How to Become a Manager Employees Want to Follow

Anyone can become a boss – all that takes is hiring someone. Becoming a manager that your employees respect and willingly follow is a bit more difficult. If you want to be a leader and not just a boss, you can learn how to do it. For some people, these things come naturally, but for most of us, you have to consciously set out to become a great manager. Here’s how.

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  1. A few variations:

    – Set the example. That’s the best way for managers to express professional standards. In the end, it’s all about ethically and legally achieving or exceeding required results on time.
    – Teach one’s subordinates. Give feedback. Tolerate failure to do a specific task; but only once, then retrain. Consider that an employee’s failure may be due to poor or incomplete training by the manager.
    – Give subordinates every chance to succeed. Create opportunities for them to succeed. Expect success. Take quick action if a task threatens to go in the wrong direction.
    – Pull instead of push. After many years of pushing I found myself close to burn-out. I learned that pulling in the right direction accompanied by my staff was significantly more effective.
    – Give challenging assignments accompanied by the promise, “I will not let you fail.” Those words make all the difference between a scared employee and one willing to take risks.
    – Safety. A consistent message to all levels of my staff is, “Follow safety rules and training. I want everybody to go home to their families at the end of the workday, not for their families to find them in the hospital.”
    – Many years ago my father, himself an experienced senior manager, advised me to be firm but fair. Good standards and expectations are few but are clear and inviolate.
    – Give your employees the opportunity to bask in the limelight. Be generous when giving credit. Let them stand in front of the executives and tell their stories of success.
    – Giving raises, promotions, and other benefits to employees is one of the pleasant experiences of being a manager. Leaders sometimes have to do the dirty work, too, and our subordinates expect that.
    – Take obvious pride in the success of your best people.
    – Fix problems, not blame. If employees make mistakes, expect them to participate in the solution. This gives erring employees the chance to redeem themselves.
    – Listening skills, humility, and wisdom are necessary characteristics for leaders to cultivate and pass on to their subordinates.

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