No parent is perfect… I think the same logic applies to leaders but is especially applicable to managers. Front-line and middle managers often act as parents – setting boundaries and expectations, pushing employees past their limits, creating learning opportunities, listening to complaints, resolving conflicts, and creating a fun environment.
When I became a manager I asked myself “what kind of manager do I want to be?” which led me to reflect on manager’s I’ve worked for, and with. When I take the best traits of every manager I’ve ever had — or admired — I get a composite of a pretty stellar role model. A person I’d like to model my own management style after.
What characteristics do managers-I’d-follow-around-the-world have in common?
I am Jill, employee 24925.
#1: Treat me as an individual.
Good managers treat me like Jill, not employee 24925. At a company with 65,000 people it’s easy to take a cookie cutter approach to managing a team – especially a large team. But like my 3 and 5 year daughters, I want rewards, recognition, and discipline (in the workplace we call this constructive criticism) to be specific to me.
#2: Teach me something.
Whether intended or not, the best managers impart wisdom that can be applied to future jobs. Phylis taught me to always present solutions alongside my challenges (ahem, loud complaints). If I didn’t have a solution after my rant she would ask me to come back when I had some ideas on how to solve my problem.
“I have a dream…”