I’ve talked before about some of the bad managers I have had during my career… like Teflon, or the manager who threatened to throw her laptop at me (and I haven’t even written about “the aggressor” yet). But mostly, I have had the pleasure of working under some pretty amazing, influential and inspiring managers.
I believe Managers are the single biggest influence in your workplace. Doesn’t matter where you work or what you do, the person you work for has the power to truly engage you in what you do, or make you walk away from an awesome project. And it is not easy. When I was a Manager, I suddenly realised how hard the job is (I spent so many years thinking “I’m going to be such a good boss, just give me the reigns and I’ll run this joint”), then you realise just how different every employee is, the bureaucracy that Managers often have to deal with and how many ridiculous curve balls Managers are thrown on a daily basis. And in the social age… the manager role is becoming even more complex, as businesses become more open and collaborative.
So what has bubbled to the top in my experience?
My personal favourite leaders are calm and collected (to counter my sometimes passionate rollercoaster riding), they listen way more than they speak (they need to, with me on their team!), they empower and trust me (let me loose with an objective and the freedom to achieve it) and most of all, they make me feel like I’m amazeballs.
That last point is often the most important for me. That regular reassurance that I’m on the right track. The constructive suggestions to support my momentum. The faith that I can do it, even when I don’t believe that I can. The willingness to overlook some of my weaknesses because they can see my strengths. Like your own personal cheerleader.
And it can’t all be about work. A great Manager knows when to ask how things are going outside of work, is tuned into your tone on a bad day and gives you the support and space when you need it. This has happened to me recently and I can’t tell you how much that meant to me, and the commitment I gave back to work in return was ten fold.
Just like everything in life, it doesn’t always happen this way. And, as I’ve said before, working under some bad Managers gave me skills I may never have learnt if I hadn’t been forced into it sometimes. So I try to see it as a win:win situation, bad manager = great, what can I learn from this experience, what new skills can I develop from turning this challenge into an opportunity?..and when a great Manager comes along, I take every opportunity to learn from them, grow and hopefully progress.
If you’re a Manager, are you helping your team to thrive the hard way or the easy way today?