How do great business leaders do it? How do they get people to be responsible for their tasks and be seemingly immune to insubordination? Do they just have this enchanting aura that makes people follow them or admire them?
Oftentimes the reality for office heads is stressful inner politics, discontent among employees and constant looking over one’s shoulder.
The truth, however, is that the age-old mentality of wanting people to get in line or know their place isn’t always productive. Being a disciplinarian has its place but positive psychological tricks can make you the master of your office in incredible ways. Here are seven of them.
1. Treat positions as ‘roles’ instead of levels in a hierarchy.
For all intents and purposes, sure you need a hierarchy of responsibility in your business and a practical chain of command. But in day-to-day work, see and treat everyone as having roles instead of simply everything being “Manager-Employee.”
Having this perspective and sharing it with everyone increases approachability in all fronts. It is the mental equalizer that can help you humble yourself when discussing employees about their work while giving employees more confidence about it in turn.
2. Understand their strengths as well as you do.
Take the time to learn about the biggest value each employee gives to your business. What goals have they helped you achieve? Why did you hire them in the place?
This is actually one trick that leads to many. Naturally, your employees know their own best qualities fairly well. By understanding them as well as they do, you know which tasks they are more willing to perform, leading them to be better at it compared to tasks they are not suitable for.
3. Always remember you were once an employee.
Putting yourselves in your employee’s shoes goes beyond understanding their skills and their value. You also have to keep in mind their needs and understand what life is like currently for them.
After all, you were once in the same position. This time, however, you are now in the position to give to them what they are asking. What can you do to make their office life both productive but at the same time fulfilling?
4. Being results-oriented is the better rule-of-thumb.
While it might be tempting to follow the honorable adage of “The ends don’t justify the means,” it’s not going to serve well if it leads you to become a micromanager.
According to Psychology Today, this type of ‘bossiness’ is the enemy of productivity. People don’t work well when someone is constantly watching over their shoulder primed to correct them for every little thing they do.
Focus on results and goals instead and trust your people to find their own effective way of achieving them.
5. Keep your lines open and use them frequently.
Always signal to your employees that communication to you is always free and you’re always open for any questions about tasks. Contrary to conventional wisdom, showing a bit of vulnerability this way actually defuses more tension than creates it.
It expands the conversation you have with your employees beyond monthly evaluations and simply showing them their mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes can even result in them not asking questions when they should have! Hence, you should always keep them confident enough to ask questions when they are not sure about their work.
6. Put them in charge of their own results.
Following up on #4, you should not confuse ‘owning up’ with punishment. Instead, show how the results of their work directly makes an impact and empower them with this idea. You both know what they want out of their job, now you’re going to show them a clear direction towards achieving it.
This an excellent way to counteract the depressing idea that one’s work doesn’t seem to make a difference. On the contrary, everyone’s role is important (especially in small businesses where you don’t have enough employees as it is)!
7. Don’t fan flames when someone starts a fire.
When the consequences of a huge mistake suddenly starts spreading like wildfire, focus on putting it out. Don’t fan the flames by pointing fingers and engaging in shouting matches.
Don’t cast blame when finding out the cause of the problem. Simply acknowledge who made the mistake and fix it first before holding people accountable.
All in all, the best way to become master of your office is to simply know that a master is a function and less of a title to lord over others.
Sharon Kaibel is a performance and productivity coach. Sharon helps business owners create the strategy, structure and systems to build and grow a profitable business. Join her Closed Facebook Group, the #ACHIEVERNETWORK for the community, resources and trainings to become an extraordinary achiever.