We often ask ourselves, “what makes a good manager”. It is a big question and there is a lot of information on this topic. In a nutshell:
- Strive to understand your management style
- Explore the influence your management style has on others
- Learn to direct and delegate well
- Create an environment that is considered motivating by others
- Plan to develop others within their role, or to the next level
- Work effectively with your manager by seeking to understand and managing up
Understanding Your Management Style
We often assume there is only one right approach to management. Yet, when we look at successful managers we realize that everyone does not approach their management role in the same way. If we assembled a group and asked each person to recall what they appreciate most about their best manager, there would be a variety of responses. We all appreciated different characteristics in managers. Discovering your own management style and how it affects the people you manage is key.
Every person, and manager, has primary areas where attention is most focused. These are called priorities and we are more likely to foster energy on these. No one priority is better than another, they are just different. Everyone has at least three, and these priorities include:
These priorities are influenced by factors such as life experience, education, maturity, and work experience. Regardless of your priorities, all are equally valuable and can all contribute to effective management skills. Your priorities also influence what you enjoy most about managing, and what may drain your energy.
What Influence Does Your Management Style Have
Everyone tends to manage time, decision making, and problem solving differently. That holds true for those you manage as well. An effective manager must reflect on the impact their management style may have on others, so that they are flexible with the ability to positively influence others. A good manager must understand their strengths, as well as their challenges.
A good manager must learn to read and understand the preferences of those they manage by observing behaviors, including body language, tone of voice and expression, and choice of words. Asking questions is another important technique, and allows others to respond without being led. This takes practice and often we revert to just telling, which is not an effective management technique.
Behaviors should be observed such as is one accepting and warm, or questioning and skeptical. Or consider those that are enthusiastic and people-oriented versus forceful and direct. It takes strong observation skills, practice, and the ability to flex to another person’s style to better relate.
Directing and Delegating
As a manager, you may find that effectively directing and delegating to your employees is more complex than simply handing off an assignment with a please and a thank you. Perhaps you have noticed that individual employees respond positively to different types of instruction and feedback. Some want specific directions and welcome objective feedback, while others want just the opposite. You may have your own natural approach, however to maximize satisfaction and productivity, it’s important to consider how effective a “one size fits all” approach is.
Since directing and delegating to the people you manage are basic, daily activities, a manager must consider how they can be the most effective. Learn to identify your natural directing and delegating style, and then learn abut the needs of different people. As with any other skill, it takes practice to resist one’s natural preference, so consider a cheat sheet for quick reference. This is particularly effective when working with a new team whose styles may not have been identified. In addition, a good manager invites feedback and consider doing this regularly on a one-to-one basis.
There are many reasons why it’s important to invest in employee training. Having a team of highly motivated and engaged employees is a win/win for employees, and leadership.
A Motivating Environment
Essentially, a manager cannot motivate a person on their team. They can, however, create an environment where it is easy for people to find their natural motivation. This means building an atmosphere that addresses employees needs and preferences to create an environment where they can do their best work. This will have a major impact on the motivation of the people you manage.
There can be a big gap creating an environment that everyone finds motivating, and this difference can include:
- Taking on new challenges and problem solving
- Meeting new people
- Taking on leadership roles
- Being able to express opinions
- Receiving public recognition
- Working on team projects
- Being in the limelight
- Freedom to do things on one’s own terms
Keeping in mind that a manager can’t motivate others directly, and people are motivated by different things, the key is learning how your actions affect others and recognize what others find motivating or demotivating.
One of the most important roles of a manager is developing the people they manage. It has never been more important considering today’s staffing situation in North America due to phenomenon’s like the Great Resignation and Quiet Quitting. Managers are key to keeping their departments staffed with trained and engaged employees.
Development includes having conversations and knowing more about how employees feel about their potential, as well as being able to support long-term growth through training and development. It is important not to let a goal get lost with the day-to-day efforts to get things done. It requires a plan, and a timeline, busy or not.
The most important is helping employees maximize their strengths, rather than dwell on weaknesses. Recognize, and communicate, whether are you helping your employee excel in their current role, or rather helping them grow into a new and challenging role. Development does not mean day-to-day direction but providing resources for long-term growth. Managers should become mentors and create a two-way communication plan that ensures development preferences are identified for different employees, including action plans.
Developing your team doesn’t take as much budget as you may think with the Canada-Alberta Job Grant.
Consider how well you feel your manger knows and understands you. How would they describe your management style if you asked. Have you asked? Consider how you achieve buy in from your manager, and what you might do differently if you knew them better. Ask yourself how you might communicate more effectively with your manager, by asking them questions, and being candid about your communication preferences. You may be surprised how appreciated this is for many busy executives. This is what is called “managing up”. Learn to influence your manager!
Testing different approaches, practicing “people reading” and consider your manager’s style are initiatives to try. Observe your manager’s tendencies and decision-making style, as well as their priorities. Try one technique at a time, and remind yourself it is about their style, not yours, that is most important.
A survey conducted by Interact found that 69% of managers are often uncomfortable communicating with employees, and 37% said they’re uncomfortable having to give direct feedback about their employees’ performance if they think the employee might respond negatively to the feedback.
Becoming a Better Manager with Everything DiSC® Management offers a customizable development solution proven to increase the effectiveness of anyone in a management role – whether managing direct reports or the relationship with their own manager. A complete program of classroom training, and online pre-work and follow-up focuses learning in five key areas:
- Understanding DiSC® styles
- Directing and delegating
- Creating a motivating environment
- Developing others with different styles
- Identifying strategies for working more. effectively with managers.
Participants learn how their management style influences how they manage
time, make decisions, approach problems, and what they need to do to adapt to the styles of others to bring out the best in each and every employee in their charge.
With Everything DiSC Management, team members will be able to:
- Discover their DiSC Management style: recognize the priorities and preferences that shape their experience as a manager of others and as an employee who must also effectively manage up
- Understand how their unique style informs their approach to directing and delegation
- Learn strategies for improving employee motivation and developing the full potential of people with various DiSC styles
- Identify new ways to work more effectively with their manager
Investing in Training for Professional Development is always recommended. There is an advantage to learning from qualified facilitators and trainers, rather than learning from experience on the job. Developing one’s skills adds to credibility, confidence, and job satisfaction. A more engaged manager means a more engaged team!
Reference: Wiley & Sons, Everything DiSC® Management