Leadership, whether good or bad, has a trickle-down effect.
How leaders treat the managers they hire has a direct effect not only on the performance of those managers, but also on the results produced by the employees those managers are trying to nurture.
Handle your managers the right way and they’ll be more effective in their roles, and so will their employees. Neglect them or fail to support them properly, and their performance — and that of their subordinates — will slip.
Here are seven things leaders can do to make sure the managers they hire perform to the best of their abilities:
1. Show your passion
Passion has to flow from the top down. If you don’t display passion for the industry, the company or your job, you can’t expect those working for you to do so either.
Displays of passion can take many forms — e.g., always appearing attentive and energetic during even the most mundane meetings, leading PDAs (public displays of appreciation) for company or co-worker accomplishments, keeping managers in the loop about exciting company developments, etc.
Whatever you do, don’t check your emotions at the door. People need to feed off of your passion.
2. Believe in them
If you don’t believe in members of your management team, they’re in the wrong position. You need to be their No. 1 fan, and let them know it. That doesn’t mean you have to constantly make remarks that inflate their egos. Instead, bestow upon your managers responsibilities that show how much you believe in them.
3. Back up their decisions
Don’t make your managers run every decision by you for approval before revealing it to their teams. If you believe you’ve hired the right people, give them the freedom to make and implement their own decisions. And if you do disagree with something managers do, don’t fight them in front of their staffers. That tells employees their managers aren’t supported and maybe shouldn’t be in a position of power.
4. Have their backs with your boss
Your managers need to know that you’re willing to go to the mat for them. This may mean taking a hit from the CEO when one of them makes a mistake or pushing back on work requests from the top brass when you know they’re overworked.
5. Lighten the mood
Get to know your managers on a personal level. Engage them in the hallways or the lunchroom. Crack jokes and create a more collegial atmosphere.
Establishing a rapport with managers will make life easier for everyone. They’ll feel more comfortable approaching you with problems or concerns, and you’ll have a more effective problem-solving dynamic between yourself and them.
6. Give them a reward budget
You can’t expect your managers to push their staffers to do their best if they’re not empowered to reward top performers. The rewards don’t have to be cash. Let your managers decide what’s best for their employees. But give them something they can use to motivate their teams.
7. Give frequent attaboys/girls
Some leaders think, “The fact that they get to keep their jobs should be enough to let them know they’re doing a good job.”
That doesn’t fly anymore. Today, if managers aren’t told their work is appreciated, they’ll go to a company where they will be. Don’t let a year go by without providing at least some positive feedback to your managers. Shoot to give at least one positive comment per month.
Can’t think of anything positive? Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate their value to the company.
Bottom line: Management isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it environment — at least not if you want your managers to be effective. To drive your workforce to be its very best, the managers you bring on board need to see and feel support from their organizational leaders.
Christian Schappel is the editor-in-chief of HR Benefits Alert, which is published by Progressive Business Publications to help HR professionals improve the benefits and compensation functions in their organizations. Connect with Schappel on LinkedIn.