By Nimit Walia
A manager should be a thinker, a leader, and a friend to the employees in the office.
Managers create rules and ensure that they are followed, but there are also rules that good managers need to adhere to themselves. These rules — and their execution — are critical to any team’s success. Think of these like the safety procedures flight attendants go over during takeoff, which ensure an enjoyable, successful flight.
Rule #1: It’s our team, not my team
Every member of the team is a shareholder in the team’s success. This message needs to echo throughout your team’s hierarchy, so as to facilitate feelings of value and responsibility in every team member and create a synergistic environment.
Rule #2: Communication — healthy, honest, and clear
Communication plays a pivotal role in most aspects of our daily lives. Honest, direct communication is the lifeline through which a team gains confidence in their manager. Team confidence is like a set of wheels that usher the chariot of success forward. Without those wheels, there is stagnation, distrust, and frustration — all ingredients to a recipe for disaster.
Rule #3: Be a guide, not a philosopher
A good manager encourages team members to reach out early on and share their concerns so that they can be tackled. Otherwise, they reach a destructive boiling point and there may be too much resentment to counteract.
The best way to handle a team member’s problems is to listen with an open mind and advise fairly as a mentor. Maintaining a balance between the manager and the rest of the team is critical to the satisfaction and overall productivity of the entire team.
Rule #4: Guide the passive, empower the proactive
Every team is a heterogeneous mix of people possessing not only different skill sets but also different levels of the same skills. Managers need to identify strengths, weaknesses, and notice the unique skills every team member has to offer. Only then can a manager guide everyone on the team toward success.
Meanwhile, it can be all too easy to give up on someone who is a low performer. And that’s exactly where a good manager needs to work on grooming that particular individual to get results and be able to take on challenging work. This is where it’s important that “mentoring,” not “managing” comes into play. Mentoring goes a long way with team members because it teaches “how” to learn rather than “what” to learn.
Similarly, managers should not hesitate to empower top performs on the team. But in order to do that, there has to be mutual trust and respect between the top performer and the manager. Those 2 things in particular lead to a meaningful and healthy partnership that ultimately drive processes across the team.
Rule #5: Give and receive feelings of value
We work best when we enjoy our work and feel like we belong on our team (and in the company). Individual success is great, but the success of the entire team is also rewarding and useful to everyone on it. We must all continually strive toward building on that team spirit.
Valuing your team — and making them feel valued and provide it in return — is a step toward ensuring mutual growth and success for the organization as a whole and its individuals. The feeling of being complementary to an organization’s success (and vice versa) is what makes a terrific team.