Don’t be the guy everyone scowls at when you’re not looking.
We talk a lot about how to be a good employee and how to best find a job, but what about those of you out there who are in managerial positions? When you have other full-time employees working under you, the rules change a little. In addition to doing your best in your own career, you need to set an example for success (even if you’re still figuring out what success is yourself). You need to strike the balance between being a manger who gets stuff done and being a manager appreciated by employees.
The best thing you can do is to take a vested interest in your employees’ professional progress. You want them to be the best that they can, after all; better, happier employees means more efficient work. Whenever you have time, talk one-on-one with your employees to get a read on their skills, goals, and personality. You’ll probably have to assure them that they’re not in trouble first, but afterward, just ask them if they’re happy with their current workload and what, if anything, they think they’d be capable of moving up to. If there’s something in particular they’re shooting for, offer tools to help them like virtual training programs or mentorships.
Of course, the flip side to productivity is mental health. As important as getting work done properly and on time is, you can never discount your employees’ work-life balance. Keep your rules and policies flexible to accommodate unavoidable life events. Allow for the occasional mental health day, and don’t keep too tight a leash on things like lunch breaks. Not only will fair and flexible policies keep your employees happy and productive, they’ll also guarantee you a spot on the “cool boss” list. Everyone wants to be on the “cool boss” list.