While there are numerous books, courses, and online trainings for improving your managerial skills, seldom do they address the psychological underbelly of wise and wonderful management. That’s understandable since they aren’t created by people with a psychological background.
But over the past many years we’ve seen how understanding and incorporating the following psychological truths have enabled good managers to become great:
1 – Everyone Knows How To Follow
Everyone was once a small child whose very existence depended on following their parents or other caretakers. So the act of following is built into each and every one of us. And while some chronological adults rebel against managerial leadership in an unconscious carryover from their youth, the vast majority of people welcome clear, supportive leadership they can readily follow.
2 – Your Followers Want You To Exhibit Strong Leadership
When a manager can be counted on to provide clear directions, clear expectations, clear rewards and clear critique in response to outcomes, s/he can provide a confident-making platform for everyone on the team. Being nice, wishy washy, or distracted by the company’s internal politics raises grave concerns for the future of the team’s project as well as anxiety about management’s missing guidance about current expectations.
3 – Your Team Wants You To Lead Not Rely On Their Opinion
While team input and collaboration are extremely important and invaluable, all too often managers abdicate their leadership role in favor of “consulting” with people on the team to try to handle dicey hiring problems, team restructuring, or other insecurities that are not the business of that manager’s team members.
4 – Forget About Being A Buddy
Some managers, uncomfortable with their senior status and leadership role, believe that becoming friends and buddies with their team members will empower those who report to them. Actually, nothing is further from the truth. Role confusion makes for team members’ job confusion which creates organizational confusion.
5 – Trying Too Hard To Save An Employee Endangers Your Whole Team
Well meaning managers can often get caught up in trying to rescue a team member whose behavior and/or output is insufficient, incorrect, or injurious to the well being of the team. They may have recruited and/or hired this individual. They may have had great hopes for this person’s career and it’s now a blow to their sense of competence to have to concede that the person needs to be let go. But letting go must become a must-do in order to protect the well being of the other team members and the team’s output.
6 – Big Visions Do Not Make For Wise Guidance
Your team needs wise and caring guidance for execution of your project vision, whatever it is. Merely providing a big vision leaves everyone scrambling to guess at what is expected, demoralizing and rendering insecure what might otherwise be an excellent team. Remember, everyone knows how to follow. Give them clear, empowering guidelines and most people will knock themselves out to produce what you want from them.
While there are certainly many other psychological truths about excellent management, these six will get you started thinking about what’s most wanted and expected of you from your followers—who by and large want to please and impress you.
What other psychologically-oriented qualities do you think are essential?