5 Practical Ways to Become a Better Manager

Business.com / Leadership / Last Modified: July 26, 2017
Photo credit: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock

The main job of business owners and managers is to get top results out of everyone in their company. Too often, busy professionals do not invest in building their leadership skills. Here are five simple, practical and proven tips for positive results in any organization.

Running your own business can take up all your time and energy. As a company owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that sales targets are met, customer issues are addressed, and routine administrative tasks are handled in a satisfactory manner.

Consequently, most entrepreneurs remain busy throughout the day. They have little time to devote to improving their managerial abilities. But just a little effort in this direction can yield disproportionately large results. In fact, all you have to do is to make some changes in the way you interact with the people who work with you.

Here are some time-tested ways to enhance your management skills.

1. Motivate your team members.

If the atmosphere at work is positive, everyone will put in his or her best to achieve the goals set for them. Conversely, if a gloomy and pessimistic mood pervades the workplace, you can be sure that morale and productivity will be low.

How can you increase the motivation levels of your team members? The first step is to confirm that there is clarity as to each employee's role. Every person should have a clear set of goals and an understanding of how to achieve them.

Merely handing over a list of responsibilities is not enough. As a manager, you should speak to each employee and listen carefully to their opinions and feedback.

Defining goals, providing the facilities and tools to help in achieving these, and monitoring the milestones along the way can be the best way to motivate your team.

2. Exercise restraint.

If you were an employee, would you want to work at a place where the boss is ready to fly off the handle at the slightest provocation and always has something nasty to say to everyone? Or would you prefer a manager who listens patiently to the issues you raise and offers support and helpful advice?

At times, the stress level at work can get simply too much to handle. In such situations, many managers vent their frustration at their team members. Often, this is delivered in an unpleasant tone, and in the presence of co-workers.

If you are guilty of following this practice (or a variation), stop immediately. If you continue, you will have to contend with demotivated employees who will leave your company at the first opportunity. Additionally, they will definitely not put in their best at work.

If a task is handled incorrectly, or a desired outcome is not achieved, you must give the person responsible an opportunity to present their side of the story. This will give you the chance to provide the required feedback and, in all likelihood, prevent a recurrence of the same issue.

A little patience on your part will be greatly appreciated by your team members. An additional benefit is that they are likely to put in a much greater level of effort the next time around.

3. Hold your team members accountable.

When you assign a task to a team member, do it as clearly as possible. What should the end result be? By when do you want the task completed? Very often, deadlines are missed because the communication was vague or not conveyed in an appropriate manner. You may have assigned several pieces of work and not clarified which was to be done first.

As a manager, one of your primary roles is to hold employees responsible for the tasks allotted to them. One of the best ways to do this is to measure results using data. If you happen to be carrying out a sales review for the last quarter, make sure that the data you are using is correct and also available to your team members. If you use unreliable data, the meeting will not serve any useful purpose.

Holding employees accountable will demonstrate that you are serious about achieving results. Your team members will give greater importance to the tasks you allocate to them.

4. Lead by example.

The best way to build trust within your team is to demonstrate those qualities that you expect your team members to have. Do you follow the rules you have set for the team? You cannot expect your employees to do as you say while you ignore these rules yourself.

Remember that actions speak louder than words. Your team members watch you all the time. They are more likely to follow your example than adhere to what you tell them to do.

If you expect your team members to hold high standards, it is essential that you follow these yourself.

Avoid playing favorites or singling out certain employees for plum assignments. If you treat employees fairly, you can expect them to put in their best for the organization.

5. Become an inclusive leader.

An inclusive leader ensures that every employee contributes to achieving the team's targets. This contrasts with the practice that many managers follow. They rely on a select group to accomplish the most important tasks. By doing this, they exclude many employees from contributing to the organization's goals.

A manager with a traditional mindset simply issues instructions to team members. They are expected to complete the allocated tasks without questioning them or, in some cases, even understanding why they are required to do them. An inclusive manager, on the other hand, takes employees into confidence before allocating work.

Employees are asked for their viewpoints and opinions. In many instances, this can provide the manager with valuable insights that can help to accomplish the task at hand. Even if the employee has joined the organization recently or is low in the hierarchy, they may have a suggestion that could prove very useful.

No 'best' way to become a better manager

Every entrepreneur or manager has to develop a personal style that produces the desired business results. There is no magic formula or one-size-fits-all approach. But it is useful to understand the different ways that you can improve your management skills.

Remember that a motivated and upbeat team can deliver and even exceed the targets you set for them. As their manager, it is up to you to find the most suitable way to do this.

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