When I took the team lead position in customer service, I had no idea what I was going to deal with, or how to even manage a team. Over the last couple of months our employee retention rate had decreased, and the new team in place was now looking to me for guidance. To be honest, that was pretty scary, considering I had no idea what I was doing. One thing I know is that a good manager is one that knows how to get the best out of his/her employees while keeping them happy. Though I am still in the learning process, including taking self assessment quizzes every so often to see how I am doing and where I can improve, the below phrases have helped me to more successfully manage my team.
One of the best tips I received from my husband while venting to him my frustrations was: Don’t take it personal. If employees call out, if they are unreliable, inefficient and/or always have a bad attitude, there may be other personal issues at hand that are affecting their work. If you stop taking everything as a personal attack, you can start showing compassion, and your hurt or anger can turn into motivation for these types of employees. While demonstrating an open and understanding attitude toward your employees, you will see their attitudes and employee investment change for the better.
When working as a team or managing a team, you meet different types of people. There are those that respond to what is being asked of them and those that regardless of how understanding you try to be, will still be difficult employees. Teamwork is an important key to employee productivity, if one person starts excelling than others will want to do the same; but if that one difficult employee does not carry their own weight, others will start questioning their productivity. When not taking it personal and being understanding does not work, you must nip it in the bud. Sit down with the employee; explain to them how you have been trying to be understanding, but they have not changed the way they work. Give them new guidelines and draw a line. They can continue being that way elsewhere, but the company and the team needs their full investment. Doing this, will not only stop the problem before it escalates but will show other employee’s that such attitudes will not be tolerated.
During the day we as team leads or managers have to deal with the pressures of the day, not only of managing a team but also of tasks that we have to accomplish. If your day is getting so overwhelming and you just want to give up, don’t give up…instead take a walk. The ability to walk out of the office/building and just be alone with your thoughts can rejuvenate you. Don’t take a cell phone; don’t take a friend, just you… well and maybe your iPod if it helps you relax.
With all the days frustrations the most important thing you can do at the end of your day, is to check your drama at the door. Don’t take it home, and don’t bring it back to work the next day. Each day will have another frustration and if you keep bringing them back you will start piling the drama not only on yourself but on your employees. Their simple questions will turn into annoyances; their error’s will turn into mountains of problems, turning you into a difficult manager - the manager that no one can go to, the quick to anger manager who people keep away from. Your family and employees will thank you for keeping the day’s frustrations outside of your home, and letting each day be a new day.
Though applying these few phrases throughout your day will not single handedly make you a good manager, they are stepping stones that can lead you to becoming a manager that can manage, and can get the best out of his/her employees, while still keeping them happy.
What do you think, are their other tips that you use when managing employees? Make sure to leave them in the comments!