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Be a mentor, not just a boss: 4 easy steps

by on
in Career Management,Workplace Communication

One important way to judge your success as a manager is by the success of your employees.

The best managers aren’t just the ones who can extract the most productivity from their people, but the ones who produce great future managers.

How can you be sure that your best people will someday be top-notch leaders themselves? Start with the following basic yet effective tips for developing managerial skills among your employees.

1. Motivate by example

The easiest way to show your people how to be a good manager is not by shipping them off to a seminar; it’s by being a good manager yourself.

That starts with your attitude. Stay positive about your company and your team’s role in its success. Provide encouragement and inspire your people to do their best work.

If you are charismatic and motivating, your team will produce more for you in the short term and will emulate your techniques once they are put in a position of greater authority.

Also, give your people the same amount of respect you give your boss. Managers who place themselves on a pedestal above their teams and demand respect will likely experience the opposite effect.

Remain humble and give credit to your team when it’s due. If you treat your employees like your teammates, they are more apt to come together as a team.

2. Emphasize communication

These days, quicker, more convenient forms of communication, like e-mail, have taken the place of quality face time. However, if you really want to know how your employees feel about you, the company and their jobs, take the time to sit with them and have actual conversations.

Facial expressions, tone of voice and body language (things you can’t see in an e-mail) will tell you just as much about an employee’s state of mind as his or her words (perhaps even more). Learning what each employee wants to get out of his or her job will help you determine who has the makings of a good manager and who still may need some guidance.

Another surefire way to help employees advance their careers is by telling them exactly what they need to do to get ahead. Be clear about their responsibilities and explain how these responsibilities will contribute to the overall company success. Also, keep employees in the loop about what you think of their performance—good or bad.

3. Plan their development

An effective career development plan is essential to help your people hone their skills and advance their careers. This can involve a departmental mentoring/training program, but keep in mind that one-on-one coaching, if feasible, is the most effective.

A strong career development plan not only makes it easier to promote from within your organization but also helps you retain your top people. Follow up with employees and ask for their feedback on the development plan and mentoring.

4. Final step: promotion

Once you have provided your people with the training and tools they need to succeed, step aside and let them go to work.

Don’t be afraid to see your employees succeed; remember you are all on the same team. Plus, their success reflects positively on you, and their advancement marks another opportunity for you to mentor the next group of future leaders.

If you are secure that you have prepared your employees to take the next step, why wait? Start by giving them additional responsibilities or asking for their input on important matters. Invite them to join special-project teams or planning sessions, or find reasons for them to make presentations at higher-level staff meetings to senior executives.

If you give your employees more accountability and they respond favorably, continue to encourage them to take risks and stretch beyond their current capabilities.

Remember, good employees don’t need to be told all the details about how to do something—they are capable of doing the jobs themselves. Simply lay the groundwork, set the deadlines and express the desired results.

If you show confidence in them, they’ll develop confidence in themselves and their decisions—an important trait of a good manager.

Source: Adecco Intl’ report

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