We couldn't help it, we had to have ONE listicle to end the year. What better week than between Christmas and New Year's? I'm sure many of us are wrapping up projects, finalizing details, and checking our to-do lists so frequently even Santa would be impressed. If you are lucky, you may be in that easy limbo of having work wrapped up and you are taking a breath. Whatever your situation, we hope you’ll take a break with us and catch up on the topics that kept people coming back. Maybe you've visited these already, or perhaps they're new to you. Either way, these articles are worth your time and can help you gear up for the new year!
In the current times, you may have had to furlough or lay off employees. Now that you're able to hire again, you're considering a rehire. You find yourself weighing the pros and cons of bringing previous employees back to your team. Will this decision be a good move, or is it better to start again?
Join us as we uncover the pros and cons of rehiring and offer food for thought as you thumb through applications.
While it's unlikely you'll ever actually look forward to conducting a review, they're a necessary part of the job that, if done correctly, can drive high performance. Part of an effective onboarding process is providing honest, actionable feedback. Without feedback, employees don't know whether they're doing a good job or how they could do a better job. According to a recent survey, 32 percent of employees must wait more than three months to get feedback from their manager. However, 96 percent felt that regular feedback was helpful. We offer a painless way to do just that.
Suppose you work for an aggressive personality type. In that case, you probably need answers and solutions to help you get through the day. Why does your boss do what he does? Why is she so difficult? Is there an effective way to work with someone who can never be wrong? What if your aggressive manager is also hypersensitive to all criticism? We answer these questions and more in the article.
Soft skills were the MVP of the year. And we understand why! An employee's soft skills can make or break their job performance, especially in leadership positions. Technical or "hard" skills are undoubtedly essential. However, having good soft skills — characteristics like agreeableness, empathy, the ability to influence and listen, likeability, and the ability to resolve conflict — can impact far more than the individuals' daily tasks. Measuring soft skills will help determine whether an employee can enlist the necessary cooperation and buy-in from peers, direct reports, leadership, clients, and vendors. If your new hire will engage with anyone, it's good to know which skills are innate and which may need coaching.
You may be a computer whiz, a scientific genius, or a Master of Mathematical Theories. However, to be successful, you need more than just expertise in your given specialty. You might need to hone your soft skills. Soft skills are broadly classified as a combination of personality traits, behaviors, and social attitudes that allow people to communicate effectively, collaborate, and successfully manage conflict. People with good soft skills tend to have strong situational awareness and emotional intelligence to navigate challenging work environments while still producing positive results. This is especially important for leadership positions. Good leadership is about managing people and directing their efforts toward the desired outcome, more so than applying specific technical skills.
So, there you have it. 2020 was a year of questions and answers, challenges, and solutions. We all had adjustments to make. Some people started new jobs, some may soon return to previous ones, and still others are deciding what’s next. Most of us were handling new and unusual stressors, and because we're human, we didn't always get it right. And if there was one thing that made a difference across the board, it was leadership's ability to leverage their soft skills.
We've spent some time discussing the price paid when a manager hires someone wrong for a job -- we know the potentially devastating effects. But what happens when the person unfit for the position is the boss? It's the next step in the process; if people are promoted or placed in positions where they manage others, but aren't great leaders, it can have a widespread impact.
What happens when it’s the big boss...the manager who’s unfit?
According to an Inc.com 2018 poll, a staggering 76% of workers think they have a “toxic boss.” So, what does that mean for the company? A 2015 Gallup study found that 50% of people leave a job to get away from their manager to improve their overall life at some point in their careers. So, promoting or placing one wrong person can have ripple effects far beyond the immediate department.
When the person in charge is a horrible manager, team morale suffers while company production and income plummet. If a very large group of subordinates is involved, there may be scores of miserable workers functioning on autopilot, commiserating, or threatening to leave en masse. And it can be even worse for small departments where angry underlings may feel so powerless they suffer in silence or mask their growing unhappiness with frequent illnesses and absences.
Unfortunately, bad managers can come deceivingly packaged as good ones. They may display what looks like desirable traits -- a friendly disposition, authoritative stance, accommodating attitude, and desire to succeed -- but none of these ensure management strategies that will be beneficial to a specific team.
Some of the seemingly most ideal managers can do the most harm.
4 Mistakes Every Bad Manager Makes:
Treats Every Worker the Same Way
One of the most common mistakes bad managers make is to neither recognize nor capitalize on each employee's unique differences. These managers consciously paint everyone with the same wide brush (perhaps thinking this is the equitable thing to do) and all but eliminate any chance for personalities to set themselves apart and bring their individual talents to the team. Most employees who are all treated the same way eventually start feeling unappreciated, misunderstood, and overlooked.
For example, more assertive employees will jump at the chance to assume additional responsibilities or exercise their power. They need managers willing to quickly assign extra duties and develop any potential leadership skills. Passive workers, on the other hand, prefer to stay in the background. A manager who adds assignments more gradually and takes the upper hand will keep these more prudent workers on board.
Recognizing different traits and different needs, then managing them correctly, is important. Not only to the work environment but to the overall productivity and livelihoods of those working within the company.
Focuses on Weaknesses
Bad managers often get caught up in what workers can’t do instead of what they can do. They also talk brazenly about how they’d like to change people. However, identifying these "problem areas" does nothing to motivate improvement or skill growth when there are no solutions. Poor managers skip the work of uncovering what really motivates an individual and miss out on opportunities to benefit from innate talent and specific strengths.
For example, rather than growing frustrated with a worker who takes her time and prefers routine, good managers will use this person for repetitive tasks or tedious tasks. Chatty employees enjoy talking to people; good managers appreciate their social skills and routinely funnel client relations roles, or telemarketing calls their way.
When good managers uncover someone’s natural assets, they can more readily devise opportunities to help the person increase these skills.
Because one of the managers' primary responsibilities is to motivate and develop staff and offer managers extensive training on understanding human behaviors better. Consider having the whole team take behavioral assessments to see how they may interact and identify strengths and weaknesses. Ensure the person in charge of any size staff can be flexible enough to share at least some common ground with every team member.
Most workers are happiest if allowed to have at least some say in determining their own path when accomplishing objectives. They’ll want a varying amount of oversight from the boss, depending on their specific level of self-confidence and individual desire to take some calculated risks.
Good managers explain the ground rules to everyone then decide which workers might want extra guidance and which don’t. Self-directing team members need chances to devise their own methods, improvise, and learn from their mistakes. A manager's worst actions are to hover over them, tether them to stringent rules, and become a constant presence in their day. Of course, a general agreement on goals is in order and adherence to checkpoints or KPIs (key performance indicators) for feedback. Still, scrutiny of everyday actions and responses can make good; self-sustaining subordinates feel their manager doesn’t trust them.
More cautious workers will want extra feedback from and interaction with their boss. Functioning as a resource and giving advice when asked can boost lower levels of confidence. Provide clear instructions, backup, and reassurance that you know they can do the job. Monitor progress and provide input, but don’t do so to excess. Keep in mind that even the most fearful, self-doubting worker needs some room in which to breathe!
Consider rewarding managers who develop the abilities of others to perform on their own and meet personal goals.
Fails to Fit the Right Person to the Right Job
Any worker mistakenly placed in an ill-suited role will struggle, fail to meet expectations, and likely seek employment elsewhere sooner or later. Good managers know their team members' personalities and place each one in a role designed to play into their innate talents and interests. They set them up for success instead of for failure.
Not everyone can function in high-stress situations. Not everyone can lead. And not everyone can withstand others’ critiques or nasty remarks.
Be sure the workers hired to be collectors exhibit the levels of assertiveness, tenacity, and resilience that the job requires. On the other hand, your behind-the-scenes researchers probably need an analytical mind, penchant for details, and, perhaps, the ability to work alone for extended periods of time.
There are also environmental conditions to consider before promoting an employee or hiring someone new. Is the person you have in mind for the job apt to fit in with the existing team? Might there be generational issues to address? A more mature worker, for example, could have trouble taking direction from someone young enough to be a grandchild. And eager new graduates may expect fast promotions, immediate answers, or big rewards for their efforts.
Knowing who’s right for a job limits the risk of mutual misunderstandings, arguments, disappointments, and regrets.
Today, the typical workplace employs a wide range of individuals who are not only from various generations but also of different perspectives, cultures, backgrounds, and economic levels. With such an eclectic collection of sometimes conflicting personalities, it’s more important than ever that managers know how to correctly read people, trigger hot buttons, and adapt to changing needs.
Are all the managers on your team fit to do the job?
Knowing how much supervision to give an employee can be difficult. If you provide too little oversight and guidance, people could end up feeling lost, unsupported, and unproductive. On the other hand, if you provide too MUCH direction, you could end up micromanaging your team, which often makes people resentful and resistant.
Anyone who has been micromanaged knows it is no fun, but it can affect different people. Some employees will do anything possible to earn the trust they feel like they are being denied. While this might seem beneficial initially, it can have damaging long-term effects because they usually burn out when that trust never comes.
Others will become dependent on micromanagement and won't dare make a move without approval. They show no initiative for fear of being reprimanded, which leaves them ill-equipped to handle change and adapt to disruption. These employees don’t tend to grow over time because they have no incentive to improve their skills or demonstrate their expertise.
Another category of employees reacts quite negatively to signs of micromanagement. They resist, argue, push back, and generally make a show of being unpleasant at every opportunity. While being micromanaged can be an incredibly unpleasant experience, these employees often become so wrapped up in showing their displeasure that their performance suffers as a result. The very act of trying to make them productive then ends up doing exactly the opposite.
In most cases, micromanagers are driven by a need to control situations and fear being accountable for other people's work, usually because they think that work will be of poor quality. Some other explanations for micromanaging might include:
If the point is ensuring success for the company, what's the problem with micromanaging? Why stop? There are actually several reasons why micromanaging can be damaging to an organization over time:
A predictable response from a micromanager might be that they’re concerned about an employee making mistakes. While this may seem justifiable, it’s important to remember that making mistakes is one of the most effective ways for an employee to learn. Working through failure also helps to build resilience, which is incredibly important in today’s fast-changing economy. Combined with development assessments that identify which skills an employee needs to work on, making mistakes is critical to professional growth.
But what if they make a LOT of mistakes? Believe it or not, that’s actually not a bad thing either. If an employee consistently fails to meet expectations, it’s a good indication that they need to be reassigned to another role or dismissed altogether. Too much micromanaging often allows subpar performers to skate unnoticed by the rest of the company, which hides the team's deficiencies.
There are many instances where managers may need to play a more active role in an employee’s work, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re micromanaging. Some examples of this could include:
It all goes back to trust. You trusted an employee enough to hire them. If you also trust that your training is good and that your instructions are clear, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t also be able to trust that employee to be accountable. This is especially true of organizations that have used various cognitive and behavioral employee assessments throughout the hiring process to ensure they’re making the best selections possible.
It can be scary to step back and let other people try, and possibly fail, so start gradually. Identify the least important processes, delegate, assign them, and walk away. Compare people's skills to the risks of the assignment. An unskilled employee completing a high-risk task should be closely managed. Better yet, a project of such importance should probably be reassigned to a more seasoned staff member in the first place.
Understanding how to recognize and avoid micromanaging your employees is critically important for all leaders. Even when the micromanager seems to have the employee’s best interests at heart, there are very few situations where micromanaging your employees doesn’t lead to negative outcomes of some kind. Organizations can only be successful when everyone can embrace trust and accountability, which ensures that employees can focus on doing their own jobs to the best of their ability without unnecessary oversight or support.
Regardless of what industry you’re looking at, there are plenty of people who have to deal with aggressive managers regularly. In most cases, they can’t simply avoid these difficult individuals, especially if they have to work for them!
If you work for this aggressive personality type, you probably need answers and solutions to help you get through the day. Why does your boss do what he does? Why is he so difficult? Is there an effective way to work with someone who can never be wrong, refuses all input from others, and is hypersensitive to even the hint of criticism (while dishing out plenty of criticism of others)?
Fortunately, there are many ways of handling an aggressive manager that allow you to be successful in your role without creating unnecessary conflict.
Also Popular: What is Your Conflict Management Style
Dr. George Simon, author of Character Disturbance, In Sheep’s Clothing, and The Judas Syndrome, is a nationally recognized expert on manipulative, cunning, aggressive people. He says that aggressive personalities are “fundamentally at war with anything that stands in the way of their unrestrained pursuit of their desires.” And unlike the rest of us, aggressive people don’t shy from conflict. More than anything, aggressive personalities want to win at whatever cost. It’s why they seek the dominant position in all interpersonal interactions, no matter how minor.
There’s a common but unfortunate perception that bosses should be aggressive. Apparently, the idea is that things just can’t get done unless someone is clobbering someone else to do it. Aggressive people aren’t easily discouraged, are tenacious, and are motivated to meet their goals—or so the thinking goes.
In reality, however, aggressive managers are usually pretty lousy bosses. They have little regard for others’ rights and boundaries, aren’t concerned about people’s needs, and make decisions based on their own agendas, not what’s best for employees, their teams, or the company.
If you work for an aggressive boss, you may be confused, frustrated, angry, and anxious. Aggressive managers have that effect. Let’s take a closer look at some defining characteristics of these people.
According to Dr. Simon, narcissism is a common trait in developing individuals (particularly adolescents). He writes:
“But most of us eventually grow to develop a healthier balance of perspective with respect to our regard for ourselves versus our regard for and need of others. When a person enters adulthood, retaining the narcissistic tendencies they had as a child, there’s bound to be lots of trouble in their relationships.”
And if that’s not bad enough, destructive narcissists (that is, those whose narcissism is pathologic) don’t just view themselves as superior; they view everyone else as worthless, expendable, and justifiably exploitable. Such individuals have no qualms about using lies, manipulation, intimidation, flattery, or anything else to get what they want.
Aggressive managers have a disdain for authority and rules, at least when it’s not coming from them. By contrast, they typically expect other people to respect their authority without question. The rules don’t apply to them, but woe to anyone else who dares to question their judgment or demands. This lack of respect for authority also manifests as a lack of accountability. They’re more likely to blame others when things go wrong and make excuses for their behavior.
An aggressive manager will always do what’s best for them. Always. Even when appearing to submit to someone else’s wishes or demands, the aggressive personality is employing a strategy to get what they want. Unfortunately, this means stepping over (or on) anyone who gets in their way.
Truth and fact are “bendable” according to the aggressive personality’s desires. One day your boss gives X instruction for doing Y, but when you do X, and the result (through no fault of yours) is unsatisfactory, the boss denies giving that instruction. They may even feign outrage that you would “accuse” them of such a thing.
Ironically, aggressive people will own this trait as a virtue and brag about their tenacity. However, this lack of “internal brakes,” as Dr. Simon puts it, is not a positive quality. In extreme cases, this trait can lead to ethical and legal breaches.
At times, dealing with an aggressive manager feels like dealing with a child, and that’s because aggressive personalities often exhibit childlike qualities. They’re immune to reason, logic, and common sense in the pursuit of their desires—just like a willful six-year-old.
An aggressive boss can make coming to work unpleasant and even cause psychological and emotional harm over time. How can you protect yourself? Here are a few suggestions:
Read everything you can get your hands on about aggressive personalities. You can’t approach someone with a character disturbance or personality disorder as you would a normal person. It doesn’t work, and you’ll be forever perplexed and frustrated. So read, learn, and act accordingly.
Doing your job well isn’t an absolute defense. Aggressive personalities make it hard for you to do a good job because they routinely ruin relationships, withhold information, micromanage, and provide conflicting instructions. That said, doing the best job possible will help insulate you from credible accusations of poor performance, provide a sense of self-worth (very important when working with someone who loves to tear others down), and give the aggressive manager a good reason to leave you be.
It’s important to establish firm boundaries based on your values and sense of self-worth. As long as those values are in line with the company’s mission, there shouldn’t be any conflict between your personal ethics and the expectations of your job. Draw those lines in the sand, and don’t let aggressive leaders compel you to cross them. If you do, you’ll hate yourself for it, and you won’t win any favors with the aggressive manager either, who’ll use you until they tire of you.
Taking notes is particularly important when your boss’ conduct crosses the line from merely unpleasant to unethical or potentially illegal. Keep a daily log if you must; a pad and pencil within arm’s reach at all times is a necessity.
If your aggressive manager has been around for a while, your company has most likely gotten complaints and ignored them. There are plenty of organizations willing to justify unacceptable behavior because they think the person in question is too valuable to lose (they’re almost always wrong about that, but that’s another story). Even so, your company can’t stop you from pursuing your rights. Go ahead and put your complaint on the record following whatever process is in place, and don’t hesitate to go outside the organization for help if needed.
Standing up to an aggressive manager has a cost, and you may find yourself marginalized or even out of a job. But understand that some things can’t be helped. If your organization tolerates abusers and your boss is one, you’re going to feel the effects no matter what. So decide what you’ll accept and won’t accept and don’t look back.
Aggressive personalities, especially narcissistic ones, think they’re smart, and everyone else is dumb. Take advantage of that fact. Eventually, your boss will make a mistake, and you’ll be there to document it.
If you’re an employer hoping to ban these unsavory characters from your workplace, that’s a good and healthy instinct. Unfortunately, however, we’ve all been trained to believe that confident, even brash, individuals who are loud and smooth-talking make for the best employees. So, if you don’t want your workplace ensnared by an aggressive employee, you’ll need to pay special attention during the interview phase and set your biases aside. Ask tough behavioral questions designed to elicit how the candidate handles conflict on the job, and listen carefully to the answers.
Also, don’t hesitate to administer a behavioral assessment to provide some information about character traits such as agreeableness, assertiveness, cooperativeness, and resilience. However, do NOT rely on a behavioral assessment to reveal whether an individual has a personality disorder; behavioral assessments are NOT medical exams.
If you have an aggressive manager (especially one with a character disturbance or a personality disorder), you already know the damage he or she can inflict on organizations and the people within them.
However, there are ways you can protect yourself, so do it. Today.
Also Popular: When Employees Lose Respect For Their Managers
You used to be one of the company’s most revered managers, but now it seems that you’ve lost the admiration and respect of your team. While it’s doubtful that any of your employees are brazen enough to come out and say, “I don’t respect you,” they show it by their actions. They’re not as excited as they used to be. They don’t go the extra mile anymore – in fact; some aren’t even going the required mile. The number of employees who think they are the boss may begin to grow. The sense of camaraderie you used to have with your team is gone, possibly even leaving you figuring out how to manage someone who doesn’t want to be managed.
So what happened? And how can we learn how to deal with disrespectful employees and gain their respect again? When an employee is not respecting their manager, it’s time to take a look in the mirror!
If your employees don’t feel that you respect them, they’re not likely to reciprocate and extend respect. Do you no longer ask for their opinions or consult them before you make decisions? If your team thinks that you no longer value their input or care how your decisions affect them, it will be hard – if not impossible – for them to think that you have their best interests at heart. And once they cease to view you as a caring manager, they will stop respecting you. An employee not respecting their manager is likely to be less productive and engaged. If this situation continues, you may soon find yourself wondering how to deal with employees with bad attitudes or deal with employees who don’t follow instructions.
As a manager, you may have established close relationships with other managers, and, naturally, you may share experiences and challenges with them. However, never badmouth your team to other managers – or anyone. This is a bad idea for several reasons. You never know if your words may be repeated, and your team may find out what you said. And, as many studies have shown, people have a knack for embellishing stories when they repeat it.
For example, you may have said, “Sometimes, I wish I had one or two younger people on my team to contribute fresh, new ideas.” Still, by the time the statement gets back to your employees, you’re quoted as saying, “I’m stuck with a bunch of old, slow people who need to retire because they’re dragging the company down.” And although this is quite a stretch from what you actually said, imagine trying to explain the difference to your team! While your actual comment may be the lesser of two evils, it still makes you sound like you’re unhappy with the team that you have. And even worse, your team may wonder what other kinds of derogatory comments you’ve been making about them.
If this situation gets out of hand, it can quickly create a toxic work environment. Even if it doesn’t create insolent or rebellious employees, it will almost certainly result in employees not respecting their manager.
If your employees are working hard, then you should also be. And if their workloads increase, you certainly should not be seen routinely twiddling your thumbs, taking extended lunch breaks, standing around joking with other managers, surfing the internet, or doing anything else that could leave the impression that you have lots of free time on your hands. And once they have that idea, it’s a concise path to an employee not respecting their manager.
These actions create the impression – true or not – that you don’t care how hard your employers are working because the company is paying them to provide a service, so they’re just doing their jobs. And while that’s true, the manager should lead by example. If you truly don’t have anything else to do, sit quietly at your desk and try to figure out ways that your team can work more efficiently or make an effort to communicate with team members to make sure they have the support and resources they need.
When someone on your team has a good idea, whether you’re presenting the idea to fellow managers, your team, or the entire company – or whether the idea is in the implementation stage – you need to make it crystal clear that this great idea came from Sally, Bob, or whoever came up with the idea or suggestion. Taking credit for someone else’s idea is stealing, and you’ll quickly lose the respect of your employees
Some managers may not understand that “stealing” an idea doesn’t always take the form of blatantly stating, “Hey, I came up with this idea.” It can be as simple as having a conversation with your boss and saying, “Suppose we do A, B, and C?” as opposed to saying, “Sally thinks that if we do A, B, and C.” By omitting Sally’s name when presenting the idea, it leaves the impression that this was your brainchild, and what's known as a lie of omission.
And not only will stealing your team’s ideas create a lack of respect, but it will also produce another undesirable effect: they will stop telling you their ideas. They may be brimming with concepts, theories, and suggestions that could take the company to the next level, but they won’t open their mouths because they don’t respect you enough to share their thoughts with you.
Respect must be earned, and it must be maintained. When it’s lost, it will take time and a conscious effort on your part to rebuild it. Acknowledge your errors and sincerely commit to being the type of manager worthy of respect, and you can slowly turn the tables back in your favor. While learning how to deal with an employee who doesn’t respect you can be challenging, it is necessary to foster a productive working environment.
Are you promoting a positive and productive work environment for your employees? Being a generous leader doesn't mean you have to give away the farm! Every so often, I’ll encounter a stingy manager, and it gets me thinking all over again about what makes these individuals tick. Don’t they understand that inclusive, generous management leads to trust, high levels of engagement, loyalty, and increased productivity? No? What a shame!
There’s nothing to be gained by being a stingy leader. What do I mean by “stingy?” I’m so glad you asked!
(Please DON’T do these)
1. Low Employee Ratings
Rate everyone low or medium on performance reviews because a high rating means people are “perfect” and have nothing else to learn.
Are indifferent to the career aspirations of their staff. Stingy managers don’t offer stretch assignments that enhance the employee’s resume unless they think of it first or see the assignment as a personal “win.”
3. No compliments for you!
Hold back on compliments and positive feedback. Rather than focus on employee strengths, they focus on employee deficits that need “fixing.”
What’s behind all this? It depends. Some managers fear that being “too nice” will make them look “weak” and encourage employees to take advantage. We all know that “nice” doesn’t equate to generous, but the concepts are often confused. While it's true that a boss does not need to be well-liked to be productive, the best, at a minimum, carry the respect of their teams.
Other managers believe there’s no reason to be generous. Generosity is simply irrelevant. Employees come to work, do the job, and get a paycheck and benefits in return. What else is needed?
And then there are the truly troubled. These managers enjoy deliberately withholding positivity because they’re mean. They might also believe that the only way to build themselves up is to make others look bad, an easy way to stand out that comes at their employees' expense. There aren’t too many of these, thank goodness. If you happen to work for one, don’t expect any support. Stingy managers are notoriously bad at supervising others. Just earn what you can while learning what you can and get the heck out.
How can you learn to be a more generous manager? Self-awareness is a great start! Knowing your personal leadership style and the individuals' motivators/demotivators on your team is an education worth pursuing. Generous managers have the potential to inspire intense loyalty, which, in turn, causes their staff to work “above and beyond” regularly. Tap into this loyalty by learning how to communicate with all the different personalities on your team effectively.
And not to mention -- generous management is a humanitarian, sustainable way to lead. Why wouldn’t a manager want to do whatever they could to help an employee reach their career aspirations? It feels great to do that! And in truth, a high-performing team can only make a leader look good. Finally, keep in mind that today’s progressive manager is more of a coach and mentor than a “boss.” Yes, the buck needs to stop somewhere, and there’s a time to pull rank, but generally, that’s not every minute of the day. In fact, in the modern workplace, rank pulling is for special occasions only.
(And while we’re on the topic, don’t mistake genuine, generous management for the favoritism that permeates authoritarian cultures. Giving out goodies like raises, promotions, flexible schedules, plum assignments, and extra perks to the office favorite (while ignoring the needs of other employees) is not what we mean by “generous management.” There’s nothing generous about misusing company resources toward a selfish end.)
But back to the original question – how can you be more generous in your management? Simply put...practice those behaviors that stingy managers avoid:
(Please DO these)
1. Don’t hold back the praise.
If an employee does something worthy of a thank you (or better), say so. Whether it’s public praise or a quiet email, everyone likes to hear it.
2. Don’t make employees wait to receive tangible rewards.
If you need someone to step up permanently, don’t give them the work without the raise, elevated job title, etc., until they prove they’re “worthy” of it. You asked them to do the work, and that means you think they’re worthy already. Reward them in kind and stop being so stingy. You couldn’t get away with that behavior with an outside consultant. Why do it with someone who’s already on your team?
3. DO be a mentor.
Help your employees get to the next level. There doesn’t always have to be a direct line between the next job and this one for you to offer support, resources, and encouragement. And remember, this attention will pay off in increased retention and loyalty.
If I were to sum all this up in one word, that word would be “advocacy.” Unfortunately, that’s a scary word for some managers who believe their role is to be as neutral as possible. Not so. Neutrality has its place, of course, but advocating for your staff to receive what they need to (1) do their jobs and (2) develop as professionals is definitely within the job description of the generous manager!