Your personal beliefs can enhance or limit your effectiveness as a manager. These beliefs influence the way you communicate with others, make decisions, handle conflicts and much more.

My first post shared a theory that all good managers have ready access to two fundamental skills sets—Relating (asking, listening, including, coaching and encouraging) and Requiring (creating expectations, focusing on goals, insisting on excellence, setting appropriate controls, asserting views and confronting problems).

A versatile manager knows how and when to use each of the Relating and Requiring skills. Most managers, however, find that only one of these skill sets feels truly natural. The other skill set takes effort. It is not automatic and may feel awkward. Or even feel impossible and totally out of character. Managers can enhance their Relating and Requiring skills by adopting these 16 versatility-fostering beliefs…

For Natural Requirers who want to improve their Relating

  1. I don’t have all the answers.
  2. My employees may know things I don’t about the best way to get the job done; I can learn from the people I manage.
  3. My employees may have new ideas about how to improve my department.
  4. Many employees want freedom to choose how to achieve the end result.
  5. I would make better decisions if I consulted with my employees, tested my tentative conclusions with them and gave them a chance to react to my thinking.
  6. My employees need to feel appreciated to do their best work.
  7. I need to convey that I am available so people feel comfortable coming to me for input.

For Natural Relaters who want to enhance their Requiring

  1. My employees expect me to manage, make decisions, set priorities and deal with unacceptable behavior quickly; the conflicts this creates are necessary.
  2. Poor performance puts extra burdens on my group and on me.
  3. My employees cannot grow without feedback. Helping them see a needs-attention area is a gift, even if the conversation results in temporary awkwardness.
  4. A true relationship can withstand talking through tough stuff and often becomes stronger as a result.
  5. I can’t please my employees all the time. I can trust that over time they will see I care about them.

Versatility-fostering beliefs for all managers

  1. Employees want to achieve individually and be part of a winning team.
  2. I want to help those I manage to do good work and succeed.
  3. I am not responsible for my employees’ success or failure. I can guide, advise and suggest, but it is each employee’s responsibility to succeed.
  4. If an employee wants to learn, I will share what I know—even if that employee may one day surpass me professionally.

These 16 beliefs are rich soil for cultivating employee talent and great business results. These beliefs create attitudes that translate into good managerial behaviors. For example, Belief #2—“My employees may know things I don’t about the best way to get the job done”—facilitates the behavior of asking for employees’ input, listening to their ideas and involving them in deciding the best course of action.

In contrast, an over-Requiring manager may believe, “I already know the right solution, and my job is to assign and oversee implementation tasks.”

Which manager creates the more satisfying work experience? Which manager’s group does the best work?

What other versatility-fostering beliefs should be on this list?

If you want to check your own versatility, go to www.managingpeoplebetter.com for a free evaluation and report.

Peter E. Friedes
Retired CEO, Hewitt Associates. Co-founder, Managing People Better, LLC—a management research firm/think tank. Avid competitive golfer (when my back cooperates).Connect with Peter on his Lead Change or Twitter profiles.
Peter E. Friedes

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Peter E. Friedes