You’re a manager now, and you’re either an effective manager, a struggling manager, or a new manager with no track record behind you. As a leader, your chosen moves are either working or they aren’t. But how are you succeeding as a person? Are you getting the things you need to make you whole? Do you feel in control of your actions and decisions? Do you feel fulfilled by your work? At any given moment, do you feel healthy, well-rested, and fully present, or do you feel like you’re barely holding on? Here are a few ways to improve your success as a leader by planting your feet on stable ground and taking care of yourself first.
What do you need?
If you’re having trouble understanding what your employees need or why they’re upset, stop and ask yourself a few questions before you proceed: Are YOU upset? Are you distracted by something? Have you eaten recently? Are you bringing issues into the conversation that should be part of another conversation altogether? Get whatever you need before you move forward—anything from missing information to a reduction of the noise in the room.
Separate life from work.
At the end of the day, your job is just a job. When you leave the office and return to the things that really matter, try to put the day behind you. Try not to contact your employees after hours, and don’t allow them to reach out to you unless they’re facing a real emergency. Respect the separation between your work and home life, and give your employees the same consideration.
Keep the bar high.
If you expect your employees to come in on time, make sure you come in early. If you expect them to work a full day, stay late. If you expect a certain level of diligence and commitment from them, set the bar a notch higher for yourself. Make sure they see you working just a bit harder than they do, and strive to set an example.
Seek to understand first.
You may become frustrated if your employees don’t understand you or don’t behave according to your expectations. But before you push them, turn the focus on yourself. Seek to listen and understand before you insist on being understood. Protect your employees from upper management, from difficult clients, and most important of all, from your own imperfect assumptions and intentions. Earn their trust before you expect them to hand it over.