10 Ways to Stay Engaged as a Manager
By Erin Sherbert
Is an effective manager one who is always decisive around the office? Or is it someone who will have your back, no matter what the higher-ups say about your latest project?
We recently asked our readers this question to help us better define what embodies a good manager. We weren’t too surprised to see that staying engaged was ranked the most important quality of an effective manager. After all, an engaged manager is one who is invested in the satisfaction of the team.
Inspired by the results, we devised a short list of ways in which managers could become more engaged as they grow their teams:
- Take a Risk: Pushing the envelope a little (just a little, I said!) will keep you excited about what you’re doing. If you’re risk-averse, all the more reason to venture outside your comfort zone. Growing pains are good.
- Hold 1:1 meetings with each person on your team: This is one of the best ways to stay connected with your team: keep them focused, increase their performance, and help them overcome challenges they’re facing. Remember: their successes are your successes.
- Set 3 new goals every quarter — and make those public to your team/boss: This is a sure way to avoid inertia. Define clear goals for you and your team and then devise a workflow to accomplish those goals.
- Hold brainstorm sessions regularly: That includes people on your team and people who sit on the other side of the office — you know, the ones with whom you don’t eat lunch. They have ideas, too! You need to tap new brains and collect unconventional perspectives to keep things fun and fresh.
- Play to your strengths: If you know you’re really good at something, show it off! Consider hosting lunch-and-learns and mini-workshops to mentor others who are interested in learning what you know.
- Learn something new: This is not to be confused with taking a risk. Carve out some time every week to learn something that isn’t a part of your immediate job description but that you wouldn’t mind putting on your resume. For instance, if your everyday job is to write e-books, why not try designing one, too? Take a class while you’re at it!
- Ask for Feedback: Quit talking and listen. Specifically, listen to what your peers have to say about you. Ask your team for regular feedback about being honest (make it anonymous so they don’t feel weird). Take this feedback and make it part of your professional roadmap moving forward.
- Find a mentor: The best way to be a good mentor to others is to find your own mentor around the office. Find the person in the office whose strengths you admire. Set up time to grab coffee and pick their brain. Look for ways to incorporate aspects of their process into your leadership style.
- Delegate: One of the hardest things for some managers to do is give up control. Admit that you can’t do everything and still be a productive and engaged leader. Delegate projects and presentations to other members of your team. Doing so will not only free up some mental space for you, but it will empower your direct reports.
- Take a Vacation: That’s right. I am not asking you; I am telling you. Take time off. And I don’t just mean a weekend away to see the family. As a manager, you have dual responsibilities — for your own sanity and the sanity of your team. If you don’t take the time your company gives you to unplug, disconnect, and go recharge somewhere other than the office conference room, you will lose momentum.