It goes without saying that we all have unique strengths and weaknesses. Depending on the position we hold at our company, our strengths are being utilized or neglected. Similarly, there are those who are made to be managers and those who would better serve being managed. Every role is invaluable, but without a manager who knows how to lead and inspire, their staff will become dispassionate and lose motivation. For those in supervisory roles, the following 6 traits have been repeatedly found in managers who foster creativity and unending productivity within their staff.
1. Owning up to mistakes
Many managers fall into the trap of needing to seem infallible. The fear of losing authority or the respect of their staff causes the overprotective behavior of denying or explaining away a failure all too common. They might find themselves concerned that if they admit to one mistake, they may not be seen as qualified to lead. On the contrary, a manager who is open about their faults displays authenticity and acts as the example of trust for his/her staff. Instead of avoiding acknowledging your mistake, the next time you run into an issue display your problem-solving skills as a lesson for everyone else.
2. Embracing that there is always more to learn
The unique perspectives of your staff will be an unending resource of knowledge. You will always be able to improve as a supervisor. Be willing to learn and hone your skills. Your staff brings vibrant experiences and education, and many are just waiting to be realized by upper management. Be humble enough to realize that you do not have all of the answers, and you never will. Remind yourself that innovation comes from the ground up. As Alfred Adler said, “everything can also be different.”
3. Treating staff as more important than any other asset; especially the customer
A common mistake that entire companies make is to place the customers or the shareholders higher than the employees. “The customer is always right” is a perfect example of this fallacy. Following this method of thinking, every employee’s abilities, talents, and personality is restricted. Inspiration is limited and innovation staggers because the fear of failing in such an environment means losing their job. Managers who inspire their staff create an environment where the employee is the most important asset to the company. Their ideas and unique perspectives are what bring vital change. If you want your customers to feel cared for, make your employees feel cared for. A fulfilled employee will emanate authentic passion to help your customers because they feel cared for themselves.
4. Acknowledging and fostering talent
As stated earlier, every employee is a unique, vibrant, and an invaluable source of ideas and knowledge in their skill set. Each individual does their job a little bit differently. Focusing on different aspects of a job and having methods of accomplishment as unique as their personalities, it is a sign of a fantastic supervisor that each strength is honored and the staff’s job be molded to empower those individualized strengths. Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton write in their book Now, Discover Your Strengths, that positions should not be characterized as pass-through roles, thus promoting people out of their talents. Be willing to customize positions to the strengths of each staff. Honor each position and those who function remarkably in those roles.
5. Being a constant reminder of purpose fulfilled
Every company has a purpose. Every successful and high-functioning company knows their purpose and makes decisions fueled by that purpose. Remarkable managers are intimately connected to that purpose and act as a living reminder of why their staff comes to work in the first place. As Viktor Frankl stated often, human beings thrive when their purpose is known. Without purpose, action is meaningless. However, if purpose is known, an individual can endure the most extreme of hardships and thrive. Similarly, staff who are struggling to maintain motivation are best supported by a manager who reminds their staff of the purpose behind their work. This manager would empower and encourage their staff by connecting their employees to a larger purpose than themselves.
6. Using your status for the greater good
Outstanding managers are true leaders. Leaders are those who forge the path for those who follow. They use their tools to create an environment that is safe and nurturing for those in their care. Managers who truly lead know that their authority and position call for them to protect rather than control. Like a shepherd, an invaluable manager fosters an environment of freedom and empowerment that allows the staff to work out of their strengths and personalities. If there are rules in place that diminish the productivity and talents of their staff, it is up to the manager to change those rules. What the manager creates will set forth a self-fulfilling prophecy, for the good of the company or to the detriment of growth and productivity. It is their responsibility to use their status to foster a healthy work environment.
If you wish to learn more about how to lead with effectiveness and through inspiration, please follow the links below to some fantastic sources of insight.