How Management is Like Riding a Bike

How Management is Like Riding a Bike

I think most of us can identify a few times in our life where the saying “hindsight is 2020” has been applicable.

For me, it was my first experience as a new manager. I would love to be able to go back to those employees and apologize for my management style. At that time, I didn’t have a lot of life experience, and I was very task-focused and very direct. This was also how I was raised.

Initially, management styles are established through all or a combination of:

  • Life experiences
  • Influences from others (family, friends, co-workers, bosses)
  • Our own personalities and how we’re wired

As I moved forward in my career and began working with some great leaders who I admired, I became more aware of the strengths they had as leaders and learned from them how to shift. While I was still results-oriented, I learned collaboration and influencing others were priorities I wanted to include in my style.

Similar to learning how to ride a bike or learn any new skill, the same goes for establishing your most effective management style. It takes time and trial and error for most people to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

They want to learn, and the willingness to try new tactics and approaches is the essence of finding your successful management style.

Why is finding your successful management style so important? Because it will drive positive or negative business results. 

The Impact of Your Management Style

As I’ve coached managers and leaders, the style I witness more often is similar to my first experience – directive. This typically looks like asking employees to “get it done” without much support and resources or understanding of their needs.

As you continue to learn and hone in on your management style, it’s also important to understand the needs of those you’re managing.

Authenticity, the ability to flex based on each team member’s needs, and the ability to maintain clear rules (that apply to everyone) are important factors in management.

And here’s the truth. As a manager, you’re going to be busy. That’s a part of the position. Trying new approaches like one-on-one meetings, changing current meeting structures, and more can help you identify what you want your style to be.

If you’re finding it difficult to delegate, you’re working more hours than you should, and/or you’re not getting the results you want, it’s time to look at your style and make adjustments.

Effective management is learned. If you’re not happy with the results you’re getting, follow these tips to determine why and where to shift.

4 Tips for Finding Your Effective Management Style

  1. Understand Who You Are

Do you know your common work style and motivators? Understanding your strengths and areas for improvement can significantly support your management style and create approaches that support instead of frustrating. DiSC® assessments are a great place to start to understand your baseline motivators and style.

  1. Understand Your Experience

Have you had good role models for leadership, or have you been surrounded by those you’d rather not follow? What did you value most?

You can learn from both these scenarios what to do and what not to do. Learn from your experiences and seek out leaders you admire to provide insight, feedback, and support to continue learning.

  1. Try New Things

You need to be willing to try new approaches. Employees will not typically make that first step, so you need to be willing to make the changes and use trial and error to find the best fit. One-on-one meetings, establishing healthy boundaries, and more consistent communication are great examples.

  1. Ask For Feedback

The most successful leaders and managers (and people in general) ask for feedback. Take time to ask how you’re doing and where you may need to do some extra work. Employees will not only appreciate the gesture of you asking, but you may find out some traits you weren’t even aware of to work on.

“Practice Golden Rule Management in everything you do. Manage others the way you would like to be managed.” – Brian Tracy

If you’re finding it difficult to establish an effective management style or not seeing the results, you want from yourself and your team, contact Danielle today to schedule a free 15-minute workplace diagnosis.

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