Here is the second intalment of our tips to becoming a great manager..
7. Choose calm
Remember you have a choice about the kind of person you are going to be, by learning to control your actions. For example, if you tend to have a fiery temper or short-fused disposition then you need to work on your reactions to certain situations. Practice the old ‘take a deep breath and count to ten’ technique when something or someone angers you. You must rise above your anger (whilst still allowing yourself to be angry), and be the bigger person. This is very difficult to do at first, especially if you are in the habit of ‘flying off the handle’.
As a manager it is vital that you stay in control and give a measured response, as opposed to reacting from a place of anger. However, don’t think that as the manager you must have your response ready the instant that things go wrong… you are only human!
If one or more of your team has said or done something, it is ok to say ‘This is an issue that I would like to deal with. Please come and speak to me in my office in 5 minutes’. This will give you both time to calm down, and give you the opportunity to formulate a strategy and decide how you wish to respond to this person. This is ultimately much better than flaring up in front of the rest of the team and ending up in an argument that nobody will win. Also it will give you the chance to sit the other person down and let them ‘vent’ to you whilst you listen – you will learn a lot more from them this way than if you argue and they become defensive. This buys you even more time to decide upon your actions.
You can use this technique if something goes wrong too. When you first hear of the problem, instead of reacting quickly, take a seat and learn all the information you can from your team, buying yourself some time to calm down. Again you can say ‘I shall make this a priority and deal with it. I shall be back with a plan shortly’ as you retreat to your office, close the door and do a silent scream into the coat hanging from the back of your door!
8. Go to work… on yourself!
There is a difference between arrogance and feeling good about yourself. Being British, we are tarred with the ‘self-deprecating’ brush, and would normally find it difficult to be outwardly proud of our achievements, so it is understandly hard for some people. But feeling good is infectious, and enthusiasm spreads. If you spend your time doing things that you are proud of then you will naturally exude an inspiring persona. Use your leisure time to grow and develop your physical, mental and spiritual self. You will naturally become more outgoing, friendly and interested in others. Continually educate yourself; read books, attend seminars – improving your business knowledge and management style. You will find that you are happier and prouder of yourself, and you will find it easier to bolster others’ confidence and encourage those in your team who may be feeling a little lacklustre.
9. Questions questions
Constantly question yourself about everything – how can you make things easier, cheaper, quicker? How can you help your business? How does your business appear to clients? How can you real in more clients? How can you develop your team? How can you incentivise them? How can I become better?
Sometimes a very useful trick is to ask your team/clients questions to which you already know (or think you know) the answers. It can be very interesting and enlightening to learn another’s point of view. Also, the simple act of asking a question can light a spark in that person’s imagination – your team member / client may have never given the matter much thought before, and start to discover something about the business for themselves. It is vital though, that the question is about something positive or put in a positive way (people do tend to focus on negative stuff! – e.g. Instead of asking ‘why did we lose that customer?’ ask ‘What can we do to win that customer back?’)
Q&A sessions with staff can be very valuable as this is where creativity and a sense of belonging flow. Who would have thought that the next ‘big idea’ for your business came from the quiet accounts clerk in the corner?! If your team are encouraged to be creative and inspired they will feel valued and cherished and really enjoy coming to work for you!
Do you have any thoughts about being a great manager? Send us your comments and we’ll post them too! And good luck!