As 2013 draws to an end and we all prepare to welcome the New Year, we’d like to offer you these words of advice. May they serve you well in 2014.
- Quit sweating the small stuff. Nitpicking over the smallest details or micromanaging every aspect on every project will only lead to stress and—eventually—burnout. Keep things in perspective. Accept that some things will go wrong. Always have a backup plan. When you do that, the inevitable small setbacks won’t seem so bad.
- Show your appreciation more. Think about it: How often do you take time to express your thanks for day-to-day things? We expect the waiter to provide good service. We expect the mail service to deliver our mail on time. We expect the person at the cash register to ring our orders up correctly. We expect our employees to do their jobs and meet—or in some cases exceed—expectations. And we often do all that without truly showing our appreciation for what the person is doing for us. Yes, having expectations is natural and necessary, especially when we are managing people. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t regularly and genuinely acknowledge our employees’ efforts. Everyone wants to be validated, and you can do for that your employees simply by saying “Thanks for doing ___________________” and “Excellent work on ___________________.”
- Keep educating yourself. It’s easy to reach a certain level and feel you’ve learned enough. Don’t fall into that trap. Make it a point to take advantage of any training your organization offers. Request to attend a workshop or purchase a training program. Or learn without spending a dime: Shadow your employees to discover what they really do each day. Attend free webinars. Follow your competitors and industry-specific periodicals and websites on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Use Google Reader to check your favorite blogs and news sites. You’ll receive a wealth of information with little effort on your part. Then you can spend some time each day reading the materials and sharing what you learn with your team.
- Grow leaders. So many managers, especially new ones, are afraid to groom leaders on their teams for fear of being replaced. However, you will be much more successful if you oversee a group of leaders than if you are responsible for a group of followers.
Delegate challenging tasks and offer training opportunities that increase employees’ knowledge and skills. Let them take the lead on a project or during a meeting. Seek their input on decisions and when you are problem solving. Empower them to meet your goals the way they see fit. Every day you have the opportunity to help your employees become stronger employees. Don’t waste it.
[Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nanagyei.]