Have you ever wondered if you are a good manager or just a mediocre one? If you haven’t had any of those moments in your career…then maybe you need to stop and think it over.
The simple fact is that you, as a human first and then as a manager, act based on what you’ve learned. Your behavior is mandated by your experiences, your education, the way you were raised and everything good and bad that happen in between. That personal encyclopedia that you feed every day with experiences determines the way you interact with other people.
It is inevitable and as it affects the way you behave, it affects the way you conduct business. It becomes evident then that if you are a manager this affects the way you manage people.
Here are 3 simple things that are already showing and by that simple act speak louder of the kind of manager you are than any award you could ever win.
Or not. There’s a ton of articles that basically say that great Leaders are very good at listening to those that follow or work for them. The fact is that if you’ve never been much of a listener, that is certainly showing.
The fact that you’re not talking does not mean you are listening.
The same way that you might not see something even though you’re watching it. Making silence when another person speaks does not mean you’re really paying attention. And it shows…and it says a lot about you. Maybe you just spaced out, maybe you had more important things in your head, maybe it’s just a bad day. Consider this though: if the other person realizes you’re just not there…what will that say of you? How will it affect that person’s trust in you? Would you trust in someone that’s just not paying any attention to what you’re saying?
Listening implies interacting, always remember that.
I freeze. Not every time and not in every situation, but I freeze. It takes a very conscious 1-2 seconds to set myself in motion. Those 1-2 seconds can be the difference between life and death if you’re standing in the crossing a street without watching the traffic.
Luckily I work in a nice office, behind a desk. The crises I need to handle are different and most of yours are probably too. End of quarter, we’re not meeting the targets and your VP wants an explanation ASAP. Your boss is out and he’s left you as the point of contact…and for some reason that day all hell breaks loose. You had to fly out to a different country with an employee or a peer and he or she suddenly needs medical attention…and neither of you speaks the local language.
It is the way you interpret and react to these situations that communicate a key aspect of being a Leader. I call it the “everything is going to be ok” factor and it refers to your ability to work things out while keeping emotional distress in check.
Jump away before the first bullet hits you…and you might get hit by the second one.
It is not about how heroic you are. Employees don’t need a hero. They need someone who can make the right decision even though you might not know what that decision is at first.
Your reaction to adversity tells a story and it does not matter what title you put to it: the way you handle yourself when unexpected shows up is how it will actually be read by others.
Or how you meet a challenge. Another favorite for pep-talk writers: “always challenge yourself”. It’s good enough for a t-shirt for sure and it’s a good tag-line as well but you certainly know as a manager that challenges are not necessarily a great thing.
Challenge me once and I’ll honor you. Challenge me twice and I’ll defeat you.
A challenge is nothing but a goal. It might be impromptu or it might be planned. It’s not a crisis which you must resolve as your reaction is defined by someone’s or something’s action. A challenge is presented to you and you are usually given at least the time to think it over, react and make up your mind and hopefully a plan.
Meeting challenges say a lot about your goal-setting skills, which is a great thing for any Leader. Failing to meet those challenges then communicates your lack of those skills. So what’s in the middle? What tells the real story? Your planning skills, the way you motivate the team to rise higher, or the way you face defeat when something doesn’t work your way?
All of them and yet sometimes maybe none. When facing any challenge at all you expose yourself to either meeting them or failing. It’s not about that but how you actually survive those challenges. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are, it doesn’t matter how virtuous you feel: it only matters how you actually FACE that challenge.
That’s when you communicate the most. Are you afraid of new things? Do you hate routines? Do you change everything constantly? Is there a pattern in how you take on new assignments? All of that tells a story, and it’s about how you do or do not face change.
Three simple traits that speak of the Person behind the Leader. How many more are there that you are not aware of? How many can you handle?
I’d say…starting listing them.
Also published on Medium.