#1 thing to do to be a better manager

If you lead a team of people you have a choice. You can communicate with your team in the same way you’ve always led, or you can opt to improve how you interact with your direct reports. The number one step to take toward improvement is to be curious about the people you lead. The word curious is an adjective meaning – eager to know or learn something. What if you approached each interaction with the question I wonder why, in the back of your mind? Here are a few examples.
One of your employees goes above and beyond when they are taking a call from a client. Instead of taking for granted this person is just a natural at customer service, have a conversation about why they took the extra steps they did to make sure the customer got what they needed.
When someone shows up and does just what they are expected to do, no more, no less, get curious. Find out what they like and dislike about the work they do. Avoid waiting until their annual performance review. Schedule time today to ask them.
If job performance misses the mark be curious about that too.
All too often we assume we know the reason for an employee’s behavior. Keep in mind that most people are dealing with an issue you know nothing about. Maybe something minor like spilling coffee in the car on the way to work. Or maybe more serious like a fight with their teenager. Or maybe they received some devastating news like a family member died suddenly. We may never know the cause or the reason, and there is no need to guess. Approach the situation with the attitude that the person is well intended, and something got in the way of them doing their best.
Research findings indicate that when we are curious, we are less defensive in a stressful situation. For many supervisors, a conversation about poor performance is stressful. The study also found we have a less aggressive reaction to frustration with an inquisitive mindset. Nothing makes a discussion about an employee’s performance take a turn for the worse then when a supervisor becomes upset or angry.
Next time you have a conversation with one of your employees approach it with curiosity. I’d love to hear what happens, post a comment below.