Congratulations! You have just been hired or promoted to lead a team. As the excitement subsides, your first day approaches and for many new managers, you vow to be different than the previous manager. You vow not to fall prey to bad habits. Not to repeat mistakes from past managers you disliked. You vow your teams will adore you.
Yet in reality, bad habits from our previous managers stay imbedded in our leadership style and can creep in when times get rough or we begin to take our job for granted.
How can you avoid falling into the trap of those bad habits and get rid of them once and for all?
Recently, I taught a 2 day manager training workshop and we addressed this situation with a simple exercise. It was well received and It was something we referred to throughout the workshop. One attendee stated, “I thought I was helping my team but in reality, I was hurting performance. I wasn’t aware I was doing things I hated as an employee.”
It was eye opening for many, so I thought everyone who reads this article could benefit as well.
Think of all the managers, mentors, or leaders you’ve had in your life–not just in business. Maybe it was a sports coach or a teacher, maybe it was a family member or a community leader that you’ve worked for or with in your business life.
I want you to identify those managers who you really liked or who helped you succeed. What did they do (actions) to inspire you and provide proactive coaching?
Write those actions in the left column under Positive Traits. Whether you’re a veteran manager or this is the first time you’re running a team, review those traits or behaviors that had an impact on you in a good way.
Exercise: Go through the list you created and put an asterisk on those traits you currently exemplify. Keep this list and start trying to implement those attributes for your team.
Do the same thing for all of the managers or leaders you didn’t like or who did not help you succeed.
What did they do (actions) to cause your reaction? Write all the things they did in the Left column under Negative Traits.
Consider the list of all the negative traits and unhelpful things previous managers did that bothered you. It’s simple advice: Don’t do them.
Exercise: Take time to look through the list and ask yourself: “Do I ever do any of these?” If so, put an asterisk next to them and begin to remove these actions.
Keep this list hanging somewhere close as a reminder that those things bothered you and you’re not going to do them to your team.
Now perform this same exercise for yourself as best you can. If you asked your team to do this exercise on you, what would they say? Think about the actions you do to inspire or annoy your team and write them down in the column to the left.
Exercise: Take the time to look at your own list and begin to put a plan in place to remove those actions impacting others and build in more positive actions you approved of from your previous managers
The goal of great leaders is to continue to do things to inspire their teams and drive production. Yet for many, they don’t realize they are carrying old habits which bothered them as team members. Becoming aware of these habits will allow you to remove them and keep your team in a positive mind frame.
Remember: Employees don’t leave jobs, they leave bad managers.
If you have any questions or if I can help in any way, please reach out.
Click here for more information on my online manager training workshop:
“Building and Leading a High Performing Team”