Be a Better Manager
Whether you’re hoping to become a manager one day or you’ve been leading a team for years, there is a certain set of skills you will find are needed to handle the responsibility (and inevitable headaches) that arise. But simply managing isn’t enough: How do you become a better manager for yourself, for your team, and in the eyes of your boss?
Communicate, communicate, communicate
The most basic tenet of management is also the most important. Be sure your employees know exactly what is expected of them; set up a simple system in which they can report any questions, concerns, or suggestions to you (whether that is in person, via electronic correspondence, or some other method of communication); and speak openly and honestly with them about any issues within the company that concern them. Reinforce the idea that the lines of communication are always open between you and your employees, and you will most likely be rewarded with workers who perform their roles more efficiently.
No matter how hard you or your employees try, something at some point will inevitably go off the rails. But according to Forbes, managers can become better by “accepting their employees’ mistakes as their own learning opportunities.” This means curbing the urge to attack or criticize an employee when something goes wrong. Instead, take a moment to look at the entire chain of events that resulted in the mistake and decide where—and how—it all went wrong. Use that information to then communicate with your employees about the best way to avoid that particular failing in the future.
Take time to self-reflect
This idea goes hand-in-hand with embracing mistakes: Looking inward is an important step toward become better at managing others. After all, until you learn to manage your own emotions (whether it is anger at an employee, fear of reprimand from your own boss, or something else entirely), it will be impossible to lead others effectively. Reflection does not have to be an hours-long deep dive into your feelings, but a regular check in with how you are feeling toward work events—and why—can yield surprising results.
Helping your workers grow as employees should be a main focus of good managers. What strengths and talents do they possess? How can you help them use those strengths to make their work life more enjoyable while complementing the company’s goals? Once you have pinpointed each individual employee’s niche, you can work on meshing those talents into a cohesive and productive team.
Collaboration is key
The cohesive and productive team mentioned above? That takes collaboration, which ultimately only comes from you and the precedent you set. Everyone wants to work at a company where they feel supported and appreciated, and good managers can provide that. Business News Daily suggests that listening to your employees, setting a positive tone, and encouraging teamwork can go a long way toward building that collaborative dream team.
Stand up for your employees
Demonstrating to those on your team that you have their backs in the event of some drama occurring in the upper echelons of the company is the mark of a good and caring manager. Whether those above you send down orders that are completely unreasonable, demand results that are downright impossible, or simply require something that you know in your heart of hearts is detrimental to your employees’ well-being as a team, it is up to you to be their defender. It certainly will not be easy to push back when speaking with your higher-ups (it never is) but doing so is likely to earn you the eternal trust of your employees and ensure that your team is rock solid.
Not all managers lead the same way—nor should they! But incorporating these tips, both into your everyday workday and your overarching career plan, can help you up your management game in a meaningful and measurable way.