Whether you are new management, or you're eager upskill your management style, here are some tangible ways you can draw inspiration from frontline workers and make better-educated decisions and find ways to manage your team better.
Consistency is key
As a manager, your team looks at how you react in all situations. Being able to tackle challenges with calmness and focus on getting through a crisis without becoming flustered is going to instil trust in your leadership and empower your team to imitate your techniques.
You can practice consistency by using active listening skills in all situations, to help you get a firm understanding of the underlying issues and what action needs to be taken to resolve them. In exceptionally uncertain times, your staff will look to you for clarity. Choosing one plan of action and sticking to it (as far as possible) will make the world of difference.
Remember to draw on your experience to find ways of adapting your approach to different team members, while conveying the same message. This may be a challenge but fostering clear communication with each team member goes a long way in building rapport.
You can't always be a hero
You will likely come across some situations where, try as you may, there is no clear-cut solution to the problem. As frontline workers encounter frustrated and frightened people looking to them for answers, you too will encounter colleagues and clients that are difficult to deal with.
By understanding that some issues cannot be resolved – as the problem doesn't lie with you – is a great way to help your team understand when to back down. Sometimes, the best thing to do is admit that you don't have the answer, but resolve to do everything you can to find it; honesty is reassuring and conveys far better than pride or panic.
Working under pressure
Not all of us have an innate ability to work well under pressure, so as a manager, it's crucial you show your team not only your capability as a manager – but as a leader as well.
When your team is looking to you for support or guidance through a crisis, keeping a level head will encourage them think on their feet. Don' be afraid to call on them for input. A fresh perspective may bear the solution– and by asking them for their contributions, you'll be demonstrating your trust in them. This will also help them build trust in themselves, especially if their idea is what led to the resolution of the problem.
If you find yourself in an exceptionally high-pressure situation, try to step away for a few minutes. Clearing your head and providing yourself room to think will help you assess the circumstance clearly and allow you to make well-considered decisions. Don't let self-care fall by the wayside, either; taking time to recharge yourself mentally, physically or emotionally will allow you to tap into yourself as a resource.
Teaching an existing team how to work together may take some doing, especially if they have a negative approach. People with a strong mentality and a positive disposition are invaluable assets, and allowing one team member to bring down the morale of their colleagues will have a huge knock-on effect, and needs to be addressed as soon as it's realised. A team that works together and actively uplifts one another is more likely to meet and exceed targets, and with a positive work environment overall – a lot more can be achieved.
While frontline workers have implemented physical barriers as a boundary, you should implement emotional and mental boundaries where necessary. For example – a show of empathy is far better placed to help a team member through an issue than sympathy will ever be. Part of being a manager is having the ability to put your foot down when it's called for, and by understanding your own boundaries, it will make this aspect of your role a lot easier.
Factoring in all the aspects we admire and aspire to, there should always be a place for compassion in the workplace. Being approachable builds the relationship between your self and your team members and opens the door to helping them reach their goals. If you think any of your team members are struggling with their mental health or other personal issues, offer them additional support resources and show that you are vested in their journey to wellness. You can also contact a Samaritan here, or at 116 123.
Becoming an exceptional manager involves constant improvement, a drive to succeed and the support of a great team. Make sure you're getting the best from yourself and others.