Nobody likes a bossy boss. In my experience people who are new to leadership are especially vulnerable to becoming heavy-handed and may become arrogant and disrespectful to their team; a team made up of individuals who were peers at one point. Read on for tips on how to transition into a great leader and a respected boss. Already a boss and made mistakes? It’s not too late to patch things up, just be genuine and dedicated to improving your leadership skills.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Someone’s coming in 15 minutes late every day? Calls in sick a little too often? Don’t sweat it and don’t take it personally. Instead, focus on performance. If performance is poor, then you may want to look at these things and point them out. However, I would try evaluating his workload. Maybe he doesn’t have enough to do. Adding more assignments might help him feel more valued and more pressured to get to work and be on time.
It could be she has too much to do or doesn’t feel her work is appreciated. Feeling overwhelmed by responsibilities could be paralyzing. Or worse, feeling like she is bleeding for the cause with no recognition for her hard work could zap all motivation. Show genuine appreciation for her efforts and make sure she has the resources she needs to continue performing at a high level.
Debate. Don’t Dictate
One of my staff once told me, “You always have to be right.” My response? “Not true, but you haven’t brought any evidence to prove I am wrong.” The lesson for him was, Bring your ‘A’ Game. You should allow your staff to argue their point, and they may win the argument. However, do not allow them to come to the table unprepared. Instead, have a healthy debate where everyone needs to prove their point with facts and evidence. Eventually, the answer will surface. Don’t be offended if it gets heated. Allow the banter for the good of the product. In the end, everyone will feel heard and respected for their contribution and the result will be better than if you had just dictated.
Innovation is one of the exciting parts of working in IT. As a manager, it’s not up to you to innovate, but it is your responsibility to foster an environment where your staff can. Show them your vision. Is it a better user experience? Better performance? Put the demand out there, but give them the time to find a solution. You will be pleasantly surprised when they come back with something awesome. Use your staff as consultants to show you options to meet your vision. They will be challenged and will build their skills and you will be rewarded with work you all can be proud of.
Don’t Abuse Your Power
Remember that you are the boss and as such, your staff will be inclined to do as you say. However, reserve making a sole decision for that rare occasion that a mutual consensus cannot be obtained. If you haven’t exhausted all the possibilities and heard everyone’s ideas, you have no business deciding anything yet. Don’t steamroll your staff. Chances are, you are making a premature decision and you will regret it. If you support your staff, hear their ideas and respect their work, the team will flourish and your only challenge will be to give them the support and tools they need to get their jobs done.
IT project teams are made up of professionals and should be treated as such. Don’t take poor behavior or habits personally, instead use it as an opportunity to help foster personal growth. If you are motivated to help them achieve their potential, then everything you do to raise the performance of your team will be beneficial to each member individually and the bond with your staff will be solid.