Supportive managers are involved in an ongoing balancing act; providing the guidance and care a team needs, but keeping a professional level of distance and discipline. While a misstep in one direction can undermine the other, a smart move can reinforce both. Apply these quick wins with empathy for your team and you’ll be on the right track.
Open a digital dialogue
Just 5% of companies
worldwide believe they have strong digital leaders. You can join their ranks by starting cross-department dialogues via an online messaging platform. The likes of Slack
provide a digital open-door policy where employees can discuss ideas and issues in dedicated groups, whether they’re in the same office or not. If you’re worried about it taking up too much time, schedule ‘office hours’ when you’re available to respond instantly to messaged queries.
Take on a reverse mentor
Reverse mentoring involves senior staff being mentored by younger, junior colleagues in order to better understand their experience at work and the trends that inform their daily lives. Starting a reverse mentoring scheme will show your newest team members that their skills and opinions are valued. They’ll also get a formative insight into the organisational ‘big picture’ you look at on a daily basis.
We can’t expect managers to be experts in everything. If you see a skills gap in your team, give someone the opportunity to fill it by identifying relevant training and creating the time and funds for them to take it. With the mass availability of online learning, it’s never been easier to help your team to upskill. By spotting and supporting those opportunities you fulfil your role as the supporter who cares about their career progression.
Try the ‘rule of threes’
New GE CEO John Flannery is a firm believer
that people can only carry three or four things in their short term memory. As a result, all of his goals and explanations tend to be broken down into three points. Try applying this to your own weekly goals for the team, or in one-to-one sessions. You might find they adapt to new ideas and tough concepts much more quickly and comfortably.
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