Leading and managing others is a huge responsibility that can feel even more daunting if you’re new to a leadership role. There are a lot of skills to learn and rules to remember. One of the hardest parts of any management position is figuring out how to do the best possible job without getting behind on your own tasks or alienating your employees.
A manager has more tasks to complete than any of the employees who report to them because they are ultimately responsible for everything their workers are doing. Managing the workload and leading people successfully means being able to juggle a lot of different jobs at once, but that isn’t where it ends. Here are seven secrets to becoming a great manager and continuing to grow in your career:
1. Talk to People
For leaders, openly and regularly communicating with employees is essential. Being a great manager means knowing what your employees are doing and why they are doing it. Sometimes people think that managers should maintain several degrees of separation from their employees. While it’s true that managers shouldn’t be overly friendly or show favoritism to any of their employees, great managers communicate openly and treat all of their employees with respect in every situation.
2. Employee Behavior Matters
The employees you manage directly reflect how you are doing as a manager. It comes down to this: if your employees are being unproductive or ineffective, you do not look good as a manager. Keeping your team members functioning efficiently and working well together will show your skills in the best light. One of the ways you can do this is by treating your employees like each of them matters as an individual and as part of a team. This will help them function in a more organized way.
3. Deal with Conflict, Even When It’s Uncomfortable
Managers need to be able to put out interpersonal fires and make tough calls. Great managers know how to stop a conflict between employees in a way that is rational and fair, and they also know when it’s time to let someone go (even if it’s an unpopular decision). To be effective, managers need to be comfortable making tough decisions and working through conflict.
4. Manage Your Time Effectively
Although the people aspects of a manager’s job are likely to take up the most time, it is important for managers to know how to manage their time efficiently so that they do not get behind on their tasks and deliverables. That can be hard to do when business crises arise or people need your help, but part of being a manager is balancing the different parts of your job. Great managers know how to schedule their time so that they can get all of their work done efficiently and serve the people they lead.
5. Train People Well
Something that will help alleviate some of the pressure and reflect well on you as a manager is making sure every member of your team is well-trained. If your company runs smoothly, it will be easier to manage the day-to-day requirements and focus on your longer-term vision.
A well-trained staff is invaluable, in part because they require less direct input from you. Your team needs to be able to work well together without you having to watch over them every second, and the best way to achieve that is training. Spending a little extra time training a new employee is a great way to make sure everyone on your team has the same information and is handling things in the same way. This is a task you can take on yourself or delegate to a trusted member of your staff.
6. Create a Motivating Work Environment
Sometimes it seems like the only way to motivate people is with tangible incentives, but that’s often neither possible nor sustainable. A better method of motivation is giving your whole team a goal you can achieve together. If everyone on your team is focused on achieving the same goal, it can give them a sense of greater purpose, even if the goal is something as simple as the whole team trying to beat a record or being the best in the company at something.
7. Learn from Others
It takes time, patience, practice, and some failures to become a great manager, and even people who have been managing for years still have things to learn. You should never stop asking for advice or learning from those around you.
Asking managers you admire for advice or the people above you for tips on how to be better is a great way to improve. There is always something to learn; the more you ask for help and tips, the better you will become. Remember that there will never be a time when you know everything and learning from the people around you is the best way to grow.
Content written by guest author: Halley Johnson, an expert in leadership and benefits and technology management.
CMOE guest authors are carefully selected industry experts, researchers, writers and editors with extensive experience and a deep passion for leadership development, human capital performance, and other specialty areas. Each guest author is uniquely selected for the topic or skills areas they are focused on. All posts are peer-reviewed by CMOE.