Like a Boss part 2

So I’ve had 3 distinct jobs as a manager for a total of about 5 years of experience with the roll, and of course I’ve had many more working under various people with various aptitudes for directing others which is good learning material as well.

I think my best attribute as a manager is that I genuinely like people. Not every last person but most of them. I can accept a lot of flaws and mostly see the bright points. I don’t think as a manager I am more important than the people I lead. I do get to make decisions when push comes to shove but I trust my folks to know what needs to be done far more often than not.

As a manager I have two main objectives: getting the work done, and doing right by my team. I see it as my duty to try and advance the career of my employees while we are serving the needs of the business. I’m rarely more proud when someone on my team gets promoted, something I’ve succeeded with many times now.

I endeavor to treat my employees with respect. My first manager job taught me that respect also means being honest when people are not fulfilling their responsibilities. Avoiding telling someone they are failing is damaging to their careers in many ways and hurts the rest of the team. You have to be fair and direct, give them a chance to improve, and if they don’t, let them go with as much dignity as possible. A moment I’m proud of was being given a sincere thanks by someone I fired. I’ve seen too many horror stories where bosses use passive aggressive tactics to try and force people to quit so they don’t have to be the “bad guy.”

Trust is also a key concept. You want to work with people you can trust. If you can’t trust someone or quickly build to a level where you trust them, then you shouldn’t have them on your team. A manager should always be seeking higher levels of trust, and an employee should be working to build trust with their manager. New relationships require extra time and communication to build this relationship on both sides.

Sometimes to my detriment, I often care more about the relationship between my employees and me than my boss and myself. Being middle management is a challenge in that you should be minding both sides of the equation equally. Of course if you in turn have a good manager, they will be working to make sure you haven’t neglected it.

Next time, horror stories of my time as a theater manager, things not to do!

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