Managing people is one of the most difficult aspects of being a leader. With great power comes great responsibility. Are you missing ways to make your life easier and your employees happier? Follow these 10 tips and never worry about being a mediocre boss again.
1. Get to Know Your Employees
Understanding your employees’ unique strengths, gifts, skills and personalities, and keeping them in mind, can make you a better manager. Whether managing a small team or hundreds of employees, understanding what each of them brings to the table will make a difference. Knowing your employees better helps direct assignments, improve motivation, and identify areas where employees may need extra support.
2. Keep a Record of Your Employees’ Work Projects
In our fast-paced and dynamic work environments, it can be difficult to keep up with what you have on your plate, much less that of your employees. Keeping track of what projects each employee is working on can help you better distribute the workload as new projects come up because you understand available bandwidth for each person on your team. Tracking projects, their timelines and success levels, can also be useful to learn more about your employees.
3. Communicate Clearly
As in any type of relationship, clear communication is vital between managers and employees. Setting clear expectations and ensuring mutual understanding of those expectations can lead to smoother project deliveries and minimize mistakes. Making sure employees know they can be candid with you goes a very long way in building trust and ensuring open and honest communication.
4. Lead by Example
Management styles come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing is clear – employees are looking to you for direction on what to say, how to act, and how to respond to things happening in the workplace. Always take a moment to compose your thoughts and consider the implications of your spoken words and actions. When you’re deliberate in your response to difficult topics or issues, you’re setting the tone and leading by example.
5. Acknowledge Success
It’s not just a millennial thing. Everyone likes to be appreciated. While some people can still perform without acknowledgment of a job well done, do not assume these individuals are on your team. Instead, assume everyone needs some form of praise from time to time. Sending a simple “thank-you” email or expressing appreciation for a deadline that was met on time while passing someone in the hallway goes a long way. This helps employees feel valued for their efforts, leading to a better work environment, increased employee buy-in, and higher employee retention.
6. Invest Time in Self-Improvement
Hopefully, as a manager, you have a desire to see employees grow both personally and professionally. Investing in your own growth will make you a better version of yourself – thereby elevating the importance of continuous improvement. That’s a better version of you that shows up at work every day. Plus, when you feel progress in yourself, it’s easier to notice and acknowledge the progress others are making as well.
7. Provide Feedback (and Ask for It!)
Maybe your organization has a feedback process already in place. If not, consider establishing one for you and your employees. Depending on the size of your team, an informal check-in once a week can be enough. Sometimes it may feel like you don’t have the time but prioritize team meetings. Providing regular feedback can lead to overall better work performance because they know what is expected and where they may need to improve. When you ask for feedback, you are giving yourself an opportunity to adjust to the needs of your employees. This helps you become a better manager and builds confidence in your ability to adapt based on situational awareness.
8. Be Flexible
Things happen, sometimes mistakes are made, and priorities and responsibilities can shift by the hour. Be limber, nimble, and ready to pivot. The tree that does not bend in the storm gets broken. When employees see you being flexible, it reinforces the importance of being present, mindful, and adjusting to change in a positive way.
9. Extend a Hand
A good manager takes on the role of player-coach. Your primary responsibility is making sure that quality work gets accomplished, and you do that by managing your team. If someone on your team needs help, and you can lend a hand, it is in your best interest to extend it. That could mean helping prioritizing deadlines, troubleshooting when an employee reaches a roadblock, or offering support in addressing challenges with other teammates. Be present and ready to help when it is in your power to do so.
10. Stay Humble
Being entrusted to oversee other people, and their work, is a position of power. As is the case with any position of authority comes with it the potential for abuse. Don’t let a title go to your head. Keep in mind that individuals on your team are not beneath you, they’re part of your team and a reflection of your success. Prioritizing humility, no matter what your management style is, will make you a better manager.
Implementing these 10 tips will help you support your team, facilitate the execution of quality work, positively influence your work environment, and make you a better manager.