Managing people can be rewarding but challenging. It is one of those roles that just happen.You may have started your own business and gradually started hiring or moved up in a business you worked for because you were doing a great job. Now, you have people reporting to you with little training on how to be an effective leader.
One of the biggest drains on a manager’s energy can be explaining the same thing multiple times (often to the same person) and having employees come to them with almost every decision. There are three main reasons employees go to their manager and ask for help:
- They do not know how to handle the situation
- They believe the manager likes to make all the decisions
- It is a way to get attention or engage directly with the boss
Here are a few tips to help you empower your people and save your energy (and sanity):
- Have productive staff meetings: Regular meetings that include consistent training, examples of success stories (customer service, sales) and positive recognition. Have a set agenda so a complaint session does not ensue. If there are problems, brainstorm on what can be done to solve the issue. Engage employees to be part of the meeting agenda. An example would be a team member that is especially good at making customers happy in spite of a service problem to share how they handle those calls. Another idea would be to have employees read a book or a chapter of a book and share a few takeaways as a way to start the meeting on a positive note.
- Ask“How do you think we should handle it?”: Some managers don’t even realize that they are so good at making decisions it becomes part of the culture to ask them everything. To change this, put the ball back in their court. Often they already have the right answer. That will help them to think through the options and resources they can use to find a solution. Give them latitude to take action even if it might be slightly different from your approach.
- Have 1–on–1 meetings: At least monthly, have a scheduled time to meet with your direct reports. Give them your full attention and review what help they need and give them encouragement and feedback.
Putting some of these processes in place will reduce your frustration and encourage employees to use and develop their problem solving skills.