always so busy running day-to-day activities while focusing on the target delivery and professional development of our staff, that we rarely take time out to collaborate, converse and create.
Let’s team up and look at things from each other’s perspectives. Let’s spend more face-time in cross-departmental chats and projects to understand what people issues they may be facing, and if there’s a way we can support them through our experiences. The evening catch-up I talked about earlier was one such way to break the ice and reach out to other managers, and many of us agreed that it would be great to organise this once a quarter.
What’s on your list of resolutions for 2019? I hope you have good luck sticking to them!
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