Hey, manager! I don’t care who you are, you can do better. You can be a stronger leader, a more effective manager and a bigger asset to your business and your team. I don’t care how you did last quarter. There is no ceiling. Let me repeat that for those of you still angry about that first sentence. There. Is. No. Ceiling.
You can do better. And, you know what, you must.
Weak leadership is not (always) about being a wimp, a timid person who can’t stand up and make a deal or win in a boardroom. Weakness can also be symptomatic of the overcompensating manager. That egocentric, loud, dictatorial blowhard. That guy you thought of the first time you saw Michael on The Office. And, you know what, if you didn’t recognize that guy, I have some bad news for you. Everyone you work with did.
No matter on which side of that occasion you fall, you can do better. Here’s how …
Keep your team energized and committed. Burnout dooms your projects. If your management style is causing burnout, it’s not because your workers are lazy. It’s because you don’t know how to do your job. Just because you “can” get it done with less doesn’t mean you should. Your team performs at its best when you adequately resource them. Will there be times you can’t? Absolutely, and in those times they will have to suck it up and get to work. But if that is every day, you’re the problem. Not them. Own it. No one appreciates a leader deflecting blame and refusing to take responsibility. Make decisions. And learn to live with them. Sometimes you will be right. Sometimes you will be wrong. If you are too afraid of making a mistake to make the tough call, then someone else should be doing your job.
Understand, this is not permission to be reckless or ignorant. Never jump in a lake without checking the depth and never leap into a project without considering the cost and your team’s ability to meet or exceed the expectation. That said, when the time comes, be the leader you are being paid to be.
Understand your people are not psychic. If communication breaks from the top down, it’s not their job to interpret your directions. It’s your job to fix the problem. Will there be times you are communicating well and your people just don’t understand? Sure, but if those times are fairly frequent, you may need to check your mirror for the cause.
And, finally, remember, your best move will almost always be to encourage and build up. Even if someone royally screwed up and you have to let them know it, don’t forget their value. Don’t lose sight of why you hired them in the first place. And don’t let them forget it either.
Gennady Barsky is a real estate mogul and an entrepreneur from NYC.