Last week a person very close to me said that he sometimes feels that I treat him like an employee. My first reaction was to apologize because it sounded like such an awful thing to say to something with whom you are in a personal relationship. And I did apologize, but then I got to thinking – how did I manage my employees and was that really a negative statement? Since I’m on a break from corporate employment, I decided to give this attention and review my management communication style so I can be better and smarter when I return to the office. So – how do I communicate as a manager?

Are my expectations high? Absolutely. Right off in initial interviews, I tell my prospective employees that I ask nothing from them that I wouldn’t do myself – and that’s the best possible job. This means being smart about everything, using your resources and always striving to do better so you can finish a job with pride. In marketing and communications, it’s also always about staying a step ahead of what is going on in the market and making the right decisions.

Do I communicate with my employees? I do so on a daily basis, and when I have a busy travel schedule, sometimes it doesn’t always happen but I am otherwise consistent. For those who in remote locations, they may receive a bit less attention than those down the hall from me, but I make every effort to make sure I know what’s going on in their world, and to keep them informed on what’s going on in mine.

Do I trust my employees? I will always stand by and defend them, with the expectation they are doing the right thing. I had a boss who treated me like this, and it was the best feeling in the world, knowing that he unconditionally supported and defended me, no matter the situation. Of course, this commitment stands only until the employee has breached that trust or done something amiss. Then, a continuous shadow of doubt will linger until the trust is established again, but the trust can be renewed.

Do I give enough positive feedback? Here I know I do not do a good enough job. I get wrapped up in making sure everything is being done, and getting done better and smarter than before, that I often fail to provide that positive acknowledgement. That’s definitely an area I’m going to work on for future assignments.

Interestingly enough, this introspective ties in to the communication assignments I give my students in my Advanced Writing Course. We’re reviewing and analyzing our communication styles – how we communicate with others and how others perceive our communication style.  I’ll have to report in next class that I also have areas for improvement – because another sign of a good leader is to demonstrate growth and change in order to set a good example.