Managers often forget what it’s like to be on the other side of the desk – to be part of the team instead of leading it. They tend to get wrapped up in their own leadership, believing they can control everything and make everyone happy (two mutually exclusive, if not impossible ideas).
Fortunately, its easy to put things back into perspective. Here are a few things that all managers should remember:
People aren’t perfect: Human beings are not the well oiled machines managers would like them to be. They break down, get tired, make demands and irrational decisions, etc. At any moment your staff is a conflicting brew of varying emotions, attitudes and perceptions. It’s important to remember that not everyone thinks alike, and not everyone thinks like you.
The stubborn manager, or the out of touch manager – that refuses to listen, make concessions, and work through people problems – finds him/herself with an ineffectual and divided team.
You can’t be in control all the time: Take advice from your team. Let others guide you through your big decisions. Don’t try to make every project part of your personal brand either. While you might be the architect behind a project, you certainly didn’t orchestrate it by yourself. Give credit where credit is due.
Micromanagement is an inefficient use of your time. Let some chips fall where they may. Trust in your staff’s abilities and learn to delegate properly.
You can’t always be the hero: Always remember that the burden of accountability lies on your shoulders. You’re responsible for the actions and the outcomes of your team. If you make a mistake, then it’s your job to own up and fix it. If someone on your team makes a mistake – then it’s alsoyour job to fix it.
When it comes time to make the tough decisions, you’ll be resented by some, respected by others. You can’t be everyone’s favorite all the time.
Be friendly with your staff, show that you’re human too. It’s alright to sit at the same lunch table with your team (we mean that figuratively and literally). Your staff will still respect you – they may even respect you more. You don’t always have to be on guard.
By taking a step back and reflecting on your priorities as a manager, you’ll find yourself with a clear head and a renewed sense of your role as a leader. With this understanding comes the ambition to push forward and take on the challenges of another day.