Welcome to the Ask Chloé column on Security Boulevard! Each week, Chloé provides answers to readers’ questions to help guide them as they navigate the technology industry. This week, Chloé helps a newly promoted manager hone their leadership skills and learn how to manage teams remotely.
I recently became a manager and have read loads of books to learn how to be a great leader. However, they don’t share much about how to be a manager during a pandemic. I really don’t want any employees to quit because of my management.
Dear New Manager,
Congrats on the new role! I absolutely love that you are reading and doing some introspection to learn how to be a good manager. I think that in itself speaks volumes and shows a lot of promise. Also, you mentioned that you are concerned about losing team members—a very valid concern that shows you are already thinking about how to support your direct reports. Throughout the pandemic, employees have turned to their managers hoping for support and guidance in this new, surreal world. However, not all managers are great leaders or mentors—and employees have been leaving companies or planning to quit this year because of the lack of support from their managers. However, I do believe you are starting out strong.
Here are eight tips and things to remember so that you can be a better manager and help your team to thrive.
- Be on the same page. It’s critical to have team alignment. When everyone understands and believes in the overall goals and vision, they work better together. It’s also important to set up weekly 1:1 meetings for 15 minutes at a time to connect with each team member about tasks and projects and to discuss prioritization and deadlines. Remember, it’s about working together, not dictating. As a manager, your role is to be a mentor or a guru for the team.
- They are not your assistants. If anything, you are their assistant. Once again, none of your team members are supporting you. Your role is to support them, so they can complete projects and tasks on time and hit their goals together. You are just the leader who is making sure support and resources are there for the team as they are moving things forward.
- Not bots, but humans. Expecting team members to work like machines at all hours is a huge mistake. Doing so because they should “earn their salary” is equally bad. When we expect employees to work all the time, we are creating an unhealthy environment that will quickly result in burnout. No matter what their paycheck is, no one can actually work around the clock without it impacting their physical and/or mental health. So be a better manager and understand that contacting employees in the evenings or during weekends, holidays and/or vacation time is not okay. If it’s not urgent, it can wait.
- Appreciate each employee. One of the main reasons employees leave their employer is because they do not feel appreciated. It’s important to cheer for your employees and show your appreciation. A little appreciation can go a long way toward keeping employees happy.
- Recognize them for their talents. Don’t get jealous and don’t take credit for their achievements. Managers that are insecure and take it out on their employees shouldn’t be managers in the first place. A leader doesn’t need the spotlight to thrive; a leader shines the spotlight on their team and team members.
- Flexibility and trust go hand-in-hand. The pandemic made abundantly clear that many individuals struggled to take care of their household, their family members and work at the same time. However, managers that understood this and respected the flexibility of work hours showed deep respect for and trust in their employees—and they gained it back in return. Employees want their manager to trust them. Once employees feel they are being micromanaged, their work quality declines and resentment begins. Unhappy employees often take their frustration out on others or they leave. Being a good manager is about learning to trust your employees and understand the need to have flexibility at times.
- Admit faults and take actions. When we walk comfortably with discomfort, it shows we understand that we do not know everything and don’t have the answers to every question. What that also shows is that we are willing to do the work to become a better version of ourselves. It’s okay to make mistakes. Admitting to those mistakes also is incredibly important. Sometimes, as managers, we need to be vulnerable and use ourselves as an example. Everyone makes mistakes and has faults. Be the manager that doesn’t play the blame game, but rather become the manager who wants to do better and be a better manager.
- Help them get to their dream career. Learn what they hope to achieve within two years, five years, 10 years and beyond. Then, help them devise a roadmap and guide them and connect them with people within your network to mentor them. The best managers are the ones who empower their teammates and applaud them when they climb. This also means making sure you have your team’s back, push for their annual salary increases and help them get promoted at the organization for their hard work.
Hope this helps!
Learn more about the award-winning tech changemaker, Chloé Messdaghi, at https://www.standoutintech.com.
Have a question? Want advice? Submit your anonymous question to Chloé: [email protected].