Some managers just have that “touch of class”, that hard to define, yet easy to recognize “je ne sais qoui”. “It”. When it comes to leading people, good style is a key to increasing trust, collaboration and motivation, yet not as common as one would hope. The good news is that it can be learned easily. A first step could be following these 6 great manners for great managers:
1: Always treat people below you with the same respect you show the people above you.
It may seem obvious but it’s more rare than you may think. If you have an unstable boss who is easily offended, you apologize if you have to change a meeting last minute, yet never show that courtesy to your co-workers and employees. Do you constantly make meetings with your own staff the least important in your calendar, while never changing a meeting with your own boss? Are you greasing upwards and pissing downwards to further your own career? Don’t!
Sir Richard Branson said it excellently: “Respect is how you treat everyone, not just those you want to impress.”
2: Apologize and appreciate when appropriate.
Everybody makes mistakes. And every relationship has room for that, given it is addressed and handled well. An easy and cheap way is to apologize. Did you lose your cool when you shouldn’t have? Say sorry about the way you reacted. You don’t have to apologize for the message if the message was just. But you really should apologize for the way it was handled.
On that same page we also strongly encourage the use of the word "Thank You" when someone helps you. Even if it is their job to do so. Small signs of appreciation makes a world of difference to the person receiving it and will often mean they go the extra mile for you next time.
The tricky part about his, however, is that you have to mean it for it to work. It can't be faked or it will work against you.
3: Respect rights of ownership.
You may not be stealing your team’s physical possessions, but are you stealing their ideas? Their contacts? Their achievements? If someone on your team set up a meeting with an interesting new potential partner do you take over the contact immediately or do you engage that person when this decision is made?
Remember to give credit where credit is due. If someone in your team has a great idea, present it to your superiors as his/her idea. That actually reflects even better on yourself.
4. Play by the same rules as everyone else.
Everyone knows you are in charge. And you normally are compensated for the extra responsibility and slight distance you must have to your team. Don’t abuse this power but play by the same rules as everyone else. Pick up your own coffee cup and place it in the dishwasher, if you expect this from everybody else. If cleaning the coffee machine is a duty that rotates, be on the rotation schedule yourself. If you expect them to be on time, be on time yourself. You get the picture.
5. Never make inappropriate comments or jokes.
Humor and a good laugh are easy ways to bring people together, lighten the mood and increase happiness in the work place. We are completely in favor of that. However jokes can be dangerous and what may be funny in one culture is not necessarily the same in another. As workplaces become more and more international and as minorities get a stronger voice and are less subdued, humor should be handled with care. Sexist, racist, cultural or any discriminating comments and jokes are always bad form in a professional setting. It divides people and since you are the boss they may not tell you if they were offended. You are the one setting the tone and you have the upper hand. Threat this responsibility with caution.
6. Don’t gossip, especially about your own people.
A good rule is to only talk about people who are present. Especially the people who report to you, and especially when someone else from your team is present. There are situations where a manager has to talk about employees without them knowing, but such situations should be rare. Most of what you say behind their back you should say to their face as well. If you think they are not performing, tell them. If you think they are performing well, tell them that as well.
These 6 guidelines can be implemented right away. They are fairly easy and will work as a shortcut to becoming a more motivating manager with better results and may just be the best thing you’ve done for your reputation and ultimately your own career.