8 Things I Have Learned About Management
Let me start by saying (writing), that I encourage everyone to gain managerial experience. No matter how small or large the organization, company or business – no matter how few or how many people you manage – I encourage you to strive for this experience.
Because it’s a lot of work, and with a lot of work, comes even more lessons.
Here are the main takeaways I have been lucky enough to be on the receiving end of in my career thus far – and I’m sure there will be many more to come. And for that, I am grateful.
1. Get to know them – everyone
Take the time to get to know the people you are managing, and all of the people involved for that matter. Learn what they like and dislike. Learn what motivates and irritates them. Learn how they respond to different subjects. Learn as much as you can. Then, accept that everyone has different perspectives and thoughts, and put yourselves in their shoes.
Once you do this, you can then strategize your way of communication and cater to different employees. How can you deliver a clear message? How can you communicate something in order for it to be received in the best way possible?
Not only does this help with strategy and communication, but you might learn that you care for these people as well, which will make you a more empathetic and human leader.
2. Avoid gossip – but lend a listening ear to those you manage
Stay out of the office gossip. Just do it (#nike). If you hear it and it requires attention, report it or act. If it is coming from an employee you manage and they are emotionally involved – listen, be attentive and be sure that you understand how the employee is feeling and act on it accordingly. Let them know what they are feeling is valid and bring the situation back into perspective using tip #1. If it is coming from an employee you manage and it is simply gossip, brush it off and show them the example to do the same (staying out of it is cool).
3. Learn to find the calm in the situation
We’re all different. We all react differently in situations. We all are emotionally fueled in a variety of ways. We all handle circumstances differently. As a manager, it is important for you to see the big picture and bring a new perspective. Learn to find the calm in all situations. Learn that usually no matter how bad it is – it is all going to be OK. Translate this to an employee that is having a panic attack, and you will all be more productive and get the stressful situation handled as quickly as possible.
4. Practice patience
As someone that gets seriously uptight if someone is walking too slowly in front of me, this one can be hard. But again, we all have different perspectives. And so, even if you find something minute and easily fixable – not everyone will. Even if you see no reason to get worked up over something – someone else might. Even if something seems simple and even easy to you – others might not see it that way. Be patient and learn to cope with situations, help others to see the good and teach them new, more efficient ways of doing things.
5. Treat employees as team members – not subordinates
We’re all human. No one is better than anyone else. Don’t act like you are more capable than your employees and don’t act like they are beneath you. You are all on the same team, striving for the same goal. Treat everyone as your equal, but keep a sense of leadership to ensure order, efficiency and progress.
6. Say thank you
I say “thank you” more times in a day than I say “hello” (and I say hello to everyone in the office, another blog post to come). Be appreciative of employees work. Everyone wants to be recognized and feel that what they are doing matters. Everyone is helping you reach your end goal. Say thank you for even the smallest tasks – everyone will be happier.
7. Learn to learn
Learn to learn from every situation. Every annoyance, every encounter, every long meeting. Learn from it. I am by no means an expert on managing people, but I am willing and eager to learn.
8. Do what’s right
Always do the right thing. Period.
If you don’t have the means to get “managerial” experience over employees, find other means to practice your leadership by taking the reins and inspiring others. Helping people feels good. Leading others to something bigger is a rewarding challenge.
It could be in school, it could be volunteering, it could be in business – whatever the situation, managing others will turn you into the leader you want to be, it will teach you about dealing with others and it will teach you more about yourself than you could have ever imagined.
Now, not everyone is a “leader” per say (although I think simply practicing kindness is being a leader but again, that’s another blog post). However in business specifically, not everyone wants to be a CEO. Maybe you try managing or leading, maybe you decide it’s not for you. That’s okay. That doesn’t make you any less relevant in the world of business or anywhere else. But maybe you decide you do like it, and maybe you’ll learn more lessons than the eight listed above – maybe you won’t regret trying it out, maybe you’ll discover the leader within you.