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It seems that managers tend to come in two flavors: mean or motivating. Mean managers tend to rule with an iron fist, intimidating subordinates into doing what they want them to do. Motivating managers act as cheerleaders, leading by example and focusing on bringing out the best in others. Whether you realize it or not, you may be leaning towards being a mean manager at times, especially if you view your subordinates as lazy or hard to deal with.

The truth is, however, that mean managers don’t earn any respect from employees, nor do they actually motivate anyone. In fact, they are viewed as tyrants who crush the spirits of others and ruin productivity.

How can you know if you are motivating your employees the right way as a manager? Take a moment to see if you recognize yourself in any of these descriptions:

  • You view your employees as a liability
  • You hire people for their experience, not strengths
  • You make people work long hours most of the time
  • Your philosophy as a manager is to demand respect
  • Your staff ideas are something you take credit for to look good
  • You prefer for others to take credit where it’s due
  • You encourage new and better ways of doing things
  • Your employees look to you as a mentor
  • You have an open office door policy
  • Your team easily takes on new projects

As you may have noticed, the top 5 categories refer to the style of mean managers, and the last 5 refer to motivating managers.

Do you see the difference?

During the 2008 recession, a good many managers started operating from the mean end of the spectrum, because they had to let people go for being less productive. Employees left behind found themselves taking on two or more of their former colleagues’ tasks, and they feared for their job security. Things are vastly different now and it’s become a candidate driven market. Managers must change and work on ways to motivate and inspire their employees, otherwise the most productive will move on to competing firms.

How To Motivate As A Manager

There are several ways to step into a better management style and be a motivator. Seeing the value in each and every employee, and providing them with opportunities to shine. Using encouraging words to motivate others. Recognizing the hard work and dedication of employees. Strategically building teams based on skills and personalities. Leading by example. These are all the hallmarks of effective management in 2016 and beyond.

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