33 Ways to Manage Better
Updated: Jun 30
Managing others is a challenge. It always has been and it always will be. If you are lucky, you have worked for a fabulous manager. Someone who was fair, competent, pleasant, and understood how to create a motivating work environment. There are four reasons that people end up in management positions.
They took a test and scored well on the test. This method is typical in civil service organizations. A police officer takes a test to become a police sergeant.
They were born into the family business.
They were a fabulous individual contributor so they received a promotion to manager.
There was no one else available to take the management job.
Most managers are not promoted because they have fabulous management skills. Most managers learn as they move gain experience. If they are lucky, they receive some training along the way or have a mentor who is invested in their development.
Here are 33 ways to be a better manager.
Be flexible. There is no such thing as a one size fits all approach. In some situations, you will need to use the command and control style of management. For example, when an emergency occurs someone needs to take charge quickly and decide what to do. Other times, it will be appropriate to support and empower employees to make their own decisions. Managers who micromanage every situation and exclusively use the command and control style are not liked by subordinates. You must adjust your management approach for the situation.
Be fair and respectful to every employee. Do not play favorites.
Manage your time effectively. There are 168 hours in a week, no more and no less. Create a daily to do list and prioritize the list. Determine if there is anything on the list that can be delegated to someone else.
Delegate. Poor managers have all kinds of excuses for not delegating. I can do it better. I can do it faster. I don’t have time to delegate. When you delegate, you will get more done.
Be a role model. Your employees are paying attention to your behavior. If you yell, your employees will think that it is okay to yell. If you arrive late for work, your employees will take advantage and arrive late. You represent your employers every day.
Create a motivating work environment. Employees are motivated for their reasons, not for your reasons. Figure out how to create an environment that is motivating. Try implementing a rewards and recognition programs.
Say thank you for a job well done. Appreciation goes a long way.
Give consistent feedback. Let your employees know how they are doing. One of the biggest mistakes managers make is not sharing enough feedback.
Communicate more and communicate better. Communication is creating understanding which involves sending a message and receiving the message. Make sure your employees know what is going on in the organization. Deliver concise, clear messages. When you deliver a presentation, have a clearly defined opening, key points and closing.
Be enthusiastic. If you can’t get excited about your organization and the work that you do, don’t expect your employees to.
Communicate clear performance expectation. Employees should know what is expected from them. If an employee is not doing what he/she is supposed to be doing, coach them to improve their performance.
Become a better listener and use empathy. Show employees that you care.
Know the difference between coaching and counseling. You should coach employees to improve their job performance. You are not there to counsel employees about their personal problems. Refer employees with personal problems to your EAP (Employee Assistance Program)[i] or to the Human Resource department.
Set stretch goals for your employees. One part of your job is to develop your employees, everyone has untapped potential. Identify the potential and push employees to learn more, be more, do more.
Develop your replacement.
Value each employee for their uniqueness. You cannot discriminate based on race, religion, national origin, age, sex or any other reason.
Learn interviewing skills. Having a great workforce starts with hiring the right people. Use behavioral interviewing techniques and open-ended questions during the interview. Hire employees who are competent and have a fabulous attitude.
Learn how to run a meeting and don’t be boring. When you schedule a meeting create an agenda, start on time and invite employees who need to be at the meeting.
Build your network. Managers need to influence others. You need to take the initiative to build your network so that you can influence. Identify who you need to meet, then invite that person to lunch or ask them to share a cup of coffee.
Use data. Almost everything can be measured. Use data to improve processes and performance.
Develop problem solving skills. Problems can be solved using rational problem solving and/or creative problem-solving methods. Left brain people tend to use rational problem solving exclusively. Using creative problem-solving techniques can lead to innovative solutions. For more on creative problem solving read any book by Roger von Oech.
Create a personal action plan for your own development. There are always opportunities to learn new things and do current things better.
Develop a high-performance team. Nothing great every happened because one person did something. Behind every great accomplishment is a team of dedicated people moving towards a common goal.Diana Nyad swam from Cuba to the United States because she had a team of people on her boat and in the water in front of her paying attention to her.
Learn from your mistakes. No manager is perfect, you will make mistakes along the way. Own the mistake and keep moving forward.
Ask for help. No one expects you to know everything, there will be times you must ask for help and direction from your boss or from a colleague. Whatever you do, don’t be arrogant and abuse your position. Power and position can corrupt!
Identify your stress busters. Managing people can be stressful, especially when employees don’t do what they are supposed to do or things don’t happen in correct order. Learn how to reduce your stress, take care of yourself.
Pay attention to your health. You are no good to anyone if you are sick. Eat well and exercise.
Have the tough discussions. There are certain situations that might make a manager uncomfortable but that is your job. If an employee has body odor and you have received complaints from other employees, you must have the discussion with the employee.
Be visible. Make sure you know all your employees by name. Let them see you, don’t hide in your office and eat lunch at your desk with your door closed.
Stay relevant. Know what is going on in your business and in the industry. Become a voracious reader.
Manage conflict quickly. Sooner or later there will be conflict in the workplace. Don’t ignore the conflict, deal with the conflict as soon as possible.
Be ethical. Do the right thing. You will encounter employees who gossip and spread rumors. Managers are expected to be honest and adhere to strict standards of confidentiality.
Have fun! When you enjoy your work, others will enjoy working with you.