This week’s question comes from a person who has been managing an advertising agency for just under a year. He’s wondering about the best management styles to lead his team.
He also wants to know how to lead his team to achieve goals, increase motivation, and keep his team happy.
“I have been working at an advertising agency for about five years now. Seven months ago, I was promoted, and now I manage about thirty different account executives. I have an excellent team, but sometimes I don’t think that everyone is putting in complete effort, rather they are just going through the motions. My challenge as a manager is getting this group to be more productive, focused, and fulfilled. Perhaps, I am not doing the best that I can as a manager to encourage my employees to work their hardest. I want my employees to not look at me as just their manager, but as a leader. Are there any management styles or tips that you have to accomplish this?”
Based on my study of psychology, there are three different ways that people view work:
- Some view it simply as their job, a necessary way to make money. They view their job as something that they have to do. These are the types of employees who simply go through the motions.
- Other employees view work as their career. These employees, do not focus solely on the money aspect of their jobs, but they enjoy what they do. They want to improve and they often try to reach their full potential as they look at their job as an opportunity to advance. For example, it is likely that the person who wrote us this question viewed his job as a career. The effort that he put into his department eventually got him promoted to management.
- Last but not least, we have those employees who view their jobs as their calling. In this case, their job might be analogous to their identity. These are the people who put their hearts and soul into what they do. Their work is a socially useful activity, and might even be considered their number one priority.
In this article, I will present four different ways that you can be an effective leader, some of which include theories and management styles, along with general tips that brilliant managers with happy teams usually follow.
1. Decide How You View Your Employees
In terms of perception and management, there are two very different theories of how managers view their employees: Theory X and Theory Y.
Managers with a Theory X mindset usually think that their workers solely think of their work as a job. They perceive their employees as unintelligent and lazy people who are unhappy with their job. As a result, managers who think this way supervise their employees very closely, threaten unwanted behaviors or bad progress with punishment, and in the process, they tend to be intimidating.
In contrast, often managers that have a Theory Y mindset believe that their employees think of work as their career. In effect, these managers believe their employees are ambitious, self-motivated people who enjoy their work duties and want to do well. These managers have a high level of trust with their employees and believe that they are independent enough so that management does not have to keep their eyes on them 24/7. Often, this creates a healthy atmosphere and more positive relationships between management and employees.
Analyze these results to help figure out if you are more Theory X or Theory Y. While a manager with a Theory X perspective is definitely pushing their workers to achieve their full potential, they might just be pushing too hard and actually decreasing motivation. If you are Theory X minded, it might be a good idea to ease your grasp on your employees just a bit.
2. Determine Your Leadership Style
There are two main leadership styles that managers frequently follow: Task-Based Leadership and Social Leadership.
- Wants to accomplish goals and tasks effectively and in a timely manner
- Less focused on relationships between employees and more focused on how well the work is done
- Creates standards for how the task is implemented and what the end-results should be
- Tends to be more critical
- Work as a group to achieve company goals
- Focuses on each person
- Values relationships among employees
- Allows employees to voice their opinions and ideas
- Teamwork is a top priority
- Sometimes focuses more on interpersonal relationships and conflict mediation than getting the task completed
Consider executing each form of leadership to create a powerful combination. For example, you need to be understanding to each one of your employee’s needs, learning styles, ways they handle pressure, etc., but all while making sure each one of your tasks is done properly and on time. The key is balance.
3. Focus on Strengths First, and then Weaknesses
Everyone has strengths, and everyone has weaknesses. You can either choose to focus on resolving weaknesses, or you can hone in on strengths and maximize their benefits.
The best managers with the most successful teams discover their employees strengths and play to them for two reasons:
- It’s more effective to allow employees to specialize
- When employees feel valued for their skillset and are working on things they are great at, they’ll feel more self confident, and more motivated to keep working hard.
Who doesn’t want to work hard for a manager that recognizes and values their skills?
Take this one step further by providing some funds for online courses or further training that your employees may be interested in.
4. Set Specific, Yet Difficult Goals
When you create goals for your company, you can motivate achievement. In the process, you are allowing your workers to approach high levels of expertise. By creating measurable and accomplishable targets, you are increasing your employees:
Two ways to effectively accomplish your goals:
- Offer some sort of reward, whether it is a simple high-five, taking your employee out to lunch, or even a small promotion once the goal is completed
- Complete a progress report as your team moves forward with the goal that allows your employees to see exactly what they have accomplished
As you can see, there are no step-by-step guidelines to being a manager that is able to motivate and keep their employees happy; however, hopefully this article gave you enough insight to be the best leader of your team that you can be. Take this list and determine what you are doing well at so that you know it is working, along with what you are doing not so well at so that you can improve your skills. Not only will you benefit from implementing these tips, but your team will be more productive, focused, and fulfilled, just like you would like it to be!