7 Management Qualities to try at work

I've had a hand written sheet on my desk for a few years, and I've always tried to keep it top of mind.  Ever since I became a people manager back in 1999, though not in a professional environment, I've always tried to build high-performing teams, and lead by example.  I saw a comic recently that said you're not a real leader until you've made a leader who is leading others.  I think I've done that, but there's always room to improve.

Here are some thoughts in no particular order:

  1. Give real-time feedback as much as you can, with the intention of providing an improvement over the past.  This can be for behaviour, work skills, output, presentations, etc.  Even things like You've got mustard on your cheek I've always felt the need to let that person know immediately.  I would want them do do the same!
  2. Support diversity and demonstrate inclusive behaviours.  I think (as a white male) it's my job to look for the best in all cultures, genders, and ages.  I've worked with those much older than me, and worked for and hired many women over the last ten years.  I think the key here has always been to try to demonstrate the inclusivity, not just pay it lip service.
  3. Create a positive Team environment.  When people are pulling their weight, it's easy.  When there are challenges on a team, this becomes even more important.  Teamwork is about pulling together, finding strengths, leveraging skills and staying positive about an outcome.  Even in the face of delays, budget cuts, resourcing issues--- I've always felt it was my role to be the positive engine on the team.  That's good leadership.  
  4. Discipline, ensuring compliance and controls.  There are always to get around a rule, but usually there is a reason a policy or rule is in place.  Sometimes the hard decision is taking the slow way, because it's the right way.
  5. Keeping the team informed /Informing the team.   There's news, changes, updates and important business information that needs to be shared.  A good manager shares news in a timely way, with context, supports questions, and find answers.  Just having a team that feels informed is great for morale.  When questions arise, uncertainty spreads and productivity drops.
  6. Allocation of projects and workload.  Not always the easiest of the manager's duties, but allocating projects and workload across a broad team, where subject-matter expertise exists, is critical to ensuring successful projects.  Knowing what your people are capable of, and how they can adapt is often the key.
  7. My Favourite-- the challenge/enhance proposal.  This is where you take someone out of a box they've built.  I try to live my life outside that box, but most organizations need people in boxes.  So what's the Challenge/Enhance Proposal?  A staffer suggests a solution to a problem or an idea for a new channel or product:  They're already within their own box typically.  Counter with "This is great-- if you had more money, more time, or less hurdles, how would this be different?  Instead of 10%, think 10x". Because these conversations often need to be reigned in after some exploration, this is about managing expectations, ideation, challenging status quo and giving employees and teams freedom.  That's what makes work fun for me.