As a manager, you play different roles at different times – but the job of a manager, just like that of a coach or teacher, is to inspire people to be better. Most people respond better to encouragement than to criticism, so give praise when you can. According to Sir Alex Ferguson, one of the most successful coaches in sports history, nothing is better than hearing: “Well done.” He says, “Those are the two best words ever invented. You don’t need to use superlatives.” At the same time, giving clear criticism is important when your team members don’t meet expectations.
If you are too soft in your approach, you won’t be effective – but showing your anger all the time doesn’t work, either. There’s no point in harping on criticism; pick your moment, do it right away, and consider it done. Your timing and tone matter.
Adapted from “Ferguson’s Formula,” by Anita Elberse with Sir Alex Ferguson.