A leader is best when people barely know he exists

26/10/2018 - Remko Gaastra

Are you a manager that rules its department with an iron fist? Do you give orders to people and strictly monitor that those orders are carried out correctly? Do your people want to perform well, because they know how angry you become when they don’t? If so, it may seem like you are in control over your department and are a good manager. But you’re not! You can do things differently. Moreover; you can do things much better.

Empower, motivate and delegate

If you only have faith in your own skills, then you will try to do everything yourself. You will only rely on someone else when you don’t have time for it and you will then condemn their work when it is not carried out as you intended. However, a good manager knows the value of his employees and makes good use of their skills. That means empowering, motivating and delegating.

"A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves."

Lao Tzu - Chinese philosopher and founder of Taoism

Your people should not be doing exactly what you are telling them, because they are afraid of the reprimands that follow when they fail. What matters is that you trust people and give them responsibilities so that they perform well, because they are motivated to do a good job.

Inform, inspire and acknowledge

Make clear to your team what your expectations are, what you want to achieve together and share your plans with your team. Only by keeping everyone fully informed you can function as one team and strive for the same goals.

Show interest in the work of your people, give them appreciation when they take a step in the right direction and acknowledge that the work they do is important and that they really make a difference as individuals.

Better results, pleasure in the job

Avoid a culture of fear in your department where people do tasks that have been imposed on them and where any form of failure is punished mercilessly. Instead, create an atmosphere in which you inspire people, empower them, give responsibility and motivate them intrinsically to get the best out of themselves. You will see that this not only benefits the results of your department, but also the pleasure in the job. It is more fun to know that your manager has confidence in you and appreciates you when you do something well, than when your manager continuously checks on you and punishes you when you make a mistake.

Remko Gaastra is in charge of Dysel North America. He leads a team of industry experts to make equipment dealers in North-America more successful.

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