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Become a Better Manager

By: Scott McBride - Updated: 15 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Manager Management Staff Skills

Even the best manager has room for improvement. Rather than rest on their laurels, a manager must look to enhance their knowledge through ongoing training and constantly strive for excellence. There are also some straightforward rules that can be followed to become a better manager.

For a start, when business is booming a clever manager will plan ahead for a downturn, as this is when they will really earn their corn. It is easy to become complacent when things are going well, but it is how a manager performs during the tough times that will set him apart. After all, a manager has to make his staff more productive, effective and efficient otherwise there is little point in keeping them on the payroll.

Communication is one of the key skills in management. Listen to staff, as every employee will have something of value in what they have to say. When delegating tasks, a manager should tell employees what they want to achieve rather than how to achieve it, because people are generally more responsive and less defensive if given guidance rather than instructions.

Find Challenging Tasks

Managers should not impose limits on themselves if they want to grow. It is easy for a manager to concentrate on tasks they do well, but those are the ones they should delegate. Instead, keep those tasks that are challenging and difficult.

Rather than stay locked away in an office bogged down in paperwork, a manager should make every effort to make themselves approachable. Mingle with team members, get information first hand and find out what is really happening. Remember the job is to organise, plan, direct and control, so a manager should delegate tasks rather than try to do everything themselves.

Investment in training can pay off in terms of increased productivity. The perception an employee has of their immediate supervisor can have a huge bearing on their productivity, so train supervisors to give them the necessary skills. If, despite everything, there is a problem, spend time putting it right, not finding someone to blame. Learn from it too, as it is important for a manager to learn from the mistakes of others as well as their own.

Lead By Example

A manager has to set an example for their staff, as a positive role model can pull a team together and see it reach new heights. Lead by example too, as employees asked to do overtime will respond better if the boss also works late.

It is a mistake for a manager to act big and get caught up in looking good. A manager who thinks they know it all and spends their time trying to get in the good books of senior management will not go down well with employees.

Effective management means making changes, so be prepared for them and the impact they will have on people. Keep employees informed – through face-to-face meetings rather than emails – and use these meetings to listen to any concerns and allay any fears. Good communication can make it easier for staff to accept and even embrace changes.

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