If you ask your team members if you are a good manager, do you expect them to say anything but “YES”?
Of course you’d expect them to say “YES”! After all you’ve set the goals & targets for the year, provided clarity on how to achieve the goals, handed them a copy of the job description and also explained the performance matrices.
But is this enough?
Often employees are self motivated enough to understand what is expected from them and how they will be evaluated at the end of the year during the performance appraisal. But as a team leader you need to help them not only understand their responsibilities but also help them thrive in the organisation and achieve higher success. And how can this be done? Help the employees look beyond the obvious and increase their ability to think beyond their goals and responsibilities and explore possibilities for greater success.
Here are some ways the team leader can help:
Create a BHAG: A leader possesses more than just an ability to define a mission and formulate plans to get there. A leader should be able to create a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) for the team and focus more on the possible rewards on attaining the goal rather than the risks on the path to get to the BHAG. The ability to create a BHAG and believe that it’s possible to achieve it inspires bold action from the team and ignites a passion that helps the members accomplish greater success.
Help identify a passion: The leader not only creates an exciting goal for the team but also helps the team members identify their individual passion. For this the leader needs to work closely with his team spending time to understand and evaluate their ambitions and strengths. Allocating tasks and responsibilities to the employee based on his passions leads to a higher level of performance.
Lead by example: Every employee needs a role model – someone they want to emulate and whose traits they’d like to imbibe. And who better can that be than their own manager? When the team sees the manager doing all the right things they trust and respect the leader more and try to learn from him/her.
Encourage the team to set their own targets: By encouraging his/her team to set realistic yet challenging targets for themselves a leader ensures a better buy-in and commitment from the team. Its however important to ensure that the team targets ultimately tie-in to the overall team as well as organisational level targets.
Seek feedback: A good leader listens twice as much as he talks. In doing so the leader who accepts and embraces feedback from his team shows that he is willing to continuously improve and become a better resource for the organization. This quality of the leader shows his team his willingness to hold himself accountable to the high standards that he sets thus motivating them to better themselves both professionally and personally.
Reward performance: A good leader always recognizes and rewards exemplary performance and performance only. However the mark of a good leader is also that he/she recognizes efforts and rewards them rather than only focusing on the end result. Hence the team members aren’t afraid to try the best they can even when they foresee that attaining the result may be difficult. Successful leaders also try to make sure that the rewards are worthy of the effort that they expect people to put in – whether it is in the form of compensation or non-monetary recognition.
Understands each individual’s challenges: Apart from communicating the vision and strategy of the organisation team managers also need to spend time with individual team members to understand their concerns and challenges that the employees foresee while making their journey towards their aspirational roles. As a manager you will be responsible for addressing these needs through training, coaching or even assigning the employees on special projects that will help them learn and grow.
Provides opportunities for failure: When people are testing their limits or thinking of newer and better ways to perform, there is a possibility of failure. A leader who encourages his team to learn from failure rather than condemning it ensures that her team performs uninhibited by fear. This goes a long way in the employee’s outlook to his work and challenges that arise.
Creating a culture of accountability: Leaders often have to take the heat for their team’s failure. But blaming the team members when things go wrong is not popular leadership behaviour. At the same time though, leaders need to create a culture of accountability. When an employee highlights a problem, the ideal leader will encourage the employee to resolve the situation rather than focusing on who caused the problem and how that person should be dealt with. Employees need to understand that by escalating an issue, they cannot absolve themselves of their own responsibility. Leaders should ensure that they don’t cross the fine line between giving suggestions and taking over from their subordinate.
Provides challenges: Monotony and lack of opportunities to learn new skills kills creativity & affect the employee engagement levels in the work place. The leader needs to constantly provide his team with challenges where they can test their skills, learn something new and gain satisfaction from their achievements. This also prepares the team members to move to the next level and accept higher responsibilities.
Overall a true leader aspires to inspire his team members’ success by challenging and developing them. The essence of helping employees succeed by being a motivational manager and leader is summed up perfectly by General George Patton :
“Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results” ~ General George Patton