Although it’s generally agreed that there is more “responsibility” as you move up the ladder, there is this misconception from the front line that there is less to do. I don’t know the exact origin of this belief but if you’re a manager and do it right, it certainly couldn’t be further from the truth. That being said there are a few caveats on this.
Let’s take it back old school. The output of a manager, supervisor, team leader or CEO should resonate a number of key messages to your team;
1. You should be working harder. And this is a lesson in humility too. This is the most important aspect which is why it is on the top of the list. If you’ve taken on the role to lead a team you should expect out of yourself, as should your own manager, that you will outwork your team. This is not to say that your team don’t work as hard as you, it simply implies you will always take on the grunt of the responsibility. If you are not contributing 51% of the relationship then you’re behind the 8-ball. Always put in more. There is absolutely nothing wrong with delegating work, infact, a good manager and leader is a great delegator – to the right team members though and with the right volume. Passing the buck is different to delegating for the benefit of all. There is a clear difference between palming of your own workload and delgating key tasks for operational output and staff development. They can see the strengths of their team members and delegate the correct tasks to the correct individuals with the intention of getting two outcomes;
a) The task being completed by the most capable.
b) Providing an opportunity for your team member to develop valuable skills for their career development.
Your staff have entrusted you with the responsibility of helping them grow as an individual and a professional, respect that and don’t take it for granted. If you are putting in less hours than your team it might be time to reconsider that golf game or massage.
2. Be willing to get your hands dirty too. If you expect your team to make a hundered calls a day, or return the call of a difficult client, or to sell enough to meet a budget, but you’re not willing to or don’t have the experience to do it yourself, expect some resentment. Lead by example and take the lead when required. I can hear some managers and team leaders right now barking about the need for your team to take initiative – I totally agree however set the task and set the deadline but when something falls well outside of their scope, step up to the challenge. It will show them that you’re not only a practioner but that you are also dependable.
3. Follow up on promises and be resourceful. As managers we don’t and won’t always have all the answers. But that’s ok. Admitting that is often refreshing to your team. Following up by finding the answer however leaves a lasting impression and shows leadership. Resourcefulness goes along way.
4. Learn to manage and communicate change. Operationally, organisations have their challenges. There are times when change management is difficult to balance, budgets are increased, staff are cut, cultures are reassessed – any number of disrupters can arise. Listening to your team helps as does putting everything into perspective. Communicating the long term vision of your organisation, in line with the goals of your own team can often help equip people with the faith and confidence to ride out change.
5. Appreciate your own standards are not everyone elses. Although you might be able to live off 6 hrs of sleep, work a minimum 10hours a day, attend back to back meetings, eat at your desk and leave the office last – your team may not be able to keep up that same level of intensity. Over work leads to burnout and burnout leads to unhappy staff. If they are putting the effort and getting the result it’s ok come Friday when they want to leave a bit early. And if there is that one individual that is willing to outwork you – keep them, nurture their skills and help them shine. You should always have smarter people on your team than you.
Stay humble. Hustle hard.