If People Could Choose their Own Manager- Would they Choose You?

Posted on February 9, 2012.

In a recent Management Today article, the founder and CEO of training company, Happy, discussed the keys to creating a happy and highly productive workplace. While the whole article is a great read, the one suggestion they make and currently employ at Happy is that they let people choose their own managers. It started me wondering, given a choice, would your team choose you?

If you have any doubt that you would be their first and only choice, you may want to take a look at what you might want to do differently. Ask yourself:

  1. Do you give credit where credit is due? Sounds obvious, but when your boss praises you on a recent success or project completed, do you quickly pipe in with the person or persons who really did the heavy lifting? No doubt you would if the heavy lifters were listening, but what about one-on-one, are you still willing to give them the credit? No one wants to work for someone who grabs credit for their hard work.
  2. Are you quick to make mistakes public? As a manager, you can rationalize that pointing out someone’s mistake is a learning experience, and maybe it can be. But when others are around it becomes public humiliation. Criticizing in front of others, even if you think you’re delivering solid feedback, is never acceptable.  Publicly recognize achievements, provide negative feedback privately. Better yet, employ the Happy Training company rule and “create a no blame environment and celebrate mistakes”.
  3. Are you really listening? Giving lip service to people’s suggestions or ideas is not listening. Working through the pros and cons of those ideas and why you can or can’t implement them is listening. Giving someone a raise after they’ve expressed their desire to get promoted is not listening. Mapping out a plan and timeline to get them that promotion is listening.
  4. Do respect your team? Respect can be demonstrated in many ways, but recognizing that everyone has a life outside of the office is a good way to start. Asking people to work late or weekends because you failed to plan ahead shows a lack of respect. Holding meetings that aren’t productive shows that you don’t respect their time.  And if you really want to demonstrate respect, make it clear that when they’re on vacation, you have zero expectation of a response to anything.

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone could pick their own boss? Job satisfaction and productivity would skyrocket. Not to mention employee retention.  But even if you’re company isn’t quite that progressive, make sure you would always be the one they choose.