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Hey Boss, Keep it Real with Your Team About Your Work-Style

Teach people how to treat you. This isn't a hostage situation, so do not run down a list of demands as if this is part of a negotiation.

Steve Harvey was dragged on the internet for sending an email to his staff with his list of do's and don'ts. Although the intention may have been innocent in trying to adequately redefine his boundaries, the delivery along with his celebrity made it come off kind of rough. That in mind, you should not be afraid to communicate to your team what your personal management style and preference is, particularly when you are working with a new staff.

When I would introduce myself to my new teams, I would take the time to meet with them as a group and then individually. Face to face, I wanted each of them to know and understand that I am approachable but direct, that I have high standards, I am willing to work alongside of them when needed, and that I reward those who are willing to take responsibility for their actions and learn from their mistakes. And then I would remind them that I am human and humorously add that I'm absolutely not a morning person until about 9:30AM.

Once I had laid the groundwork, I would follow that up with genuine action: I would greet them warmly in the morning (I may not be a morning person, but I'm not a jerk about it), and I would not address them with the problems of the day until they'd had their coffee, or whatever their morning routine was. I would not interrupt their lunch breaks with work-related matters unless it was an absolute necessity. I would not ask my team to do anything I was unwilling to do myself. And I would not undermine their decisions in front of a customer or coworker. These behaviors were intentional demonstrations of how to work with me and established an environment of mutual respect.

So, keep it real with your team by communicating honestly and directly from the start how they can best interact with you to maximize effectiveness and results.

This isn't a hostage situation, therefore do not run down a list of demands. Don't tell them you have an "open door" policy if you are most productive from 9AM to 4PM (and seriously, get over yourself—no one is truly that productive). If you prefer post-it note messages over emails, say so. Give them examples of how to get a favorable and timely response from you or when you are most available, then reciprocate that with them. Tell them how you like to work to get the best results, and then ask them what they prefer as well. You can take this one step further by making your intentions SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, reasonable, and time-bound). Of course, your preferences may be subject to change based on different circumstances and allow everyone that level of flexibility. Use this as an opportunity to get to understand your team members as a cohesive group as well as individually. Then remember to PLAY it how you SAY it—in other words, walk your talk and lead by example.

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