A great boss makes all the difference in the world. Hopefully, a great manager has elevated your work to the next level. Of course, not everyone is so lucky. As a manager, it’s important to remember your influence in the workplace. Are you making everyone better? Or hurting them without realizing? Here are eight cartoons that contrast strong and weak managers.
You need some process to keep employees in check. But when you have too much, you kill creativity. This is what ultimately drives the success of any organization. Don’t destroy it. Don’t be afraid to adjust or remove processes to help your team push the envelope. Encouraging progress, not process, is essential for your company’s long term growth.
The business world can sometimes feel like a giant game of ‘King of the Hill’. You know, the children’s game where one kid stands on top of a hill, and everyone tries to knock them off? Strong managers understand that this isn’t how to lead. If you really want to get your company to the top, you need to lift and help others in their career journey. When everyone gets to the top of the hill together, you’ll be able to stay there longer.
The best managers, understand that they are their own competition. You shouldn’t worry about your colleagues’ career trajectories. Comparing yourself to others will only make you bitter. Looking inward, however, will help you find ways to improve each day. Fostering this mindset among your employees helps everyone.
Employees can tell when you’re only in it for the money. This is especially true of my generation. We value making a positive impact more than just getting a big paycheck. Are you leading by example? CEOs like Jon Read of medical tech startup Keet Health says it best: “We make decisions based around one question, ‘What is best for the patient?’ Our employees find value in their work because they know it’s meaningful – their projects are prioritized based on impact and meaning, not just our bottom line.” He’s not alone. Many other leaders from Zappos’ Tony Hsieh to Chobani’s Hamdi Ulukaya also infuse a ‘cause based’ culture throughout their corporations.
Strong leaders understand that innovation doesn’t come from thinking inside the box. The best comedy shows were based on the ‘Yes And’ principle. Someone would say something ridiculous, and the other actors would embrace and build on the idea. Now imagine what would happen if the same show took a ‘No But’ approach that instantly shot down these new ideas. That show would get very boring, very fast. Strong managers understand that this principle applies to their work, too. They need to embrace people as they are and build them up to foster passion and creativity. Finding ways to say ‘yes’ is where innovation starts.
Nobody wants to spend all day stuck in a meeting where nothing gets accomplished. Yet far too many of us do exactly that! Smart managers realize that it’s one thing to keep employees in the loop. It’s another to waste their time with unnecessary meetings. The best managers respect their employees’ time by limiting meetings. If you can communicate something in an email, send an email. Don’t call in the entire staff for a meeting only a few people need to attend. Allowing team members to use their time effectively helps everyone become more productive.
There’s nothing like kicking back to enjoy a relaxing vacation. Sadly, most employees don’t use all of their paid vacation days. So what’s behind this ‘all work and no play’ mentality? For many, it comes from a fear that they’ll get behind or that they’ll even lose their job because they took a vacation. This doesn’t help the workplace. Overworked employees become stressed and burn out, and their productivity falls. As a manager, you have a direct influence on whether your employees use their vacation days. Encourage them to take that much-needed break so they can come back energized and refreshed.
Mistakes and setbacks are a big part of the learning process. When she was 23, Oprah was fired from her job as a reporter. At 24, Stephen King lived in a trailer with his family while scraping by as a janitor. They used these situations as opportunities to learn and grow. The same should apply in the business world. There’s always a reason to embrace mistakes as learning opportunities. Are you looking for the positive, or are you too busy scolding your employees? Remember, both positive and negative attitudes are contagious. The way you react when things go wrong will affect your team’s morale and future performance.
Becoming a strong manager won’t just help you improve your company’s results. It will also help you lift those around you so everyone can reach their goals together. As you go the extra mile to create a positive workplace environment, you’ll achieve more than ever before.