Not everybody is born to be a manager or leader. Management is a skill that can be learned, though no one single book or class covers everything you need to know. If you already have some management skills, know that they can always be improved. The question for many is simply how they can become better at their jobs. Here are seven things you can do to become a better manager.
Pick the Right People
A manager’s job becomes much easier when they pick the best people for the role. If they can work unsupervised, your job is simply giving them the resources they need to do the job and deal with the occasional problem. You’ll need to act as a motivator or coach at times, but this is one of the more pleasant sides of the job.
It isn’t enough to have several highly qualified and competent team members. You also have to build your team. They need to work together as a group to achieve the group’s objectives. Team building skills are something many managers need to work on.
Be a Motivator
Fear based management erodes productivity, destroys morale, and forces managers to micro-manage. On the flipside, motivational managers can raise morale and productivity by virtue of their management style. If you learn how to be a better motivator, you could help people work for prestige, recognition, and praise instead of only doing it for the money. This requires knowing what motivates people and giving them that when it is possible.
Consider getting a management MBA to learn the best methods to do this. One of the benefits of getting an online MBA in management is that you’ll learn strategic planning, human resources development, and organizational behavior without having to leave your position. You’ll end up knowing the most effective methods for motivating people and changing corporate culture when necessary.
Improve Your Ability to Communicate
Communication is the most important skill a manager can have. If you have a grand vision but cannot communicate it, the team can’t work towards it.
If you cannot clearly define what you need in a new team member, you won’t get the right people on your team. If you are not able to understand the problems others have, you won’t be able to solve them. If you aren’t a good communicator, you’ll fail to motivate people by encouraging them. This is a skill you can refine through practice, but courses can teach you the nuance you’re missing. You can start by asking questions and actually caring about the answers.
Practice Ethical Management
The business scandals of the past decade have raised awareness of the costs that come with unethical business practices. At a minimum, you need to be honest with employees. Being direct and honest will increase their trust in you. Learning how to be respectful as well as ethical can help them place confidence in you.
For example, you can invite everyone to speak and give them time to do so. Encourage everyone to contribute in meetings and in private discussions. This is invaluable when they need to report misdeeds by coworkers or share any concerns they may have.
Learn to Manage the Money
Managers have to manage the money, either directly or indirectly. This is necessary even if your goal is bringing in as much money as possible. Get better at managing money, and you’ll improve the financial metrics of your department. In a best-case scenario, you have more money to give raises or bonuses to incentive your staff. In every case, you’ll help the company and raise your own profile because you’ve reduced costs and improved cash flow.
Learn Time Management
Time management is a valuable skill for managers. The better you can manage your own time and that of your team, the more effective you will be as a manager. This skill is taught in many project management courses, but it can be learned on its own, as well. You can start improving in this area by being on time yourself instead of showing up late to meetings.
Take Real Breaks
A manager is less effective when they are over-stressed. You’ll become impatient and more critical. People will avoid you. One solution for this is to take breaks from time to time and be unavailable for periods of time so you can rest and recharge.
And make sure that you actually unplug from work when you aren’t at work. Delegate to your subordinates when you’re away from work instead of feeling like you have to constantly check on everything. Your productivity will go up when you really relax over the weekend or when you’re on vacation.
Being a manager can be hard, and being a great manager is even harder. However, there are specific skills you can hone to become a better manager, and there are many resources available to do so.