5 Leadership Moves All Good Bosses Make (Even on the Hard Days)

Truth talk: Being a manager is hard.

You may not be 100% prepared for the demands of a job that requires handling individual personalities, motivations, and work styles. Doing the work becomes the simple part; working through others is far more complex.

Which isn’t to say it’s all bad. Helping your employees grow, tackling projects as a team, and building strong relationships are all very rewarding. And, seasoned leaders will tell you that it gets easier the longer you do it, because you’ll learn as you go.

But there’s a faster (and less stressful) way to put these lessons to work—and that’s to learn from managers who’ve been there before. .

For my latest book, The Inspiration Code, I spent five years speaking to leaders and researching what actually inspires others to do their best work. Based on their experience, I learned five key leadership tricks that’ll help a new manager make less mistakes and create the best team:

1. They Prioritize Listening

People in their first management roles often spend a lot time thinking about how they’ll lead conversations with their team (e.g., how they’ll share priorities, provide feedback, and communicate proactively).

However, too many people don’t pay attention to best practices for listening. They figure they already know how to, and therefore overlook developing this critical leadership skill.

Focused, curious listening conveys an emotional and personal investment in those who work for us. When you listen to people, they feel personally valued. It signals commitment. (Here are four ways to improve now .)

2. They Point out Other People’s Potential

Leaders have a great influence on how workers view themselves. In his book Superbosses, Dartmouth Professor Sydney Finkelstein found that the world’s most extraordinary bosses bring out untapped talents in their people. Those workers develop farther and faster, and increase their own performance.

How do they this? By talking to their employees about their potential.

Most managers would say that they know the strengths of their team members, but too often they don’t talk about them. (They save one-on-one meetings for feedback on areas for improvement.)

As the Pygmalion effect has shown for decades, people rise to their leader’s expectations. So, if you tell your employee you believe in their ability to hit more ambitious sales goals, lead an upcoming presentation, or find a more efficient process they’re more likely to do it.