You’ve finally worked your way up to becoming a manager, and now, the anxiety hits: how do you make sure you’re a good leader? How do you keep the balance of having your employees both like you and respect you? Here are four tips for being a great manager.
1. Be Empathetic
The worst managers see their employees as workers and nothing else. Every single person involved with your company is just that – a person! Being empathetic towards them through even mistakes and tough times will make you a better manager. Make sure your actions show every single employee that you see them as their own person and you’re aware they have lives and obligations outside of work. Support them through problems that come up and be as caring and conscientious as you can. Don’t push your employees to do anything that you wouldn’t want to do if you were in their position, either – for instance, if they’re running around the sales floor for eight-hour shifts, ensure they get moments to sit or switch up the job that they’re doing to something less strenuous.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you should be so lenient that you start letting employees take advantage of you. You should be able to tell the difference between minor slip-ups and conscious mistakes – when it comes to the latter, show kindness and share how they can do better moving forward.
2. Focus on Strengths
Every employee has their own individual strengths – cater to those and help your employees sharpen them! If they sell a ton of product in the fitting room, assign them to work in that area as much as you can. If they’re best at greeting on the floor, keep them out there! Obviously, you should let them get a well-rounded experience and offer various tasks, but playing to their strengths is important. Not only will your employees clock out feeling confident, but your place of work will be doing much better, too!
Don’t forget to encourage them to keep shooting for more in these areas, or compliment and reward them when they’ve achieved a milestone. Make sure they’re aware of their strengths as much as you are – once again, it’ll boost their confidence as both an employee and a person, and a great manager always seeks to do that!
3. Lead by Example
What this means is, even as a manager, you should also be out on the floor, you should be treating guests with kindness, you should be doing even menial tasks like cleaning and taking out the trash, and, most importantly, you should be following your own rules.
Employees will have much more respect for you if they see that you’re even doing the smaller tasks that are delegated to them and may seem beneath you as a manager. Show up to work acting like you’re also an employee who’s doing your best to try and impress your manager – they’ll be guaranteed to do the same, as well as appreciate that you understand what it’s like to be in their shoes.
4. Assist with Personal Goals
Take the time to touch base with your employees about their individual goals. You can start big: what’s your dream job? Do you want to work your way up in the company? From there, you can take into consideration what sorts of things might interest them. If you’re working in a retail environment and one of your employees says they dream of being a celebrity stylist, for instance, encourage them to help outfit people in the fitting room and style outfits for social media promotion or mannequins.
You can also get specific in this area, asking employees if there are any things around the company that they’d like to do but haven’t gotten a chance to, or if there are any skills they’d like to learn or particular goals they want to work towards. Whatever you can do to give them a chance to increase their skill, do it, even if they’re inexperienced and it may be a detriment to that workday – they need to learn somewhere, after all, and they’ll always remember the great manager who helped teach them.
The key point to take away is that you should make a point to care about each and every employee that you work with as a manager. Be kind and considerate towards them, help them grow in any direction they’d like to, get to know them as well as you can, and be as friendly to them as possible without leaning too much outside of the realm of professional relationships. Even the tiniest things that managers can do can make a huge difference!
Need some extra advice on being a great manager? Reach out to Style Nine to Five founder, Christie Lohr, to Ask 1 Career Question!
Emily Morrison is a media professional with passions for writing, film and popular culture.
Feature Image: Adobe Stock