FireworksYesterday, we ran a post about four ways you can be a great boss. In keeping with that theme, here are three more ways you can improve your management skills and lead a happier, more productive workplace.

1. Expect Great Things From All of Your Staff Members

This particular management technique is not technically difficult to administer, nor does it require any specific skills, but it does require a change of mindset.

Research shows that, as a manager, your expectations of your team will impact their performance levels. If you have high expectations of your employees, they will grow in confidence and perform better; likewise, if you have low expectations of them, they will lose confidence and perform more poorly.

What is happening here is that managers are communicating their expectations to staff members, either consciously or unconsciously, and the staff members are noting these expectations, either consciously or unconsciously. Staff members then go on to perform in ways that are consistent with the expectations placed on them. This is known as the “Pygmalion effect.”

It’s worth taking a step back as a manager and taking a long, hard honest look at your team. Do you have high expectations of all your staff members, or do you expect some to be mediocre or even to fail?

You need to take time to demonstrate your high expectations to all your staff members by being both inspirational and supportive. You should be setting a vision for what you believe each staff member can achieve — taking into account their own ambitions, of course. Work with your employees to set inspiring goals for them and provide support for them to achieve these.

No one should be allowed to drift aimlessly in the sea of low expectation. If you want to lead a high-performing team, you need to have high expectations for all your team members.

2. Remember to Say ‘Thank You’ 

A study from GloboThumbsUpforce found that simply thanking your staff members can increase their motivation, engagement levels, and effort.

That being said, the way that you say “Thank you” does matter. Expressions of gratitude need to be very specific to particular situations, and they should ideally demonstrate how an employee’s actions positively impacted you and the entire time.

For example, a great way to say “Thank you” to an employee would be something like this: “I really appreciated the effort you put in when volunteering to stay late the other night. Without your help, I would not have gotten the project done on time. Thank you!” 

If you can’t remember the last time you said “Thank you” to a team member, you have a huge opportunity to become a much better boss and create a much better team environment. All you have to do is start showing some gratitude.

3. Mentor Your Staff Members 

Do you take the time to sit down and constructively and sympathetically coach and mentor your staff members? If not, then you have a great opportunity to become a better boss. Research shows that both mentors and mentees benefit from mentorship arrangements.

It’s a win-win management process: by mentoring your team members, you help them reach higher levels of performance while generating goodwill which could be repaid later in your career.

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