Managing people well requires two fundamental skills sets. I call them the “2R’s” — relating and requiring.
Relating encompasses relationship-building behaviors: asking, listening, including, coaching, and encouraging. When managers relate well, employees feel heard and cared about. They know, at the heart level, you value them as people and as team contributors. They are motivated to work harder and share ideas.
Requiring refers to results-oriented activities: creating expectations, focusing on goals, insisting on excellence, setting appropriate controls, asserting your views and confronting problems. When you require well, your group generates better project results.
If you relate and require well, your workers will deliver high quality, high productivity, and fresh ideas to solve existing problems.
Most managers find one of these skills sets more natural than the other. You may struggle with or even avoid the less natural skill set.
To maximize your effectiveness as a manager, consider these five tips:
1. Become keenly attuned to which “R” is dominant and how dominant it is. (If you are not sure, you can find out via the free assessment at www.ManagingPeopleBetter.com.)
2. Honestly admit your weaknesses and the consequences of those weaknesses. Under- or -over-use of relating and requiring skills can damage relationships, results, or both.
3. Vary the skills you use based on the specific employee you are managing and the details of the situation. One size does not fit all.
4. Adjust your approach if it’s not working. Perhaps, you are leaning too much on your natural style, and it’s time to engage your less natural style.
5. Realize that some management functions require a formulaic approach. For example, decision-making should usually start with asking and listening, independent of your natural style.
When you consciously think of these suggestions, you increase your ability to help employees grow professionally and accomplish group goals. You gain flexibility to handle tough people management situations gracefully and decisively.
A longer version of this post, written by management executive Peter Friedes, was published on his site, Leadchangegroup.com.