It’s easy to get into babysitting mode when you’re a manager. You want things to run smoothly, so you try to keep your team happy for the 8-hour workday. You want their cooperation, so you reward them when they show team spirit. All of this is understandable, but if that becomes your management style, you may have inadvertently become their babysitter.
For all your fine intentions, you must shed the mindset that you are merely in charge of these people, and it’s your responsibility to keep them safe and happy for whatever time they are with you. It’s time to re-think your relationship with your team members. Are you leading them or are you their babysitter?
Here are some signs that might indicate you’re taking the wrong approach:
A babysitter rushes in to solve every problem while a leader asks “What’s your plan?”
When one of your workers darkens your doorway with an issue, do you immediately start offering possible solutions, or do you require that they tell you how they will solve it? Conditioning your team members to think through any dilemma before they approach you teaches them to be proactive and makes them stronger.
By the time they have come to you, they will have given the conflict some thought on their own and can give you enough information for you to add some feedback if needed.
Babysitters allow their workers to do as they please as long as no one gets hurt. Leaders set clear-cut expectations.
Being a cool babysitter makes you popular with the kids. Trying too hard to be a cool boss can lead to chaos. If you’ve been looking the other way at questionable behavior or have been accepting run-of-the-mill work, you’re showing signs of being a babysitter.
Being a leader means your expectations of your workers are well-defined and consistent. Your goal is to be respected rather than to be liked. There will be times you’ll be playing the bad guy. And that’s okay. While it’s good leadership to understand the needs of your team, they must also understand and respect yours.
Babysitters only give praise while leaders promote accountability.
Your employees grow from taking calculated risks. Hearing nothing but positive feedback and constant praise can encourage them to play it safe, so the kind words keep coming. It isn’t conducive to building a strong team.
Rather, assign them tasks that will make them stretch a bit. Then trust them to act independently, and support them if they must fix any mistakes. Make sure you give them constructive feedback regularly and watch their decision-making abilities improve significantly.
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For more management tips on effective leadership, contact Focus of Georgia today. We are here to help you develop your team and grow your business.