🌼How to Be a Manager Everyone Wants to Work for
## Without relying on just being nice
## Management│ Leadership
Sometimes what you really want is the opposite of what you think you want.
My first boss was a jerk. We all felt it. And yet he was _our_ jerk.
People stuck with the company for years because he used his general jerkiness to make our lives pretty simple. His demeanour meant nobody messed with the department. Because nobody wanted to take on the jerk. He was a deterrent. Idiot repellent.
And he was smart enough to stay out of our way and leave us to get on with stuff.
Read also: Things you shouldn’t take for granted
Does this mean we should all be jerks? Maybe. But it’s not the fact he was a jerk that made him a great boss. It was what he did despite that.
After over a decade in leadership since then, I’ve seen a lot of ways different bosses stay popular and keep their staff. Here are the pick of the bunch.
# Have the Stones to Get Things Done
Low courage leaders [undermine themselves and their mission](https://www.gallup.com/workplace/325952/managers-lack-courage.aspx).
But you demonstrate what you value by what you fight for.
Whether pushing back against superiors, giving people the benefit of the doubt when they screw up, or making a tough decision to solve a problem, make sure to stand up when you need to.
And it doesn’t take much. When you’re afraid, act anyway. That’s bravery. Because there is no courage without a little fear.
Soon you’ll see that a lot of what you’re scared of isn’t so scary after all.
> “Courage is not the lack of fear, it is the acting in spite of it.” — [Mark Twain](https://books.google.com.tw/books?id=YXAXBwAAQBAJ&pg=PT95&lpg=PT95&dq=#v=onepage&q&f=false)
# **Value Action**
Leaders set the tone. They outline goals and deliver results. They build trust and develop staff. And they adapt to change.
None of this is possible without action.
I used to work for a dreamer. He was always talking about his big plans for the future. But by never getting anything done, the company developed a culture of inaction. Words became cheap.
> Acta, non verba — deeds not words
Doing the right thing or the wrong thing both move the needle. And you can still learn from doing something wrong.
But you learn nothing from doing nothing.
Don’t worry if you’re messing up. As long as you’re doing something and learning from it, you’re on the way to getting things done.
# Understand the Power Of Service
A lot of leaders think the team exists for them. To make _their_ life easier. To make _their_ dreams come true.
The reality is a leader needs to serve their staff. As it’s through the team that work gets done, it’s a leader’s incentive to supply everything a team could need to be a success.
You’ll build stronger connections. Instil a positive atmosphere. And form tighter teams.
At the heart of service leadership is [encouragement](https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/organizational-and-employee-development/pages/the-art-of-servant-leadership.aspx). It’s you saying ‘I value your success, I think you’re capable of a lot, and I’m going to do everything I can to help you do that’.
Set this standard and watch your team flourish.
# Communicate Clearly. Communicate Often
Don’t forget the power of your words. Your presence carries power.
A lack of both leaves space for your staff’s insecurities and projections to seep in. Nip this in the bud by being available, and choosing your words carefully. Especially when times are tough.
> “Individuals tend to think the worst in difficult situations. Lack of communication can lead employees to assume their jobs are at risk. In addition to low morale and lack of motivation, neglecting to communicate with employees could push them to search for new employers.” — Gregory P. Jacobson, quoted [here](https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/what-does-it-mean-when-management-starts-neglecting-employees)
# Keep an Open Mind
You’ve got to break out of your natural thought loops. Open your ears and learn from others. Because you’re never going to catch up and know everything you don’t know.
Value learning, and inspire others to constantly develop themselves too.
Because learning means development. Development means growth. And growth means being able to rise to future challenges.
An open mind increases the surface area of your luck. Because you’re more open to finding solutions, or you’ve made it easier for [them to find you](https://fisher.osu.edu/blogs/leadreadtoday/blog/leadership-tip-of-the-week-being-open-minded).
# Pay Attention to the Individuals
In it’s “[State of the Global Workplace](https://www.gallup.com/workplace/349484/state-of-the-global-workplace.aspx)” report, Gallup stated around 7 in 10 employees are struggling in their overall lives. In many countries, particularly the [US](https://lifespeak.com/doc/2021-employer-mental-health-report-card/) and [UK](https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/explore-mental-health/mental-health-statistics/mental-health-work-statistics), employees increasingly claim they are struggling with mental health issues.
Companies need to take this seriously. And most are. But it takes time to change the culture of any large organisation. So it takes managers to upgrade individual support, and focus on employee’s needs.
Check in regularly. Assess individual’s workload, and be mindful of burnout. Provide no strings attached access to mental health support for everyone. And be active in encouraging and leading an open discourse around the topic to remove any stigma.
Make well-being a top priority and let your team know they matter.
# Have Standards and You Throw Everything You Have at Getting People There
Make the success of your team your personal mission.
Don’t leave people to ‘figure it out’. Give them examples, coaching, and guidance. Then the space to reflect on and apply it.
[Autonomy](https://medium.com/management-matters/simple-ways-leaders-can-promote-autonomy-in-any-team-6fdd0d9ab85d) only works if it’s based on support. Otherwise it’s just neglect.
Continually develop your people. Establish a feedback culture where growth is part of the fabric. And invest time, effort and money in developing your team’s skills and competencies.
People want challenges, so long as they’re given the support to rise to them.
# Make Consistency The Norm
Keep assessment criteria the same. Develop transparent performance metrics. And don’t focus on something one week and then move to something else the next.
Treat your people equally, regardless of tenure, age, experience, or position.
And keep yourself consistent too. We all have good days and bad days. The trick is to show up and get on with things regardless.
Nobody wants to work for someone who blows hot one minute, then icy cold the next.
Read also: 5 ways to develop an Unshakable Belief in Yourself
Being a boss people enjoy working for doesn’t just mean being friendly.
1. Be brave and **get the important things done**
2. **Value deeds over words** in yourself and others
3. Remember to **serve your team** before you serve yourself
4. **Communicate Clearly. Communicate Often**
5. **Keep an open mind**
6. **Take care of the individuals** as well as the group
7. **Set challenging but achievable standards**, and support everyone to meet them
8. **Be consistent** and transparent
Contributed by Tobias Charles
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