A decade into my professional career, I’ve managed and been managed by an array of folks — MBAs, PhDs, doctors, nurses, engineers, and many people in between.
There is no question that different people require different management styles, but throughout all of these experiences, there have been common threads that have led to managers getting the most out of me, or me getting the most out of people that I’ve managed.
The good news: it isn’t rocket science.
Although much has been written and researched about how to manage, what I’ve found is that what we want out of managers is simply what we want out of anyone we spend time with in our lives: honesty, respect, empathy, and kindness.
The bad news: sometimes these things are the easiest to forget.
I remember when I became a manager at a previous job, all of the new managers from across the country were flown in for a three-day management conference/boot camp where we learned about a bunch of sexy management stuff, like toolkits, proprietary methodologies, and the latest personality tests to better “understand” the people we would be managing. Although there were some learnings to be had, these are all secondary (or tertiary…or quaternary) considerations when it comes to managing people.
People have problems, but people themselves are not problems, and thus you can’t “solve” them with a special framework like you would a technical bug or math equation.
I’m still relatively early in my management career with plenty to learn, but here are some valuable habits that I’ve found to be universally applicable no matter the field or person you are dealing with:
1. Don’t interrupt
Although it sounds easy enough, by not letting someone finish — no matter your intention — you may be subtly (or not so subtly) undermining what that person is saying or how they feel. The moment you interrupt someone, you are making a statement that your words are more important than theirs.
For someone that may already not be the most confident in sharing their ideas, being regularly interrupted is a sure-fire way of exacerbating those insecurities and pushing them further into…