It turns out an extraordinary mix of skills and knowledge isn’t enough to be a great leader at work. According to author and executive coach Judith Sherven, Ph.D., a few psychological strategies are essential, too.
Sherven explains in a recent LinkedIn post that while there are “numerous books, courses, and online trainings for improving your managerial skills, seldom do they address the psychological underbelly of wise and wonderful management.”
She says that understanding and incorporating the following psychological truths have enabled good managers to become great ones:
1. Your team wants you to lead, not rely on their opinions. Yes, collaboration and team input are important in the workplace. But managers shouldn’t consult with their team members before making every big decision. Managers who do this aren’t seen as true leaders.
2. Being a buddy gets you nowhere. Managers who are uncomfortable with their senior status tend to believe that becoming friends with their team members will empower those who report to them, Sherven says. “Actually, nothing is further from the truth. Role confusion makes for team members’ job confusion, which creates organizational confusion.”
3. Trying too hard to save an employee endangers your whole team. Well-intentioned managers often get caught up in trying to save a team member whose behaviour or output is “insufficient, incorrect, or injurious to the wellbeing of the team,” she explains. Maybe it’s because this manager hired the individual. Perhaps it’s because they have high hopes for this person’s career. Either way, it can feel like a blow to their sense of competence when they’re forced to admit that the person needs to be let go, Sherven says. “But letting go must become a must-do in order to protect the wellbeing of the other team members and the team’s output.”
Sherven says there are many other psychological truths about excellent management — but these can get you started in thinking about what’s most wanted and expected of you from your employees.
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