If you are embarking on a leadership journey of managing others, this is likely a pivotal time in your career that brings excitement and motivation to do the best for your team. One of the most important things you’ll do in your leadership role is to create a healthy work culture, and to do that you’ll need to commit to supporting the growth of your people.
Here are three tips for ensuring that you and your team are on a path to success.
Work and home used to have much clearer boundaries between them than we now have in this age of 24/7 connectivity. Work is often just a click away at home, at a kid’s ballgame, or even a funeral or wedding — weekend, weekday, morning and night. As the boundaries between work and home fade, leaders of successful organizations realize it is up to them to model a healthy work-life balance to facilitate the same in their teams. Your employees will be happier, healthier, and more motivated as they follow your example and see how much you care about their well-being.
A few places to start:
- Set boundaries
- Handle issues in the moment
- Support remote work (as feasible and if possible)
One of the most vital aspects of success in our personal and professional relationships is communication, the thread that connects us to each other. Without effective communication, ideas don’t get shared or transferred, collaborations suffer, relationships break, and leaders become dictators. As a first-time manager, get in the habit of taking the time to truly listen to what the other person is saying. Your teams will feel heard and want to do their best.
In any interaction, you can improve communication by using the following these tips for active listening:
- Practice empathy:Put yourself in someone else’s shoes and see things from their perspective rather than yours.
- Focus your attention:Do not allow yourself to be distracted by whatever else may be going on around you. Checking email or texts during a conversation, for example, is a sure way to make the speaker feel you are not listening.
- Show listening:Let the speaker know without a doubt that you are fully listening. Give subtle encouragement by responding with “Yes,” or “I understand,” or body language such as smiling, nodding, or any other response without words that suggests, “Yes, I’m listening. I hear you. Go on.”
- Suspend judgment: Allow the speaker to portray their message without interrupting, being careful not to derail what they are saying.
- Be responsive: Ask questions, paraphrase and summarize what you heard back to the speaker; it will make a huge difference in creating shared understanding.
As you enter your new management role, start with dedication and commitment to your team.
There are countless opportunities to focus on your people. Here are some suggestions:
- Prioritize wellness: At both personal and team levels. At a personal level, lead by example, and others will be more inclined to follow your lead. Care for yourself by taking time off to go to special events; use your lunch break to move your body; and interact with your team in playful ways. At a team level, suggest healthy options. For example, hold individual meetings via “walk and talk” or order nourishing food for meetings.
- Appreciation: Our emotions have a direct impact on our physical health, so emphasize appreciation as an important part of your culture of wellness.
- Regularly conduct employee surveys: An important way to focus on your people is for your organization to actively listen to team members through anonymous surveys. As a manager, you can informally use a free online tool such as SurveyMonkey to ask questions of your team. Employees who are able to contribute ideas of their own to the team will be happier with the results of changes or new initiatives. The important thing to remember is to always communicate what you will and will not implement.
- Encourage team connection: Suggest that your team get together outside of work to socialize and participate in activities that support a social cause. No matter the activities, make sure to let your team members help choose them, and provide support so they see by example that your organization values connection and play as well as work.
You will flourish in your journey as a manager as you lead by example and provide an environment in which everyone can be successful. When everyone is on a healthy track, team morale is high.