Mastering Workplace Balance: How to Be Both a Likeable Leader and an Effective Manager

Managers often walk a tightrope. They oversee their teams, yet they work closely with those teams. They desire to be liked by staff, yet being “just a friend” can backfire when it comes time to give correction or evaluations.

Here are several tips managers can use to strike a balance between being liked and being effective.

Change how you give praise.

Often, managers give praise not only to motivate employees, but to make themselves more liked and likeable. This system can backfire, however, when staff start to see praise as an empty attempt to manipulate their feelings, rather than a form of feedback that is directly related to their performance.

Cut phrases like “good job!” or “I knew you could do this!” from your vocabulary. Instead, when you offer praise, connect it directly to the quality of the work and the results it enabled: “I appreciated you handing in that report two days early. It gave me plenty of time to prepare for the shareholders’ meeting.” “Keeping your workstation so neat really reduces the end-of-day stress around here, thank you.”

This method helps employees understand how and why their good work matters. This understanding provides incentive to keep doing their work well.

Be communicative, but be honest.

Make yourself available to talk to your team regularly. Respond promptly to emails or phone calls. Make it clear that staff can and should come speak to you when they face a challenge.

Whenever you do speak to your team members, however, be straightforward with them. Sometimes, this will mean telling them things they don’t want to hear – but explaining you’re attempting to be honest and provide the information they need can go a long way. “I know we need one more person on the team, but I won’t be able to find someone for at least two more weeks. What would help you tackle the top priorities in the meantime?”

By focusing on being straightforward, you tell your team that you take their concerns and opinions seriously, which can help them accept the hard “no” answers every manager must provide from time to time.

Seek help when you need it.

Bounce ideas off another manager, ask for guidance from your own supervisor or seek outside help if necessary. For instance, working with a staffing firm can help you reduce much of the stress associated with hiring. Your recruiter can screen candidates, talk to references and take other steps to help improve the quality of your candidates, freeing you to focus on other tasks.

The recruiting partners at THE RIGHT STAFF, LLC can help you improve your hiring process and lighten your own workload. Contact us today to learn more about our staffing services in Edina and beyond.

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