The great managers lead with their own energy, by being present and always “on”. The good managers can create a positive and productive mood in the office, most of the time. The terrible managers do more damage to the atmosphere than a stockpile of CFCs.
Yes, as managers your mood is vital. From the moment you walk through the door it sets the tone. It establishes the pace of productivity and determines if your staff would rather be in the office, or sitting on the bus heading back home.
The trick is start each day fresh – no matter what happened the day before. It’s to be optimistic, positive and ready to calmly hose down the spot fires that flare up. Sound impossible? The following ten tips will help
Greetings matter. You don’t need to be friends with your team, but offering a personalised greeting to each individual immediately sets the agenda first thing in the morning. Address staff members by name, and pose a small talk question about their evening, weekend or even their commute into the office. Breaking the silence first thing will establish the pace of communication for the day ahead. The small talk may also get team members who would otherwise never talk amongst themselves (or don’t even like each other) communicating.
If the mood’s gone sour, sweeten it. Tackle conflict quickly and dismiss sly remarks immediately. If somebody appears stressed, annoyed or overworked, take them aside and ask them about it. And if something personal seems to be getting them down, ask them: ‘Are you ok?’
Communicate. There are things going on in your team you don’t know about (some you don’t want to know about) but things you should know about for the sake of performance, productivity and keeping the team healthy and happy. Often, employees simply want to know that you know what’s going on.
Delegate with consistency. The best way to communicate is to clear up your tasks to make time for it – even when your own “to do list” is the length of a toilet roll. But don’t surprise your team with a conga line of last-minute tasks just because you’ve forgotten to hand them over. Find a time, each day, when you can get through your most important to do item: delegation. Call it your “delegation power hour”, internally of course – don’t let anyone else hear you calling it that.
Be there. If a team member’s talking to you, be there. Listen. Look them in the eye. They need to know you’re hearing what they have to say.
Fake your energy. You won’t always have it, but pretend like you do. Energy is infectious. It’ll rub off on in the room, and perhaps even on yourself
Recharge your batteries. Take time out each day to get your thoughts in order, mentally plan and to relax. Take a walk, a five minute breather in the sunshine or purchase that coffee to “have here” rather than “take away”. This doesn’t need to be lunch, it could be a mid-morning or afternoon break. Remember, this is not wasting time, the break is to help you make the most of your time when you’re back with your team.
Eat lunch. Nobody’s so important that they don’t have time for lunch. If necessary, bring it from home. Eat it at the same time every day and staff will learn to appreciate your “lunch hour”. Keep it fresh, light and healthy — no heavy pastas or curries that leave you feeling lethargic in the afternoon.
Tell your staff to eat lunch. Encourage them to get away from their desk, they’ll appreciate you noticing how hard they’re working, and feel much better for it too.
Look after yourself. Check in with your own mental wellbeing. How are you feeling? Do you need to talk to somebody about it? Find a friend or manager in the office who can listen and respond to your own needs, or seek out your workplace counselling services. Remember help is also available at Lifeline and Beyond Blue.
Agree? Disagree? Wish to berate me? Perhaps you have some ideas of your own. Share them below.
This article was first published on LeadingCompany’s sister site, Women’s Agenda.