Anyone that has ever been in a role where they manage people will tell you it isn’t easy. I feel sorry for my boss, Larry Edlin, every single day having to deal with me. But, even though it isn’t easy, there is something very gratifying when you have a good team.
I’ve been a manager for eight years, so I am still learning every day, but there are a few principles I try to stick to that have led to a successful team. The first is decision-making. Everyone in our office has heard me say “I’ll make an executive decision”. It may not always be the right decision and we may have to pivot in a different direction later, but I prefer to make the decision and move on so my team or a particular teammate I am working with knows where we stand, and we can put the item to rest. Part of this is also getting their feedback and having them engaged in the decision-making process. I know I don’t have all the answers and bringing my team in on the decision-making process helps me see things from a different perspective and aids me in my decision-making.
I am not a micro-manager, but we do have a weekly meeting every Monday morning. I manage a sales team, so a lot of our meeting is going over our pipelines, but in general, I think a weekly check-in with your team and a time to share success stories helps bring everyone together on a different level. Of course, we talk multiple times throughout the week, but Monday morning is our weekly check-in that isn’t related to one particular meeting, issue, etc.
I recently attended a couple of courses on leadership and learned why communication is so important. We all know this, but it is amazing how often we forget to do it. For me, it is the biggest personal growth area in my immediate future. I am working to get better at it every day. I’ve always been the king of the one or two-sentence email. Making sure our teams understand clearly what we are looking for or wanting from them is so important and, if we as managers aren’t clear, it hurts the entire team. I have been re-reading most of my emails recently and found that I need to add more information to almost all of them.
The last piece I want to leave you with is also from the course I attended. There were approximately 20 of us in the room. We were asked to list what we most liked in managers we have worked for. Below is a list of descriptions that showed up on everyone’s list.
Calm, real, honest, reliable, let’s me do my job, humble, and positive.
I’m working every day to be a better manager for my team. As for Larry and having to manage me, someone say a prayer for him.