One of my former students came back to Flagstaff for homecoming weekend. She stopped by my office to let me know how things were going since she had graduated. She asked if I had any advice for two issues she was having. One was that she wasn’t learning new things as fast as she wanted. The second was that two of the employees that reported to her didn’t like her.
The first one was easy; I told her she needed to practice patience but at the same time she needed to continue to ask for more and make sure she went above and beyond in every project given to her. Answering her second question is the subject of this month’s column.
If You Want Everyone to Like You, Don’t be a Manager
I once had a manager tell me that if it is important for you to be liked by everyone, don’t be a manager, or you’ll be disappointed. It has been my experience that 20 percent of your employees will love you, 20 percent will absolutely hate you and the other 60 percent will fall between the extremes.
What is important is that you accept this and know that there are some employees who will never like you. I once had a former employee say I was the devil himself to someone doing a reference check. I still got the job.
It is also important that you focus your time and energy on the other 80 percent. If you are truly doing the five things that every manager should be doing, rather than spending time trying to convert the hating 20 percent, your time will be well spent. If, however, you aren’t doing my top five, then I’m guessing more than 20 percent of the staff hates you and you need to change your ways.
Paul’s Top Five Manager Must-Dos
Anyone who reads my column on a regular basis should know these. But all managers should do these five things:
- Put your employees first, ahead of yourself.
This is so easy. Always give your employees credit for the things that go well, and take the blame for things that fail. When it comes time for pay increases, make sure your employees get something before you. Always be on the lookout for opportunities for your employees to shine, grow, advance and be in the spotlight.
- Always be respectful of your employees.
During lunch recently with a friend, I heard about a new manager who yells and swears during regular staff meetings. How is that being respectful? Do you think the employees respect the manager?
And finally, don’t be the manager who always finds fault in everything that your employees do. Strike a balance so that you are complimenting the positive things and offering help on the things that need to be corrected.
- Never surprise an employee.
Your employees should always know what is expected of them and should always know where they stand. An employee should never be surprised if you tell them they are under-performing, because a good manager constantly provides feedback and guidance. I was speaking to a friend recently and asked how the job was going. She replied, “I really wouldn’t be surprised if I was fired this week, or if I’m here a year from now.” That’s no way to manage an employee.
- Challenge your employees and help them grow.
For me, the worst thing that can happen in a job is to have a bad manager, or to be in a job where I’m no longer challenged or learning. I believe most people feel that way. We want to know we are contributing and continue to add value. Give your employees opportunities to grow, fail and learn.
- Over-communicate with your employees.
This one should probably be number one. No communication, or poor communication, is probably the No. 1 issue I hear from employees. Don’t let your employees be one of those who say they never hear anything.
I believe in over-communicating. Hold 1:1 meetings every week with all of your direct reports and hold weekly staff meetings for your entire organization. Even Google still holds weekly all-employee meetings. In your 1:1, take the time to listen to what challenges and issues the employee has and offer help and assistance. Ask open-ended questions and really listen to the responses.
Let me also take this opportunity to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and say thank you to all of you who have taken the time to read my column and provide me with questions and feedback. FBN
By T Paul Thomas