So, You Want to be a Great Manager?

So, You Want to be a Great Manager?

In February, you saw part one of our "So, You Want to be a..." series on how to be a great teammate. Now, we present to you part two on what a great manager looks like through the eyes of your employees. Enjoy!

Many times, the best advice we get is from the person who has been where we are going. But when it comes to being a great manager, the best advice you can receive is from the people who are the recipients of your actions – your team.

I have been blessed (notice I did not say lucky) to have had the same leader for most of my career. We have worked at different organizations together and when new opportunities have come up, I’ve jumped at the chance to work together again! This is very telling, because if I was not getting what I needed, I would have kept walking the first time our paths diverged.

What has kept me around all these years? Well, the answer lies in my relationship with my supervisor. This is certainly not a comprehensive list and is in no certain order, but these actions from my leader have had some of the greatest impact on my engagement, growth, productivity and general happiness as an employee:

1. My leader lets me set my pace and priorities. I know what is expected of me at work, no questions. My boss does a great job of laying that out for me and actually including me in setting up those expectations. Because I don’t have questions about my expectations, I set my deadlines, prioritize my work and select the projects and professional development I want to be part of. This makes me feel valued, confident and more like teammates rather than a subordinate to my supervisor. This has also given me the flexibility to fit family life in when I need to. I can’t tell you how great it feels to know I can take my niece to daycare in the morning or attend a Halloween parade for an hour in the afternoon. The gift of “goal time” is priceless!

2. My leader always has confidence in my abilities. My boss has more confidence in me than I do in myself many times…how great is that?! Never once has he ever doubted my abilities, and this has been for the majority of the past 25 years! Knowing he believes in me has given me the confidence I have needed when things were challenging or new or when big goals were ahead of me. It also gave me peace when I made a mistake. I knew we would talk it through, set a plan for what I would change next time (notice, not what he would change) and that his confidence would never waiver.

3. My leader understands and acknowledges my strengths. My boss gives me opportunities to do what I do best each day. Now this does not mean I don’t have tasks that have to be done that are not my favorite (budget and timecards to name a few…ugh!). But because he gives me the ability to direct my work and spend the majority of my time doing what I like, these tasks don’t bother me as much. I spend more than 85 percent of my time doing what I love and what I do best, so how can I complain about the other tasks that are not my favorite yet required to keep the business going?

In addition, we actively discuss how I can use my strengths more. When I have a success or am especially proud of a project I have finished, we talk about how I felt, what strengths I used in the work and how I can capitalize more on that strength(s) in future work. It feels good to share the success of my strengths with my boss and think about how I keep that feeling going.

4. My leader advocates for me. If it’s important to me, it’s important to him. The work I do is focused around employee engagement and my strengths are all about relationship-building. There are times when a company policy or action doesn’t sit well with me or I have ideas for things the company can do to make employees feel more recognized, engaged and valued. My boss will always listen to my thoughts and ideas and will share them with the appropriate people or, even better, encourage me to reach out directly. He never acts as the veil I have to go through to interact with other levels of the organization. Rather, he trusts my judgement and is not concerned or threatened by not being included in the conversation. Now, of course there are times when I share my thoughts about a policy and it remains as is, but knowing I can be open and honest and will always be given the “why” allows me to respect and support these decisions.

You’ve heard it here folks, the inside scoop for being a great boss. I know there are so many other things that are included in great leadership, but the impact you could have by just considering one of these ideas is incredible!!!

So, you want to be a great boss? Look to your employees for feedback. There’s no better time than the present to start acting on those gifts of advice from your team – get started now!!!

Jeanne Heath is the learning and engagement champion for Vizo Financial Corporate Credit Union. Ms. Heath has spent the bulk of her career conducting training within the financial services industry with a strong focus on technical and change management training during mergers and acquisitions. Jeanne has developed and implemented a dynamic onboarding program which immediately immersed new employees into the company culture of “positively impacting people’s lives” through an atmosphere of high performance, high accountability and high care. She is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and has earned her Credit Union Development Education (CUDE) designation.