Do you think management style doesn’t make a difference? Think again. Research shows a positive management style leads to better team performance. After all, how would you react in the following situation?
A project your team was overseeing didn’t go well. Your manager calls you into the office and…
Scenario #1 – … points everything you did wrong, threatens to fire you if this happens again, and expresses disappointment because your group “is usually so on top of things.”
Scenario #2 – … admits the project didn’t go well, asks if everything is OK, and works with you to identify problems and brainstorm solutions.
Chances are the negative manager in Scenario #1 may scare you into submission. But because you feel bitter and angry, your team is unlikely to put forth a full effort in the future. Whereas the positive manager in Scenario #2 would be more likely to earn your respect. And therefore, your group will naturally try harder next time. So, how can YOU become more like the manager in Scenario #2?
How to Embrace a Positive Management Style to Improve Team Performance
Make It Safe to Fail
If your employees are constantly worried about the consequences of making a misstep, they will focus on avoiding trouble rather than on being productive. Obviously, you need your team members to be competent. However, recognize, no one is perfect and provide safety nets as needed.
Turn Mistakes into Learning Opportunities
Often people learn more from their failures than their successes. Instead of berating your team for their shortcomings, show them how to use their mistakes to become better professionals. This may involve pinpointing areas of concern, expanding their knowledge, and helping them view things from a different angle.
When an employee is struggling, ask, “How can I help?” Of course, you won’t be able to solve every issue. Nevertheless, sometimes a minor change makes a major difference. Plus, your team will know you are looking out for them. This alone builds loyalty and commitment.
Negative managers believe a paycheck is thanks enough, but positive managers know compliments go a long way. “Thank you” is a powerful phrase. And although you DO need to address mistakes, acknowledging successes is even more important.
Avoid Sandwich Feedback
Many managers disguise negative feedback by talking about a positive, bringing up a negative, and then finishing with a positive. Indeed, this seems like a kinder way to break the bad news. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work. Sandwich feedback tends to confuse your employees. (Harvard Business Review, 2013) Ultimately, transparency is a better and a more positive approach. Don’t try to hide constructive feedback by beating around the bush. Tackle problems head-on.
Are You Hoping to Embrace a Positive Management Style with a Top Performing Team?
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