If you’re anything like me, when you first entered the workforce you were either hired as an intern or started in an entry-level position. You took orders from others and did the grunt work that more senior coworkers didn’t want to do or could easily delegate. (For me, this meant building ALL THE MEDIA LISTS. Woof.)
But as you progress in your career and take on more responsibility, chances are you may eventually advance into a management role. And as Spiderman says best, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
Like any skill, learning to become an effective manager takes time and practice. While the added responsibility of managing others may seem daunting, there are a few tips that can make all the difference in nurturing your relationship with your direct reports.
Schedule (and keep) one-on-one meetings
According to the Harvard Business Review, employees of managers who don’t have one-on-one meetings are four times as likely to be disengaged.
By setting aside time for you and your direct report – I find that a standing once a month, one hour meeting works well – you are sending a clear message that you are interested in any roadblocks, obstacles or concerns they may have. If you routinely cancel, skip or reschedule this meeting, that sends a clear message too.
Although it may be tempting to dive into talking about the to-do list or discussing specific tasks, try to keep the meetings high-level. Use the designated time to discuss long-term goals, and just as importantly, how you can help them achieve these objectives.
A one-on-one is also a great time to deliver feedback; written feedback is not nearly as effective as face-to-face because there can be room for misunderstanding. (For more information on how to deliver feedback, check out this article on avoiding the sh*t sandwich.)
Focus on growth
Study after study after study has shown that the number one perk people want at work, even more than money, is growth. As a manager, it’s your responsibility to make sure your direct reports are given this opportunity, and one way to do this is by offering training.
After determining what area your report would like to cultivate – whether it’s learning WordPress, taking a public speaking class, or fostering media relations skills – take the time to create a plan. Are there any free or economical resources available where your company could cover the cost? (Pro tip: some platforms like Skillshare and Lynda offer one to three months for free.)
There are also local and national organizations that cater to professional growth. Since I’m in the communications field, I have personally benefited from Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) workshops, lunches and trainings. After all, their entire mission is to “make communications professionals smarter, better prepared and more connected through all stages of their career.” Chances are, there’s something out there for your industry, too.
Continue to hone your skills
While you’re dishing out training and creating goals with your direct reports, don’t forget to do the same for yourself.
Sign up to receive weekly blogs on leadership or management advice and set aside a few minutes a week to actually read them. You’ll notice most of my sources in this article are from Lighthouse – I find their articles to be easy to read and full of actionable information.
When in doubt, think about what managers you’ve had in the past and take note of common characteristics that helped you grow as an individual or as a professional. Similarly, reflect on qualities that were frustrating or may have hindered your progress and make an action plan to ensure you don’t repeat their mistakes.
With these tips you will be on your way to becoming a successful and inspirational supervisor in no time. If you’re a first-time or entry-level manager, what has helped you learn to manage others? Comment below!