What Kind Of Role Model Are You?

You Cannot Expect Your Employees To Do Things That You Are Not Doing Yourself.

By Steve Schumacher

Over the years, one of the consistent things that I have found with managers and leaders is that they cannot be objective about their own behavior. I do not think, as humans, any of us truly can. That is where getting objective, non-judgmental feedback about your behavior as a manager is crucial.

One of the outcomes of getting that feedback is being able to get a clear picture of how your behavior is perceived by others. Most employees will not be honest with you about what you are doing, for fear of getting in trouble with you.

Like it or not, that is just a fact of life when it comes to managing other people. You must find someone who is willing and able to give you good feedback without fear of the consequences.

When it comes to being a role model for your employees, it is imperative that you get good feedback to keep from creating a double standard in the eyes of your employees. Your employees watch every move you make and probably know your behavior better than you do.

They watch when you come to work and when you leave, how you manage conflict, how well you run meetings, how you live up to the company values, etc. You may have your own sense of how you do those things, but that may not match how others see you.

I talked about this with a manager several years ago who became upset at the fact that others were watching him constantly. He felt like that was not fair, that he was a human being like everyone else. I told him that, as a manager, he was on stage. If he was not willing to accept that, he should get off the stage.

Find someone that you trust and respect their opinion. Ask them for some specific feedback on some of the things you do as a manager on a regular basis.

Typically, that person is a peer of yours that has your success and improvement as their only agenda. That person should have good powers of observation and be willing to be straight with you, no matter what the issue may be. Some of the areas you will want feedback are:

Communication Skills
Do you truly listen to people or just wait for your turn to talk? Do you  interrupt people and have all the  answers? Do you show true empathy for others when they need it? Is your body language in sync with your words?

Get some feedback on your presentation and speaking skills. Communicating with others is probably what you, and your employees, do most during the day so it is vital to understand well how you come across.

Meeting Skills
Do you put an agenda together and send it out in advance? Do you start and end on time? How do you handle interruptions and distractions? Do you always have action items at the meeting and follow-up on them regularly?

So much of your time is probably spent in meetings and you want your employees to participate and run their meetings well. Make sure you are setting a good example for them

Living the Company Values
Do you practice what the company preaches or do you act like the values are just fluff? Do you go over them with your people regularly? Do you give your employees feedback on how their behavior matches the values?

If your behavior does not match the company values that are posted around the building, they may as well be just wallpaper. You cannot expect your employees to live the values if you are not doing it first.

Dealing With Conflict
Do you remain calm in tough situations? Do you get defensive and let your emotions get the best of you? Do you run away from conflict?

Conflict is a normal part of business and how you handle it will set the stage for how your employees will handle it. If you want to minimize conflict in your dealings with others, and have your employees do the same, learn the skills necessary to manager your own behavior first.

Giving Praise
Do you give more negative feedback than positive? Do you wait until a huge achievement occurs to give a pat  on the back? Are you as specific with your praise as you are with your criticism?

A healthy work environment includes positive feedback happening at all levels, boss to employee and co-workers to co-workers. It will not happen if you don’t take a close look at how you are letting others know that you like what they are doing.

These are just a few of the key areas that you need to make sure you are modeling well as a manager. Everyone is watching you and taking cues from your behavior. If you want your employees to do things the right way, you need to understand that you are the leader of that parade. 

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