By Rhonda R. Savage
If you've ever been in a management position, there's a good chance you had several pet peeves regarding your staff members and their behavior. What you may not realize is your employees probably have a few complaints too.
It's true that oftentimes these complaints can be unreasonable, and as an owner or supervisor, you need to accept the fact that you can't always make everyone happy. But its also important to know what you can improve on as a leader. When staff members respect you and the way you manage your team, it improves morale. When morale goes up, production goes up. Here are eight ways you can you improve your management style.
1. Change Your Attitude
If you often come to work grumpy, its time to change your tune. Each day depends on your attitude when you walk in the door. If the moment your staff members see you in the morning, youre rude or give off a negative attitude, it may affect their moods and result in low productivity or bad customer service. Make a mental choice the moment you wake up in the morning to be a positive influence on your staff. Do not complain about the day before or dwell on the traffic you dealt with during your commute.
Heres one way you can change things around: Ask staff to bring in an inspirational thought, humorous anecdote or joke to start the day off on a positive note.
2. No Micromanaging
Too many supervisors micromanage their staff. Excessive attention to detail can hold back the growth and development of your business and team members. Employees who are micromanaged feel frustrated, lose confidence, become timid and are discouraged. Attention to detail is a positive trait in any supervisor, but if you're correcting every little detail or do everything yourself, you'll hurt your performance and that of the team.
As an owner or a supervisor, you need to delegate, follow up without micromanaging, and hold people accountable. Create a system in which your employees can keep you updated on the projects they've been assigned. This way, they don't feel youre micromanaging or taking over, but youre able to keep updated on the progress.
3. Hold Employees Accountable
On the flip side, supervisors who are too hands off or who don't hold employees accountable are also doing their employees and business a disservice. Good leaders coach and mentor but don't micromanage or let things float along. You know the strengths and weaknesses of your people.
The days of dictatorial leadership are gone. Most employees today thrive on independence, growth and involvement. Yet they also thrive on feedback, accountability and firm, fair leadership. Finding a balance is crucial for the success of your business.
4. Stop Complaining
This is a difficult time in the economy. Your employees care about you and the company, but if you're burdening them with your woes, morale will go down. Don't share everything. They don't need to know it all. Focus on being positive, cheerful and supportive.
Some people may argue that your staff needs to know the facts. Yes, but do not harangue them daily that their job is in jeopardy. Let them know what the goals are and how important each and every one of them is to the success of the business. If the business is in trouble and youre considering layoffs, first ask yourself these questions:
- Can you be training and encouraging employees to do more and be more in your market?
- How is your customer service?
- Are there other places you can trim before resorting to layoffs?
5. Leave the Personal Life at Home
We all have personal lives outside of our work. It can sometimes be difficult to separate the two, especially as a supervisor. But regardless of whats happening in your personal life, it's important to keep it separate from your professional life.
From talking to your employees about personal problems to having family and friends stop by the office excessively can hugely affect the way your employees view you as a leader. If you overheard your employee talking about her date last night rather than focusing on work, you probably wouldn't be thrilled. It's important to be a good example by setting the standard of behavior.
6. Deal With Problematic Employees
If you don't deal with problematic staff, one (or both) of two things will happen: Other employees will begin acting like them, and you'll lose the respect of the staff. You cannot ignore a problem. It will build and youll lose the respect of the rest of your team if you don't take necessary steps to resolve the issue. Deal with issues early on before they get out of control.
Staying involved in the day-to-day tasks of your staff will help you stay on top of any problems or potential issues that may exist. Make sure youre visible to employees by walking around the office and visiting with each one. Check in with key people to find out if there are any issues you need to resolve.
7. Be There
Theres no doubt emergencies come up. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you have to be out of work for personal reasons, whether its a doctor appointment or family emergency. It's important employees can count on you for assistance, guidance and support. An owner or supervisor whos always rescheduling appointments or not available for his staff will quickly lose their respect. If you do need to be away from the business frequently for personal reasons, try to schedule these appointments or meetings on the same day each week. This way, at least your staff will always know when they can reach you.
8. Keep Your Cool
You can be a good leader 90 percent of the time, but if you're losing it 10 percent, that's what they'll remember. Overreacting in any way to an employee bringing an issue to your attention is a bad idea. It's important for the staff to know they can come to you with problems and keep you updated on the business. You don't want to make them feel guilty for doing this; rather you should encourage this behavior.
Your team knows things about the business you may not be aware of sometimes. You need to know what they know, or your business may be in danger. Overreacting to anything your staff tells you will only discourage them from keeping you informed.
Everyone, even management, needs to work at being a better team member. Begin by realizing the strengths and weaknesses you have as a leader and improve on areas that need it. By being aware of the frustrations your staff members have, you can work to change those habits.
You'll earn the respect of your employees, they'll be happier and more productive, and your self-storage business will benefit.