How a Great Manager Inspired Me

What would you rather hear from your manager: “Can I help?” or “How can I best help you?” One invites a yes or no answer, while the other, is a more specific request. In a past work experience, I was lucky to have a manager who asked the second question. If your manager is asking questions like the second one, he or she is most likely engaging in other great management practices.

I’d like to share my personal experience with a manager I had while working for Organic Valley, who was not only a manager but also a leader and mentor.

Creating a Culture of Trust

At Organic Valley, trust was the foundation of my relationship with my manager.  Respect was present in all actions, which showed me that she genuinely cared for my professional growth and well-being remember after presenting a piece of training, my mentor gave me a note saying how she was grateful to have had the opportunity to work and learn alongside me. I placed it where I could see it daily, as a reminder and encouragement. It may not have been a significant gesture for my manager; however, to me, she was building a foundation of trust in our relationship.

Where there is no trust, there is likely to be a lack of innovation and autonomy. Research shows that employees who feel trusted perform better at work, stay with employers longer, and are significantly more innovative.  At Organic Valley, I felt safe to be creative and challenge myself, because I did not fear I would make a mistake. I knew that errors were how we learn and grow. This can only happen with a strong foundation of trust.

Passing the Positivity

“It’s going to be great.” These were the words my manager used that motivated myself and others on the team. Complaining about getting something done was not an option; instead, it was about finding solutions. An optimistic outlook, paired with a calm, stable demeanor, creates a culture of productivity. I can recall the first meeting we had. Excitement radiated from her. She was happy to share her passion with me. This feeling of joy was contagious and brought feelings of opportunity. So, next time you feel like things just aren’t going the way you had hoped, remember, “It’s going to be great!”

Clearing the Path Creates Opportunities

Management (or rather, leadership) is about recognizing a need and opening the way for people to perform at a higher level. My mentor valued helping me remove obstacles that stood in my way. She asked the question “How can I best help you?”, rather than merely, “Can I help?” She created a culture of learning that ultimately allowed me to develop my talents by having weekly 1:1 meetings to discuss my progress and next steps.

Do you have a great manager story?  If so, please share!

At Performance Culture, we believe in asking, “How can we best help you?” If you’d like help with continuing to develop your management skills, or if you would like to learn more about the Performance Culture System, please contact us.

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