10 ways to manage and lead your team intentionally
This post was originally published on LinkedIn.
I went to X4 earlier this month, and besides leaving knowing exactly why SAP bought Qualtrics for $8 billion (way to go, Smith brothers), I got to listen to AMAZING thought leaders: Sir Richard Branson, President Barack Obama, Oprah. OPRAH.
Seriously, I felt like I’d been to a spiritual mentor for days after listening to Oprah for 30 minutes. My team member turned to me as soon as she left the stage and said, “Everyone needs more Oprah.” Amen, Freddy. Amen.
Her words were similar to her message in one of her recent MasterClass podcasts (I know because I began Oprah-bingeing as soon as I got home from the conference). Both mentioned Intentions – making sure everything you do has intention behind it.
She essentially said that we each need to be our best selves in order to serve others in the best way possible. Except it sounded cooler when she said it. Because Oprah.
So, to channel my inner Oprah, here’s my intent for this article: to save the world from terrible managers by helping us all be a little better.
Here’s the thing: I love what I do. I got to my role at Skipio in an extremely circuitous way, but I love working Client Success (CS), creating Customer Experience (CX), and managing my team.
I’ve gotten heat in the past about taking too much, not knowing my own limits, and pushing too hard to get things done. But the things I’ve done right – and that no one seems to give me crap for – have to do with me looking out for my team, for knowing each of them individually.
Even this week I was explaining something about one of my daughters to a friend and she said, “You know your kids so well. Will you just come over to my house and watch mine for a while and tell me what I should do?” I laughed it off.
Now, let’s be clear. I have my I-suck-as-a-mother moments like everyone else. I also have my I-stink-as-a-boss moments… every day even. But I INTEND to be good at it. I pour my heart into it. So, even when I fall short, there’s energy there. I have big intentions every day.
So, here I go. My top 10 ways to be a good manager.
Get to know your team.
The second you begin your new role, hold 1:1s with your ENTIRE team. In short, give a damn. This is about them, not you.
In your 1:1s, ask what you can do for them.
That’s YOUR job as their manager – to grease the skids, throw the elbows, get them the money, the help, whatever. That’s your whole job. Do it.
Remember their partners’ names or something they love.
Then, when they have to work from home because that person’s sick, you can honestly tell them, “Tell Mira I hope she feels better!” Or, you can ask them if they’re going to go on a hike this weekend. It shows them that you care about them as humans. And that you’re human yourself.
Find out what motivates them.
Then use that to make their lives happier. If they are motivated by accolades, tell them they’re amazing when they are. If they prefer being useful, give them that opportunity. If they like fun nights out, thank them with a gift card to a great restaurant. Determine their drivers, then fuel that.
Find out what they’re good at.
Everyone does better when they can see success. And they may not even see it themselves. Give them that. Help them see their own strengths.
Ask them what they want in a manager.
This will not only tell you a lot about them, but it will open you up for improvement. They can teach you something if you listen.
Remember the small things.
If they’re going on a vacation, text them the day before and tell them to have a good time. If they’re sick, text them to ask how they’re doing. If they’re taking a test, ask how it went. Again, show your humanity.
Let them vent.
This is one of the hardest things for me because I’m a fixer. I worked out a system with one of my employees that she would say, “This is a friend conversation, not a work conversation.” And then I could turn on friend mode and turn off the “Oh, I’m the boss. I better fix this” mode and just listen. Sometimes that’s all a person needs.