It’s easy to rattle off characteristics of a bad manager, but pinpointing the attributes of an effective, respected supervisor is a bit tricky.
In fact, the first time you have direct reports, you will likely ask yourself this question: How can I tell if my employees like me?
It can be hard to tell, because whether or not your employees are big fans of yours, they will probably pretend to like you (or be civil, at the very least).
One way you might know that your employees like you is if they come to you for advice. I mean, when was the last time you sought counsel from someone you didn’t respect? Probably never.
But how can you cultivate that kind of relationship with your employees? Here are a few tips:
Show interest in your employees’ work lives.
If one of your employees comes to you seeking advice about a work project, career questions, or more, take that as a sign that they value your opinion. Asking your boss for advice isn’t always easy, so make sure you don’t squander the opportunity to help. Remember to follow up with your employee later to see how the project or opportunity worked out.
Show interest in your employees’ lives outside of work.
If you’re all business, all the time, with your employees, it can be hard for them to relax around you and connect on a human level. A Gallup poll found that employees whose managers communicate with them — not just about their jobs about also about their personal lives — are more likely to be engaged in their work.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should get too personal (stay away from questions about love lives and the like), but learning more about your employees’ interests and ambitions shows them you care and helps strengthen your relationship.
Don’t watch the clock.
Unless your employees work on a shift-based schedule, don’t be that boss with an eye trained on the clock. Not only is it bad for morale, but it’s also a pretty old-fashioned way of looking at the work day.
Being in the office for an arbitrary number of hours doesn’t mean that employees are doing their jobs any better. Rather, when you show some flexibility with employees’ schedules, you’re showing them you value their work and trust them to do their jobs.
Be willing to change course.
Good managers know they’re not the only ones with good ideas. When you’re open to trying new things and making changes when your strategy isn’t working, it shows employees that you are progressive and open minded. When you create an environment where it’s okay to share ideas and make mistakes, your employees feel more free to be creative and innovative.
Engage your employees.
A study by Harvard Business Review and Tony Schwartz found that people performed best when these four needs were being met: renewal (physical), value (emotional), focus (mental), and purpose (spiritual). When even one of these needs is being met, employees reported higher engagement, ability to focus, and likelihood to stay at the company.
And engagement isn’t just about making your employees feel good about themselves and happy at work — it also affects your bottom line. The study found that employers with the most engaged staff were 22 percent more profitable than those with the least engaged staff.
Be polite and treat people with respect.
“Work hard and be nice to people,” the famous words of graphic artist, printmaker, and designer Anthony Burrill, is more than just a quaint saying. As a manager, it should be your mantra.
Don’t be the boss who screams at employees. It doesn’t show passion for your work, just anger. Instead, build a relationship with your employees based on mutual respect. When you treat people like you like them and value their work, you create an environment where employees — and the company — thrives.