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How to be a better manager

Published: Friday 16th October 2020

Manager in front of team inspiring

If you’re wondering how to be a better manager, you’re not alone. Being a manager is tough, and getting the most out of your team can be challenging. Most employees end up leaving their jobs because of bad bosses. So, in order for both you and your team to grow and succeed on your journey together, here’s how to become a better manager.

Don’t demand, inspire

You’re the boss and the buck stops with you. But you can’t assume your team will always bring the energy and enthusiasm you expect to the table. Good leaders inspire those they lead to success. Help your team connect with your organization’s objectives so that they’ll buy in and take ownership of the results.

Come as you are, see where you are

Not all managers are the same. Some managers go gently, while others are sterner. Some focus heavily on metrics and KPIs, while others are better at appreciating unmesaruable value. One team will think one manager is a godsend, while another will think they’re a visit from the devil.

To be a better manager, know what your strengths are as a boss, and adapt them to your situation.

Trust your team

manager showing trust in their team

You’re in charge of a team and it’s hard. You’ve probably got pressure from your boss about your team’s targets and why you’re not meeting them. You’ve got your own work to worry about, and then everyone else’s.

It’s easy to succumb to the temptation to micromanage your team, to constantly ask for updates, to dispel the uncertainty of whether or not they’re doing their job well. But no one likes it when their boss it looking over their shoulder. Feeling watched can actually lessen someone’s productivity.

You hired your team for a reason – ease up on the reigns and let them do their work. You may be surprised by the results.

Set goals and reward success

It’s vital for employees’ sense of direction that they have clearly defined goals to achieve. Setting goals will help them get their heads around what they’re doing and how to succeed. If they meet these goals, reinforce their success with rewards, whether that’s some positive reinforcement or something more tangible, like raises or points from a reward scheme.

Be clear

You gave a member of your team a task to do, and you expect them to do it. Simple, right?

Not so fast.

It’s easy for one’s intent not to be fully communicated during a simple conversation.

Think of a meeting. One participant’s memory of what took place in a meeting can differ violently from another’s. That’s why someone in the meeting takes minutes. A minutes document summarizes what happened in the meeting and clarifies what was agreed to give a reference point to everyone involved.

It can be the same thing when dealing with employees. In the shuffle of the daily grind, things can get missed, or half-communicated, or different conclusions can be reached from the same conversation.

Be unequivocal and clear about what you expect from your team, and repeat it often.

Be present

Lots of managers like to be aloof from their team. They think it creates a sense of mystique and authority. But too often, aloofness is a manifestation of an unwillingness to deal with difficult issues.

If you meet with your team regularly and hammer out issues on a regular basis, they’re more likely to trust you, and you’re more likely to come up with solutions to your problems. Simply showing up to check in will also help them feel like you’re invested in their success, and they will most likely perform better because of this.

Explore new ideas

Be open to exploring ideas that your team brings to you. Make time to review them and meet about them. If you feel it’s appropriate, implement their ideas to see what happens. A manager makes themselves better by keeping an open mind and exploring all the ways they can improve.

Hire people smarter than you

Manager hiring employee

You’re great, but you don’t know everything. There are people out there who will know more than you. Steve Jobs always tried to surround himself with talented people who knew more than he did. This was how he was able to create products that took over the world.

Embrace difference

Not everyone’s the same. Different people come with different experiences and perspectives, and these are incredibly valuable.

Get interested in your employees. Find out what makes them tick. Learn about their histories and passions. When the time and situation is right, that knowledge may become extremely helpful.

See opportunities in crisis

It’s a bit of a cliché, but when the universe closes a door, it opens a window.

Embedded in every crisis is the opportunity for growth. When you open yourself up to see the possibilities in shortcomings and the opportunities in failures, you build your resilience and become better able to navigate the choppy waters of managing your team.

Be human

It’s easy to operate under the belief that your team is there to serve your business. This is only half true. Most people view their jobs as a way of supporting their real lives outside of work.  Recognize that things happen, and people will occasionally need to prioritize personal matters.

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Want to be an even better manager? Craving more management tips? Check out our other hirer blogs.

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