3 Things I've Learned as a Manager

I spent some time in management, and I thoroughly enjoyed tackling the challenges it presented.

Here are three things that stick out to me.

1. Delegation is essential.

You can't do everything yourself. As much as you'd like to do it yourself, your way, to ensure that it's done properly - you can't. The mentality that you have to do everything yourself is a dangerous one for several reasons.

  1. It displays a lack of trust in your team.
  2. You're holding yourself back from the opportunity to expand your skillset.
  3. It's impossible! Stress levels will rise and we all know that stress is a killer.

Let's visit #1 for a second. Everyone leads by example, whether they're aware of it or not. When you decide to not delegate and fly solo, you're basically separating yourself from everyone else. You're sending subliminal messages that you're going to do the work because you want to. You're excluding yourself from others, and you're excluding others from yourself.  That's not a good trait for maintaining good employee morale and a teamwork culture. When we choose to delegate, we're saying "I trust you to do this, now fly my babies, fly!" You're including others in your plans. This meshes into point #2.

Point #2 is that when you don't delegate, you're hindering your own ability to learn and grow. You may even serve as a roadblock to other people's potential to learn and grow! If we can't learn to communicate what we want to see, if we don't learn to follow up, if we choose to turn a blind eye, we are neglecting our responsibility to ensure our ship sails smoothly. After all, as managers, we are the ones assigned to that task. When we delegate, we also open up the doors to praise and coach other people. We're able to see how the delegated task was done and praise and/or coach our team.

When you don't delegate, you're scooping too many tasks onto your plate. Don't stress yourself out! You have a team for a reason, we all share the workload. Prioritize your tasks. What tasks can managers do that associates can't? Do those. When those are done, do the other tasks.

2. Planning and communication makes life 1000x easier.

As management, we're able to foresee the future (to some extent.) We know about upcoming deadlines, new things coming around the corner and the like. Prepare in advance! It makes everything so much easier.

Communicate to your staff what's about to happen to your staff. Make sure you're all on the same page. Learn together and grow together. Have conversations.

Follow up. Perform check-ins. This is especially helpful during crunch time when time-sensitive deadlines are approaching. It forms a support system and keeps your staff accountable.

3. Equip your staff to be awesome.

I enjoy a lot of Cy Wakeman's ideas. See the one below.

A capable leader is one who equips their staff to be independent. 

Recently my store manager gave her management team a task: fill out a business overview. It had a ton of numbers, metrics, and other things of the sort. She told them that they couldn't pick each other's brains, they had to do it themselves. She wanted them to reach out to other people in the company, to find the resources beyond the ones we immediately think of.

Leaders equip.

Lydia Weibel