In the workplace, we all have certain expectations and assumptions about how things work. Managers may assume that they know best for their employees; employees may assume that managers are out to take advantage of them in some way. It’s easy to fall into these traps and stop listening to what your coworkers want from you, but there is a better way: good communication. It takes active effort on both sides, but it can make every day more enjoyable and lead to better results in the long run.
Get to know your employees
You have a lot of people working for you, and that means you have a lot of people to get to know. Make the effort to really listen when they talk about what’s going on in their lives. Maybe one of them just got a new puppy and has been excitedly showing everyone pictures all week! Perhaps another is traveling internationally on business this month or needs to take care of an elderly parent at home. Take the time to learn these things because it will help you work together more effectively.
Learn what they want from you
Your employees have a lot of different wants and needs. Some of them just want to be treated fairly, while others need guidance or real-time feedback about their work. Think deeply about what your staff is looking for from you that will help them succeed at their job and give it to them. If they want more clarification on new procedures, offer an explanation during the next meeting. If they respond better to encouragement than criticism, text a quick “way to go” after a big project is finished instead of making a point out of a tiny mistake.
Ask for feedback about how you can improve as a manager
Asking your employees for feedback is a great way to get inside their heads and find out how you can be a better boss. Maybe they’re annoyed that you never let them voice their opinions at meetings, or maybe they’re sick of getting interrupted when talking with other people in the office. You can actually learn a lot just by paying attention to body language and the responses you get during casual conversations.
Be open to the idea that there are better ways of doing things than just the way you’re used to doing them
You’ve probably been managing people for a long time, but that doesn’t mean you’re the best at it. Better ways of doing things are always coming up, and if your employees have found something that works better for them, why not let them give it a try? After all, there’s no use giving orders if nobody is going to listen!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it
As a manager, you’re expected to know everything about your company and how it operates. That can be a lot of work! Even if you don’t feel like this is something that’s holding back your success, it never hurts to ask around for some help when you need it. Sometimes there are things outside of the job description that makes getting things done easier, and having an extra person who knows what they’re doing is always helpful in tough situations.