They stop by.
Whether it’s the person who visits a coworker in the hospital or the manager who walks to the employee’s office, there can be a powerful signal in the willingness to be there. That’s one reason why Management By Wandering Around can have such impact. People want leaders who know what their work area is like and who are not above dropping by to chat.
They return calls and E-mails.
When you don’t return a call,
that’s the silent way of saying, “You don’t count.” If you’re busy, leave a quick message to buy time for a more lengthy discussion, but get back to the person. With E-mail, unfortunately, our technology gives us new and faster ways to show our indifference.
They don't fire for every mistake.
Many employees fear that they will be set adrift in the wake of a reasonable decision that didn’t work out, or after a minor blunder. They worry that for all of the
talk about loyalty, if loyalty becomes inconvenient, management will not support them. Vague standards and arbitrary enforcement of rules foster that fear. Employees gain confidence when they know where the swamps are and how to avoid them.
They listen well.
I knew an executive whose career success was widely attributed to his extraordinary ability to listen. When he was with you, he was with you. Some tips: Listen for the main message. Subdue your ego—stop thinking about the eloquence of your reply or whether the speaker is indirectly talking about you. Let your body language declare, “I’m paying close attention.”
They are servant-leaders.
One extraordinary leader I knew operated with the rule that his followers should be consulted, developed, and praised. When the media came to cover accomplishments of his department, others were permitted to take credit. I would rate him as one of the toughest leaders I’ve ever encountered. But the team was always his focus. He spent time in the field listening to people, joking with them, and searching for ways to remove obstacles.
They build trust through courage and discretion.
There are moments when courage demands less discretion and greater candor, and when discretion restrains courage. Both qualities require the regulator of good judgment. They are essential, however, if you are going to succeed in the workplace and, for that matter, in life.
You will not be an effective manager unless you learn how to delegate. The question, “Should I be handling this?” must be asked frequently if you are to develop your associates, build a strong team, and avoid being swamped.you give just enough information.
They advocate for going slow.
An African leader once admonished his followers that they must go slowly because they were in a hurry. President Dwight Eisenhower used to tell his cabinet: “Let’s not be a hurry to make our mistakes.” We should remove the stigma that is too often attached to the individual who is unwilling to rattle off solutions. Those fast answers are often eloquent, witty, and wrong.
NETMA (Nobody Ever Tells Me Anything) is a major problem in many organizations. Employees aren’t briefed on activities directly related to their jobs and the rumor mill thrives. But what about ETMTM (Everyone Tells Me Too Much)? More information does not give you more power. It simply gives you more information. If employees have little power to alter events, learning more may simply fuel their frustration.
They aren't afraid to set tough standards and confront.
Unfortunately, far too many new supervisors equate being demanding with being cruel, unpleasant, or uncaring. They seek an arrangement with the employees in which neither side demands too much from the other. In their quest to be kind, they can create a highly demoralizing environment for those who are looking for challenging and meaningful work.
TheyThey motivate by getting out of the way.
Eliminate those weekly staff meetings that have turned into giant time wasters. Only hold meetings that are necessary. Replace the stirring speeches with as many one-on-one meetings as possible. Ask employees what stands in their way. Keep a commitment to reducing or eliminating anything that is unnecessarily hindering your employees.
checkThey praise employees the right way.
No back-handed compliments. No praise inflation. Show sincerity, genuine enthusiasm, and good timing. A lack of appreciation is often cited as a reason people leave jobs, so many organizations encourage supervisors to heap on the praise. It's a good example of how the opposite of a poor practice is not always a good practice. Handled poorly, praise can be a de-motivator and even a form of humiliation.
up on details.
We shy away from details because we don’t want to micromanage. At the same time, we are reluctant to create systems because we don’t want to be bureaucratic. And then we wonder why we get ambushed by small things and why our performance is inconsistent. The details do not take care of themselves. Someone needs to check them.
They get rid of negative energy people.
These characters can destroy a team’s morale within minutes and create an environment in which other people don’t want to come to work. They may be bright and talented, but something happened along the way that soured them. Don’t leave them in a job in which they can bring down the spirits of others. They are a bad fit.
They go see.
E-mail, video conferencing, and speaker phones can convey a feeling of closeness, but they are shadows of what can be noticed when you are alert and on-site. The intangibles don’t tend to get into reports and flowcharts and yet they can trump everything else. In order to find them and measure their significance, you have to go see. Let the accountants groan about your travel budget. There is no substitute for being there.