By Rhonda Savage, DDS
If you've ever been in a management position, there's a good chance you had several pet peeves regarding your staff members and their behavior. What you may not realize is that your employees probably have a few complaints themselves.
It's true that oftentimes these complaints can be unreasonable and as a manger, you need to accept the fact that you can't always make everyone happy, but it's important to know what you can improve on as a leader. When your staff members respect you and the way you manage the team, it improves morale. When morale goes up, production goes up.
How can you improve your management style to prevent your employees from agreeing with these frustrations?
1. You come to work grumpy. Each day depends on your attitude when you walk in the door. If the moment your staff members see you in the morning, you are rude or give off a negative attitude, it may affect their moods and result in low productivity or bad customer service. Make a mental choice the moment you wake up in the morning to be a positive influence on your staff members.
At the morning team meeting, assign someone to bring in inspirational thought or a humorous incident or joke to start the day off on a positive note. Do not complain about the day before or dwell on the traffic you dealt with during your commute.
2. You micromanage the staff. Excessive attention to detail can hold back the growth and development of your business and your team members. Employees that are micromanaged feel frustrated, lose confidence, become timid and are discouraged. Attention to detail is a positive trait of any manager, but if you're correcting every little detail or do everything yourself, you'll hurt your performance and that of the team.
As an owner or a manager, you need to delegate, follow up without micromanaging and hold people accountable. Create a system in which your employees can keep you updated on the projects they've been assigned. This way, they don't feel you are micromanaging or taking over, but you are able to keep updated on the progress.
3. You are too "hands off" and don't hold employees accountable. Although micromanaging may not be a sound management strategy, it's also possible to be too "hands off" with your staff members. Good leaders coach and mentor but don't micromanage or let things float along. You know the strengths and weaknesses of your people.
The days of dictatorial leadership are gone. Most employees today thrive on independence, growth and involvement. And yet they also thrive on feedback, accountability and firm, fair leadership. Finding a balance is crucial for the success of your business.
4. You complain about the bad economy and lack of cash flow. This is a difficult time in the economy. Your employees care about you and the company, but if you're burdening them with your woes, the morale will go down. Don't share everything. They don't need to know it all. Focus on being positive, cheerful and supportive.
Some people may argue that your staff needs to know the facts. Yes, but do not harangue them daily that their job is in jeopardy. Let them know what the goals are and how important each and every one of them is to the success of the business. Before you feel a need to lay off staff members, ask yourself these questions:
- Can you be training and encouraging them to do more and be more in your market?
- How is your customer service?
- Should you be working on your business before you resort drastic measures?
5. You bring your personal life to work. We all have those days. We all have personal lives outside of our work. It can sometimes be difficult to separate the two, especially as a manager. But regardless of what is happening in your personal life, it's important to keep that separate from your professional life.
Anything from talking to your employees about personal problems to having family and friends stop by the office excessively can hugely affect the way your employees view you as a leader. If you overheard your employee talking about her date last night rather than focusing on work, you probably wouldn't be thrilled. It's important to set a good example for the staff by setting the standard of behavior.
6. You don't deal with problematic employees. If you don't deal with problematic staff, one (or both) of two things will happen:
- The others will begin acting like them
- You'll lose the respect of the staff
You cannot ignore a problem. The problem will build and you will lose the respect of the rest of your staff if you don't take necessary steps to resolve the issue. Deal with issues early on before they get out of control.
Staying involved in the day-to-day tasks of your staff members will help you stay on top of any problems or potential problems that may exist. Make sure you are visible to employees by walking around the office and visiting a little with each one. Check in with key people to find out if there are any issues you need to resolve.
7. You are always out of the office. There is no doubt that emergencies come up. Sometimes no matter how hard you try, you have to be out of work for personal reasons, whether it is a doctor appointment or family emergency. But if your employees are rescheduling clients to fit your schedule, you'll find the clients, co-workers or partnering businesses won't respect your time.
It's important that employees are able to count on you for assistance, guidance and support. A manager who is always rescheduling appointments and is not available for their staff members will quickly lose the respect of these people. If you do need to be away from the business a lot for personal reasons, try to schedule these appointments or meetings on the same day each week. This way. at least your staff will always know when they can reach you.
8. You overreact when we approach you with concerns or problems. You can be a good leader 90 percent of the time, but if you're losing it 10 percent, that's what they'll remember. Overreacting in any way to an employee bringing an issue to your attention is a bad idea. It's important for the staff to know they can come to you with problems and keep you updated on the business. You don't want to make them feel guilty for doing this; rather you want to encourage this behavior. Your team knows things about the business that you may not be aware of sometimes. You need to know what they know, or your business may be in danger. Overreacting to anything your staff members tell you will only discourage them from keeping you informed.
Everyone, even management needs to work at being a better team member.
Begin by realizing the strengths and weaknesses that you have as a leader and work on the things you could improve on. By being aware of the frustrations your staff members have, you can work to change those habits.
You'll earn the respect of your employees, they'll be happier and more productive and the business will benefit.
Rhonda Savage, Ph.D., is an internationally acclaimed speaker and CEO for a well-known practice management and consulting business. Dr. Savage is a noted motivational speaker on leadership, women's issues and communication. For more information on her speaking, visit www.DentalManagementU.com or e-mail Rhonda@MilesandAssociates.net.