How to become a better manager

September 27th 2018 | Posted by phil scott

How to become a better manager

How to become a better manager

Being an effective manager is different to being an effective leader.

To be a successful leader you focus on creating a solid business strategy and executing it well, whilst at the same time fully engaging your team to share in the company vision and goals.

To be an effective manager, however, takes much more than leadership.  While a successful manager possesses strong leadership skills, they also need to have the ability to guide and inspire people and, ultimately, understand how to get the best out of those around them.

When it comes to recruiting people for their team, a manger should concentrate on securing the right talent. Taking on the best person for the role shouldn’t be based solely on experience, but should focus on the talents of that individual and how those will complement the business overall and that specific business need.

An effective manager will think about how an individual’s skills can add to the team and also look at how the person will fit in the role, the team and with the wider organisational culture.

Managing well is all about adapting the approach to the individual. There are no one-size-fits-all approaches to people management as no two people are alike.  A successful manager will work hard to understand the personality and character of each individual and tailor their management style accordingly.

A team member may like close regular support or they may prefer less contact with the knowledge that they can come to their manager at any time. Finding out these differences and changing the management approach to fit can make a big difference.

As well unique personalities, every team member will have different ambitions and goals and be motivated in different ways.  Once a manager has understood what makes each person tick, they will be able to inspire each individual in a way that works for them.

This could be as simple as identifying if an employee has ambition for fast career development and promotion or if they are looking for a more steady, secure and solid experience in the team.

At the heart of being an effective manager is having the skill to really value each employee and, more importantly, to be able to demonstrate this so that every individual believes that their contribution is making a difference.

Believing their work isn’t valued can have a huge negative impact on an employee’s engagement with the company and their desire to support the business goals.

The appraisal system, whether they happen yearly or every 6 months, is a valuable tool for an effective people manager.  It’s important not to view them simply as a checklist of tasks already achieved and future plans, but to create an opportunity for discussion where both the employee and managers expectations and deliverables can be aligned.

Firstly, an effective manager will always remember to set the scene with positive feedback at the outset to demonstrate how the employee’s efforts have been noted and valued.  They will then build on this with constructive feedback, tailored specifically to the activities of the individual and their own personal strengths and weaknesses.

More importantly, the appraisal is an opportunity for the individuals to be circumspect about their own abilities and achievements.  It gives them a space to self-evaluate.  Following this, the individual and manager can work together to set expectations for the future.

Fostering a culture of independence is also important in successful people management.  Of course, this doesn’t mean expecting individuals to only work alone – teamwork is of course crucial.  What it means for a manager is having the ability to encourage each individual to be confident enough in their own skills and abilities to do their job well.

This means giving tailored encouragement and personalised support to each individual so they are secure within their role and able to deliver to the best of their skills and abilities. A strong manager will work closely with their team to create an environment of self-belief and a culture of independence

Finally, being a successful manager requires personal growth and development.  A good manager knows that there is always room to improve their skills and fine-tune their abilities to get the best out of those they work with.

Asking for 360 feedback from direct reports can highlight these areas so managers shouldn’t be averse to looking for feedback from people at all levels of their organisation.  Being able to build on constructive commentary and improve management style will have a significant positive outcome in the future.

Being a successful manager is not a goal to be achieved and then completed.  It’s a continually evolving activity and the best managers are those that are adaptable, both in their own skills and how they approach others.

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