We all have stories to tell about terrible managers.
Those stories make us laugh or cringe, and they give us something to talk about with friends.
But the reality of bad management is much darker than those light-hearted stories make it seem.
Typically, someone with power abuses someone who’s below them — maybe they throw insults or create a stressful environment or belittle. Or maybe they micro-manage, not trusting the people they’ve hired to do their jobs correctly.
Whatever the case, they stink to work for… and their businesses usually struggle for it.
According to one survey, dealing with managers is the 5th most acute workplace frustration.
But naturally, you never expected that you might become that manager.
But entrepreneurship is stressful and it’s shockingly easy to fall back on unhealthy management habits — so here’s a reminder to keep striving to become the best manager that you can be for your employee’s sake… and for your business’ sake.
Here’s what a great manager looks like.
1. Great Managers Serve Those Directly Below Them
Above everything else, a great manager serves the people below them.
It’s easy to start believing that your job is to lead people with an iron-fist, doing whatever it takes to get the job done.
And to some degree, that’s true… you do have to get the job done. But how you get the job done has significant impact on the quality of your results.
If you inspire and serve your employees to do the best that they can do, you will have better results (and an easier time getting results) then if you push and shove.
Become a servant-leader who’s dedicated to unleashing the full abilities of those directly below you. Give them what they need, when they need it. Show them that they can depend on you. And make serving them your top priority.
2. Great Managers Have Level-Headed Confidence
As a leader, you create the energy of the workplace.
People will naturally mimic how you act, behave, and think about a given situation. If you’re discouraged, your employees will feel discouraged, too. If you’re inspired, then your employeed will also feel inspired.
But the best attitude you can have is what I call level-headed confidence.
It’s a confidence that you and your team can overcome any obstacle and it doesn’t require silly “hoo-ra!” speeches to get people inspired. They feel motivated because you believe in them, you listen to them, and you authentically care about them.
Then, when the storms of business arrive, everyone is prepared and working together.
3. Great Managers Hire The Best People & Start With Trust
One of the most common mistakes that managers make is hiring people and starting with distrust.
They double-check all of the new hire’s work, they critizice every tiny mistake, and they micromanage every decision.
But look, if you hired someone who you believe to be capable and you have a 90-day probationary period in place, then let go fo the reins a little bit.
If the person isn’t an A-player, you’re going to find out a lot faster by not micro-managing them. And if they are an A-player, then that trust is going to unleash them to do the best work they can do.
For you, starting with trust is a win-win.
Management is a more difficult skill to learn than most people think.
But it is a skill… one that can be taught, learned, and even mastered.
You’ve got be level-headed, you’ve got to trust your employees, and you’ve got serve them reliably.
With enough practice and determination, you will become the manager that your employees want and your business needs.