Whether you are at work or at home, whether you are part of a team, a leader or a supervisor, your job will be easier if you learn how to be a good manager. Here are 14 easy, simple skills to help you learn management and leadership.
Management is the art of geting things done through others. Good managers make things happen. They provide the resources, training, motivation and leadership so people can do their job. In previous times, managers were taught that their function was to plan, organize, lead and control. But today’s manager and leader has a more complex job description. As a good manager, you are expected to convey the goals of the company to your people at work. You are expected to lead and energize people. You are expected to organize project teams, to deal equitable with employees and to build technical expertise and skills.
As a good manager you plan, organize, delegate and assign tasks. But you must also delegate authority so that employees are empowered to do the job better. The manager communicates his orher agenda and expectations, whether the goal is solving problems, saving money, satisfying customers or improving productivity. Successful managers create a work environment that allows capable, educated people to do their best work. Today more than ever, managers and employees are partners, working together in the business. Here are 14 easy, simple ways to be a good manager and learn management and leadership skills.
How to Be a Good Manager
14 Skills to Learn for Management and Leadership
Successful Managers Delegate
A good manager has a style. What’s your management style? People at work will take advantage of managers who are too soft and sympathetic. On the other hand, if you are a hard-nosed boss who commands like a general, managing with ultimatums, fear and intimidation, people at work will drag their feet and stonewall you at every opportunity. Learn to become a firm but fair manager and you’ll get better results.
- A good manager manages by walking around. You can manage people at work better when you get away from your desk and stay in touch with day-to-day operations. Keep your eyes and ears open, and make yourself available to people. Communication is the key skill for management and leadership. And a big part of communication is listening. This informal contact will give you advance warning about problems with the people you manage.
A Good Manager is a Balancing Act
A good manager motivates people. People at work are motivated by more than a paycheck. They appreciate it when you notice and compliment their output. Your interest motivates and energizes employees. A simple “Good job today” will get people on your side. Ask people for their opinion, and listen hard. Give them a voice in decisions. If a worker comes up with an idea to improve the job, give him/her positive attention and acknowledgment, even if you can’t implement the idea. Some companies offer gift certificates, reserved parking space and small perks as a way to recognize an outstanding employee. Let employees know that they are valued. Get acquainted with each person and greet them by name. A good manager gives credit where credit is due.
Manage for Results
A good manager sets SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for five characteristics: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. Asking for better customer service isn’t good enough. But if your goal is to reduce merchandise returns in the next week by 10%, you’ve got a SMART goal everyone can work toward and progress you can measure. Provide regular feedback on the progress that is being made toward those goals.
- A good manager has a mentor at work, a successful manager in the company with experience and knowledge you can tap into. Let the mentor light your way as you deal successfully with the myriad of people problems at work. A mentor will help you handle sticky personnel problems, manage projects and deadlines, and build your confidence.
- A good manager makes meetings a success by preparing an agenda and setting a time limit. Know what the meeting should accomplish, and stay on track. Don’t let meetings sap your time and energy. If a meeting won’t serve your purposes, don’t go. Use video conferencing to reduce your travel time.
- A good manager becomes a leader, a person with vision who appreciates the potential of the company. Develop a positive, compelling vision of the future and the role of the company. Show how its product and services are worthwhile in the bigger picture. Part of the vision for the company is to reach professional success, to benefit society, and to seek excellence. The people you manage at work want to be part of an organization that makes a positive difference in people’s lives. Share your belief in the capabilities of your employees. Then communicate this vision to your employees, build their enthusiasm and challenge them to make it happen.
- A good manager keeps your employees informed of changes. The manager has email, the company website and the old-fashioned bulletin board to bring everyone up to date. Report back about the meetings you attend. If you don’t share official information about changes, the employee rumor mill will take over.
- A good manager creates a work environment where people feel free to speak up, to tell the truth and to take risks. Work needs to be a place where employees are encouraged to be creative and to take the initiative. If you criticize every activity that fails, your people will stop trying out new ideas.
- A good manager manages by example. Be a person of ethical behavior and high standards. Respect yourself, your company and the people who work for you. Don’t slack off, badmouth your superiors, or misuse company property. Avoid profanity and outbursts of anger. Take pride in a job well done. Practice what you preach.
- A good manager treats people fairly and even-handedly. Don’t play favorites. Appreciate the diversity of the people who work for you.
- A good manager is clear and specific when you assign tasks. Decide what the results should be and communicate your expectations. No matter what business you’re in, everyone needs to know why. Be flexible whenever it’s possible and be firm when it’s necessary. Use project management software to track the tasks and responsibilities you delegate.
- A good manager coaches your people for success on the job. Develop their skills. Arrange training classes and professional advancement. Look for people who are ready for more responsibility. Someday you’ll get promoted and will need a successor to move into your position. Be a mentor to the people who work for you.
- Often you manage people at work even though you don’t have the authority to hire, fire, give out raises or prepare performance reviews. You will be faced with people problems everyday. You will hear a lot of excuses from employees who don’t measure up all the time. Someone might drop the ball by saying they don’t have the authority to make a decision, or shift a problem to another department. You’ll have to deal with unmotivated people at work, those who feel discouraged when they take the initiative, who feel unnoticed, or who have lost their enthusiasm for the job. And there are always difficult employees who want to get by with the least effort possible. As a good manager, you should plan your tactics in advance to manage these people at work successfully.