Great Managers Work For Their Employees

As an employee, you can notice the difference when working for a manager that works for you; not the other way around. We’ve all had managers that seemed to believe that being authoritative is the way to lead people; it isn’t. It’s safe to say that we don’t remember these people fondly, nor do we care to mention the things we learned or didn’t learn from them.

I remember one of my very first jobs as a loader at FedEx Ground when I was 18 years old. The Sort Manager didn’t like me, I know because he told me. Yup, that’s right; he told me. And not just me, some of my colleagues got the same message. He wasn’t a tyrant, but his leadership style was authorative. He didn’t like anybody and nobody liked him. Still, I managed to get on his good side because I made him look good and became a threat. I remember that day like it was yesterday when he came over, when no one else was around, and told me that I was having a huge impact on the company and thanked me.

I thanked him and carried on. Eventually he begun taking care of me, the word was I was next in line to take his job. Plus, in terms of power he had none. People didn’t follow him, they just followed orders.

And this is a leadership challenge.

According to Daniel Goleman, the Father of Emotional Intelligence, there are 6 leadership styles: visionary, affiliative, democratic, coaching, pace-setting and authorative. For more on how to handle employees correctly, read this new blog post with a payroll guide for SMBs.

We all use one or many of these leadership styles. The worst managers and leaders use only one. While the best managers and leaders use many and know when to put them to use and which to stay away from.

My leadership style doesn’t depend on me being liked or disliked. I follow the Golden Rule and treat people as I like to be treated. Not to toot my own horn but I’ve had former employees of mine tell me they liked working with me because I made their jobs easier. No, I didn’t do their jobs. Rather, I created the conditions for them to shine. That meant eliminating obstacles in their way, the things or procedures that would impede them from doing their job.

I also coached them.

I’ve never been concerned with being the boss, my concern has been in others becoming their best. You don’t achieve this by being authorative, or telling people you don’t like them and show some type of positive emotion only when it suits you.

Remember, the number of people that work for you doesn’t determine your worth as a leader. It’s the number of leaders you unleash. You do that by creating the conditions, developing, coaching and encouraging. You work for them, not the other way around.

Bottom line: The best managers and leaders create the conditions for people to be their best. They develop, coach and encourage. 

Also published on Medium.