Managers are emotional levers

If you work at a company, it’s likely you have a manager.

If you have a manager, that relationship will dictate 80% of your work life.

  • Does your manager micro-manage? You’ll probably have a stressed out life.
  • Is your manager a great coach? You’ll probably grow quickly
  • How skilled is your manager at prioritization? This will have a direct downstream effect on you

This is the thing I wish more managers understood:

Managers, you are emotional levers.

Whether you like it or not, you have asymmetric influence over your reports.

If your stress spills over and you lose your temper with your employees…

Their entire day may be ruined. They might be worried about their job and show up to work more stressed.

Regardless of how good their performance, the one vector point of a bad emotional interaction will have an outsized effect on them.

If you acknowledge your employees for a job well done…

They will feel valued, acknowledged, and motivated to keep working hard.

By no means does this mean treat your employees like snowflakes.

Just understand that what feels like 20% impact for you is 80% for your report.

Ask any person to recall their favorite managers.

It’s rarely how smart that manager was or how they moved the needle on business objectives. Those things matter, but to their reports…

They remember how they got treated.

How kind their manager was.

How adeptly their manager handled uncomfortable situations and conversations with humanity.

So what’s a manager to do? Heck, might be a manager and you probably have managers yourself.

Just remember the 80/20 rule.

How you treat your reports has an asymmetric affect on their emotional lives.

So take your 1:1 meetings seriously. Be generous with your praise. Give them constructive feedback with a human touch, letting them know your they’re to support and coach.

Get to know the whole person. Don’t use those 1:1s just for work topics. Create a safe space of sharing where it’s okay to get to know the whole person, not just the person-who-does-work-for-you. When people feel seen and understood, they are less likely to feel paralyzed by mistakes. Because they have a sense that you see them more than just their job performance.

If you want a culture where people bring their whole selves to work, then you have to treat people like whole human beings, with complex lives in and out of work.

And lest that all becomes too much to remember, a little acknowledgement goes a long way.

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