A manager is a key part of the workplace in almost every company. These individuals help delegate tasks, deal with interpersonal issues, and often determine the goals of the team. However, a manager can often serve as more than just a taskmaster. Managers often boast a wealth of experience which can be passed on to their direct reports.
The Oxford Review referred to mentorship as “knowledge management.” Such a description couldn’t be more apt. Sharing information between both manager and direct reports can be a challenge, which can be rectified with a few different actions.
How to be a Mentoring Manager
1) Learn to ask good questions- good teachers and mentors don’t necessarily always give the answers to their students. Asking effective questions can lead a mentee to a solution without being spoon-fed the answer. It will allow them to become more solution oriented rather than dependent on you.
2) Limit how much time you have available to your direct reports- This might seem counterintuitive, but an open-door policy will never be beneficial in an operations aspect for your company. This will not only leave you overwhelmed, but not allow your direct reports to be self-sufficient. However, scheduling time to meet with your direct reports can be very beneficial as well, since it can give them a feeling of loyalty and being noticed.
3) Be smart with delegation- a good manager should recognize what tasks to give their direct reports, and what tasks they should take responsibility for by themselves. In addition to this, great managers understand to never give a direct report a task that they would avoid themselves.
4) Understand growth- at the end of the day, while a manager will no doubt want to retain as many members of their team as they can, they need to realize that not every direct report will want to remain a direct report for perpetuity. Foster their growth whenever possible, and they will reward you with better quality work, as well as more loyalty. And if they so choose to leave, that’s okay. More individuals will come later down the line.
5) Assume responsibility for your direct reports- If they do something well, acknowledge them. If they don’t necessarily do something well, help them see how they did something incorrectly, and then don’t leave them out to dry. Take responsibility as well.
6) Grow personally as a worker as well- Every bit of knowledge you have as a manager can and should be passed down to your direct reports.
How does a manager appeal to all age groups?
Great managers will often prove to be the best facilitators and mentors within their organization. Different age groups can all have vastly different interests and methods, but with the right helmsman, they can come together and work with high degrees of success. Here are some ideas on how to properly manage this workplace
1) Hold regular 1:1s
and foster the prioritization of communication within your workplace. For the first time ever, four generations are in the workforce at the same time. Each of these generations have different expectations and methods to use. This can easily lead to conflict when colleagues are unaware of these differences and try to work by themselves or cooperatively. Employees need to be able to communicate these differences in a healthy manner and choose how to approach a task.
2) Recognizing different peoples work orientations
is a vital skill to be an effective manager. Just because someone has more experience doesn’t mean that they want to be a project lead, nor does it mean that they have the necessary skills and personality. Put individuals in positions that they want to be in and will succeed in, rather than positions that they have potential to be in. While learning is a part of a direct report’s job, it should be at their own pace, rather than being thrown into the metaphorical deep end of a pool and being told to swim.
3) Identify that different generations perceive respect differently. Regardless of who they are, no member of a team deserves to feel obsolete or disrespected within the workplace. Fostering a workforce with a wide sense of understanding and mutual respect is critical. The Platinum Rule can be enforced throughout the workplace as well. The more common Golden Rule explains to treat others as (you) would want to be treated, but this is deficient. A generation Z worker may not like to be treated in the same way that a Boomer would. The Platinum Rule
says to treat others as they would like to be treated. This creates a better team dynamic and a respectful environment.
While the workforce may be expanding to a scale unimagined before, this can be a good thing for your team. Proper communication and management can allow a team, regardless of age barriers, or any other times of barriers, to be a much more successful team.