It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been in management for decades, or you’re brand new on the podium: there’s always change happening in the workplace, and your professionalism should evolve with it. Remembering and practicing just a few simple rules can help you through any transformation your workplace is going through, and towards more effective leadership and management.
Leading with empathy
Leading with some heart doesn’t mean inappropriate displays of affection and overt emotion. It means managing both sides of your employee: they’re an individual, with a professional side, and a very human personal side. You can embrace both aspects of your employ by recognising their accomplishments.
Open your questions
The best way to learn, and learn about the people you’re managing, is to ask questions. And when you ask open-ended questions, your employees will be more trusting in you—because they can see that you care about what they’re saying, and that you value their answer.
Effective leadership is based a lot on your knowledge: the more you understand, the better you can manage. Your professional development opportunities will broaden your knowledge base, and deepen your understanding of how your workplace and colleagues operate—which makes it easier for you to know how to lead them.
Know your knowledge
Assessing your knowledge will show you what you know and what you don’t know—and whether you actually need to know everything, if it’s at all possible. This is useful to show you not only where your important knowledge gaps are, but also to be at peace with not knowing everything—particularly if you’ve just started in your management role.
Your team members might not appreciate being approached the way that you do—and they might not be motivated by the same things. Some will be social, and some will be more analytical and logical. If you take the time to assess how individual people want to be treated, you’ll be able to better coach and mentor them.
Let go a little
Sometimes, your team needs you to steer the ship through dangerous waters. But sometimes, they need to learn and develop by solving difficult problems independently. By giving up control when it’s appropriate, you can develop a strong team, and become more of a leader than a manager.
If you listen deeply, you can hear what’s really being said under all the noise in the workplace. Read between the lines of what they’re saying—or not saying—and follow up closed answers with open questions. If you really listen to what your employees are saying, there’s a lot you’ll be able to use to better your leadership skills.