To be an effective manager I have found this simple mantra goes a long way:
Tell each employee in your group (as a senior manager and executive I applied this to my managers) that you appreciate something specifically they have done this week. This is not an “atta boy”. This is for something specific. I actually kept track of myself to try and speak with each of my reports each week. This was not always possible, but that was my goal.
With large spans this is hard. I found with large spans as a front line manager that I would work with technical team leads and ask them to work with others and help me with this process. I actually had them report to me each week on who they spoke to and what was presented as well as concerns.
Obtain the resources your employees need. That is from their perspective. That also means don’t micromanage.
Give employees a chance to shine. This can take many approaches. As a front line manager look at the strengths of your employees and let these strengths shine. Ask employees what they are most proud of and listen. What can you do to provide more opportunities to help enhance these experiences? As a senior manager is it possible to recognize the top employees and ask them to be part of a cross functional team for longer term projects with a report to help the broader organization? Solicit the organization for ideas, prioritize them with leaders and pull together an action plan that will indicate who will do what by when.
I read this article from the Harvard Business Review on how to work with employees respecting one another and was struck on several levels. The author offers eight very good points. These are:
Allow freedom of action and independence
See your employees for who they are, not what they are
Do not show favoritism
Lead by example
Listen to your employees
Have a sense of humor
Be warm an accessible
These are all good points, but I want to differ with the author’s title. . The title for this article is “8 Things You Should Do To Make Employees Love You.” I don’t think you should be trying to make employees love you. You need to be true to yourself and your values. Instead I believe it is all about listening and respecting everyone. The focus of a manager should be on helping each other. It is important to stay focused on the mission and vision for the task at hand.
The points made in the article are on point, but as a manager there will be plenty of times when you have to have conversations that may not make the employee love you. Never loose the perspective to remain calm, be there to help and be there to serve.