The duties of a manager is often limited to getting the job done, but how you get that job done is what marks you out as an effective manager. You may have all the right qualifications to be branded a manager, but if you lack the basic skills, you may not be able to produce results.
This basically is why some business people dread the aspect of managing people because it is indeed not that simple; they would wholeheartedly prefer to go out, meet customers, create awesome products and bring exciting new opportunities into their business instead of having to managing their employees. This is why business people often employ managers.
The role of a manager varies from one organization to the next, but generally, the job of a manager is to manage time, money, people and resources. The hardest task a manager would have to face in the course of his duties is to manage people, because human beings are some of the most complex creatures on earth and it takes lot of tact and expertise to manage them.
What’s the Yardstick to Measure your Effectiveness as a Manager?
To be effective, a manager needs to be able to accomplish more through the people in the organisation. He or she should recognize people as the primary source of productivity. He also has to treat people with the concern they deserve as the company’s most valuable asset. Treating employees with respect and empathy is usually worth the effort.
An effective manager is also a leader of people. It is his or her responsibility to show people where to go and help them define the best path for reaching that destination. According to research, a manager’s ability to clearly communicate where the team and the organisation is going was ranked the number one characteristic of a good manager in 2014.
In order to run an effective organisation, a manager has to make sure that the company employees are happy, hardworking and loyal. The good news is that though it is hard, but it is not impossible to become an effective manager. We have outlined a few tips that would help you understand management more deeply and help you become more effective as a manager.
37 Helpful Tips on How to Be an Effective Manager
1. Get to know your employees
Getting familiar with or getting to know your employees is in fact one of the most essential things you need to do if you want to become an effective manager. You must not keep your employees at arms length in a bid to establish your authority. You should climb down from your high horse and get to know their various strengths and weaknesses including their individual capabilities.
Get to know each team member’s work style including what inspires them. Learn what motivates them and how to manage them in order to get the best results from each person. By taking the time to uncover the strengths of each individual on the team, you can leverage each person’s unique capabilities and drive superior performance.
You should also note the under-performers so you can either give further training or you let them go; after all, it’s a business not a charity origination. You should also know that every person is different, each with their unique strengths and weaknesses.
Some individuals may not be organized but they may be very good at connecting with people and building relationships, someone else might be detail-oriented in their approach but may not get the big picture. A good manager aligns the right person with the right job.
While you are at it, you have to know that it may take a while for your employees to accept your model of leadership, so don’t expect them to warm up to you immediately.
Also, while you are getting familiar with them, you must not focus on making friends with and among them; this could prove disastrous for you in the long run. You will get more energy and effort from your team if you are focused on expanding and accelerating their various efforts than just focusing on becoming acquaintances.
2. Focus on coaching
One of the biggest pitfalls certain managers fall victim to is focusing on pushing people to achieve an end result, rather than coaching and guiding each person to help get them where you want them to be. Your team needs your direction to get from one point the other, and you must be there to provide it if you want to be effective in your position.
You should have a very specific strategy that explains exactly how you plan to help them achieve success. Having this in place would make your employees view you as a leader and not as a slave driver. This can make them to respond to you better.
3. Delegate like an expert
The key to effective management is assignment delegation. Most managers feel they have to control every small thing their employees do, and this can be disastrous for your person and position. To become an effective manager, you have to learn to delegate duties like an expert.
You must ensure that the square pegs go to the square holes and vice versa. When you delegate work to your employees, you are multiplying the quantity of work that can be accomplished. Also, you are helping develop your employees’ capabilities, leadership skills and confidence.
If you don’t know how to delegate projects and tasks, your role as a manager will be a lot more difficult. Don’t be afraid to ask your employees to help complete a task. You might think it’s easier to do everything yourself, but this will add more time to your already busy schedule, and you won’t be allowing your employees to do what they were hired to do.
4. Upgrade your experience
A person who is hired to manage other people needs some good experience if he or she expects to be successful at it. If you are experienced, you would know what to do whenever a knotty issue arises, and you wouldn’t be running your organization by guesswork.
If you don’t have experience working in a professional environment and leading a team, it will be hard for you to step up as a manager. One good way for you gain experience in a management role is to volunteer, either within your field or with a nonprofit. You can also offer to manage social events, whether it’s raising money for an organization or organizing a party, this could help you gain some experience.
5. Set reachable goals
Every employee must have something to work for and therefore it is the duty of a manager to set goals that his team will strive for. Not only will these goals give the employees a new purpose and direction, they will also ensure that all employees are marching towards the larger organizational goals.
Some managers are of the view that the harder the goal, the more training the team gets, but this practice gets to backfire most of the time. You must set goals your team is capable of accomplishing and regularly monitor the progress towards their accomplishment.
6. Follow up on assignments
For you to be effective as a manager, you have to make it a duty to follow up on whatever assignments you give out to your subordinates. Without following up your team to monitor their progress, even the best strategic plans go nowhere.
As the business owner, leader or manager, your job is not only to devise the strategy and plan but to put tracking and follow-up measures in place in order to drive it to completion. What you continually follow up on grows. Make sure that the most important pillars of your team’s success are well defined, documented, and measured consistently.
7. Got down and dirty
In as much as you are required to delegate duties to others, you should not leave it all to them. As a manager, assigning duties without having at least a small part in them may cause your workers to treat it with levity. You need to coach them from the field and be an active participant in their day to day operations.
If you remove yourself from the day to day activities of your team, you will miss the subtle modifications and changes that need to happen in order to yield greater results. Instead of reviewing what happened on a weekly or monthly basis, conduct team meetings daily and participate in the successes and challenges throughout the day.
Know that your team is modeling you, taking cues from you and determining their level of comfort and commitment based on your level of commitment. If you want to be an effective manager, you must endeavor to be there when you are needed.
8. Communicate effectively
There are managers who do not understand the importance of communication; they just focus to dishing out orders without caring if their team is listening. On many occasions, managers have to serve as the link between the top management and the executive-level employees.
How you communicate to your team can dictate your eventual success. When relaying instructions, recapping meetings or just doling out company updates, strive to be clear accurate and thorough. Whether you have news related to work or whether it is an informal interaction, a good manager always makes an effort to keep his subordinates in the loop.
This goes for any other medium, whether that means in-person communication, email or a phone call. Employees must remain updated as to what has to be done how in order to do their job efficiently and on time. Clarity, accuracy and thoroughness are the best way to avoid miscommunication and keep your team on the same page.
9. Have confidence, and some more
Trust me, subordinates know when a leader is not confident in him or herself and they tend to take advantage of it. To be an effective manager, you need to be confident in your abilities, experience and decisions. This doesn’t mean you have to be arrogant or feel that you are better than your team. But you are in a management role for a reason, so you have to act the part and be an inspiration to your team.
10. Always reward hard work
The day you begin appreciating your team for their efforts, you subordinates will be happier for it. All employees are, at some point or the other, seeking praise for the work they do, but only a few bosses understand this need and hardly recognize and reward them for a task done well.
Thus, if you want to be an effective manager, and if you want your employees to have job satisfaction, it is vital to give them a pat on their backs every once in a while. Rewards have a way of boosting morals in the work environment.
So, when a member of your team does something exceptional, you should reward him or her in some way, either with a bonus, a small trophy or even just a vocal recognition. You can do this in front of the group so as to make the intended recipient feel good and show the rest of the team that hard work is indeed pays.
The only problem with this is that you have to be consistent in your rewards so you won’t be seen as playing favorites. Acknowledgement of achievement can be varied but should relate to the individual goals of the team member.
11. Make time for your subordinates
Management is mainly about making people work. When an employee needs to talk to you, you must make sure that you make time to see him or her and step aside for a discussion. It is okay to put your work on the back-burner for a moment and focus on this person in need of your assistance. Assuring workers that you are always there for them would build their trust in you.
12. As you demand respect, give same too
In as much as they are employees or subordinates, they are still human beings with feelings and needs. If you don’t respect your employees, there will definitely be tension in your workplace. Be cognizant of their time and abilities, be able to listen and communicate with them, and be a resource of knowledge and guidance.
13. Be very reliable
A manager that is leading a team has to be reliable if he or she wants to be effective. This means being available for your team, getting things done that you said you would, and supporting your team however needed. A manager who cannot be relied on cannot get the best out of his or her team.
14. Be one step ahead of others
As a manager, it is important to always stay slightly ahead of others in terms of knowledge, maturity and confidence. Therefore, to be an effective manager, make sure you never stop growing, learning and developing your character. For employees to respect what you have to say and trust your judgment, they need to feel you have the skills and knowledge required to do the job.
Don’t just sit in your office and hide away. Show that you can lead a team effectively. A great manager is part strategist, part coach, part counsellor and part tactician. Managing people takes a diverse range of skills, and you should acquire them. You may not have what it takes just yet, but you can get it if you are diligent enough.
15. Come up with lasting solutions
Managers must be effective problem solvers. No matter how huge a problem is, they should always have an idea of a reliable solution and not a quick fix. A good manager should always target the root cause of a problem, rather than just superficially fixing it. This is what sets you apart from the rest.
The trouble with coming up with quick fixes is that in your enthusiasm to come up with quick solutions and move on to another task, you may overlook another viable option that may have taken longer to develop and apply but could have been a long-lasting solution.
Another key factor in being a effective manager is time management. If you are late every day, your employees might think it’s acceptable to also be late. Time management is also important when it comes to prioritizing your day, making sure you have time to communicate with your employees, and attending to the various duties lying in wait for you.
17. Never toss blames
When something goes wrong, it will always be someone’s fault. Fingers can be pointed around, but you must resist the temptation to be the one pointing the finger and laying blames up and down. You should instead focus on finding a solution to the problem and after the problem has been solved, you can then lay the blame and dish out the right punishments.
You do possess the power to sack people who aren’t doing what they were hired to do. But you should not go on blaming everyone in the team for one person’s failure to perform or your own failure to lead.
18. Be knowledgeable
Having experience as a manager is a must, but you also must be knowledgeable. This is where you need more training to succeed. There are a lot of courses out there that are used to train managers, and you can equally get a bachelor’s degree in business or a master’s degree in leadership or project management.
You can also get a certificate in entrepreneurship, ethics, or human resource management in order to further your skills. While you are focusing on getting the best out of others, remember to invest in your own growth and development as a leader so that you can continue to make a greater impact and more effectively help others further their success as well.
19. Be able to resolve conflicts quickly
Good managers need to be good at conflict resolution if they intend to be effective. They should be able to come up with solutions to everyday problems, handle stress and be able to think on their feet when there is an emergency.
It is quite necessary for managers to be good mediators, particularly if two members of a team have fallen out or just cannot see eye to eye. For the sake of overall performance and productivity, it is important to resolve such situations quickly and effectively before they spiral out of control.
20. Be a good listener
As a manager, you should not only have to be the one talking, you also need to be able to listen to what your team has to stay. It could be on issues concerning work, or something more personal. Either way, it’s important you’re available to your staff and are willing to listen and support them in any way you can.
If someone doesn’t agree with your management style or doesn’t like the direction of the company, don’t silence that person. Listen and ask the required questions. An open dialogue makes it easier to proactively identify problems and work together to create a mutually beneficial environment. It will also make your employees feel appreciated and acknowledged.
21. Build on people’s strengths
A lot of managers target the weaknesses of employees and talk about how to improve them. You should distinguish yourself by paying special attention to core areas that represent the strength of your subordinates. This will encourage them and this is how you will receive your biggest return on investment.
22. Lighten up a bit
Without a doubt, running a company is serious business. Products and services must be sold and delivered, and money must be made. Despite the gravity of these responsibilities, successful leaders make their organizations fun places to work. Instead of having employees who look for every possible reason to call in sick or to arrive to work late or go home early, organizations work hard and play hard end up with a more loyal, energized workforce.
23. Encourage all opinions and ideas
The more people you have actively participating in discussions and attempting to make improvements to the organization, the better. Never chastise a team member for voicing an opinion respectfully, even if it goes against your original vision or isn’t well thought out. Cutting someone down for voicing an opinion builds resentment, and discourages people from sharing their own new thoughts.
24. Learn not to brook excuses
Whenever you challenge yourself or others to raise the bar and get better results, excuses would usually crop up. Hold yourself and others to a high standard of excellence in every aspect of the business for long term success. Be on high alert for mediocrity and excuse making and banish it from your company or department as quickly as possible. Doing well in one area is not an excuse for poor performance or sloppy work in another.
25. Get organized
Being organized is one attribute every successful person has. To be effective as a manager of a company, you must have to be organized. If you aren’t organized in your position, there is a good chance that the employees you manage won’t be either. There are many resources online that can inspire you to get organized. You can also buy a personal planner or download an app on your phone that can remind you of meetings and tasks you need to complete every day, etc.
26. Be consistent always
This is the first rule because it applies to almost everyone. Before your management approach can be effective, it must be consistent. You must reward the same behaviors every time they appear, discourage the same behaviors when they appear and treat every member of your team with an equal, level-headed view.
27. Strive for greatness
Striving for greatness as a manager should top every manager’s goal list. The difference that a great manager can make in the work lives of employees is inestimable. Helping employees feel rewarded, recognized, and thanked is also key to performing effectively as a manager.
28. Be a leader
The most important issue in management success, however, is being a person that others want to follow. Every action you take during your career in an organization helps determine whether people will one day want to follow you.
Without followers, you cannot lead and manage. Again, you should know how to create an environment in which people experience positive morale and recognition and employees are motivated to work hard for the success of the business.
29. Be clear in your expectations
A very common complaint among team members with bad managers is that they are absolutely unclear about what is expected from them. A good manager sets clear objectives for his team. Every person on the team is communicated his roles and responsibilities.
It may not always be important to micro-manage people by telling people what exactly needs to be done to get there. But a good manager is very clear about the destination. It may not be important to tell your team member what to do to get there, but it’s important to let him know the end result.
30. Fish out talents
The success of any organization depends on the talent it can attract and keep. Great managers also need to be great leaders who can identify and nurture talent. It’s like picking up a rough diamond and polishing it to make it look sharp. Sometimes, team members themselves are not aware of their talents. In those situations, it becomes the Managers prerogative to identify their natural strengths and encourage them to develop it.
31. Be financially savvy
An effective manager understands the financial aspects of the business and sets goals, measures and documents staff progress and success. This allows the team to feel a sense of progress, that they are reaching goals and exceeding expectations. People want to know how they are performing against expectations at work.
32. Help people enjoy work
You don’t need a pool table or dress code abolition to make work fun. You can make the workday more enjoyable with such new elements as surprise lunch outings, a dedicated break room or even just casual conversations with your workers. Help your people enjoy coming to work, and they’ll do their best work for you.
33. Always show appreciation
An effective manager should always show their appreciation to staff for a job well done. A simple ‘thank you’ can make a big difference to many employees, but where possible, provide positive feedback too. Expressing gratitude can help develop loyalty, boost motivation and productivity within your team.
34. Be transparent and trustworthy
Transparency shows your integrity as a leader, and builds trust with the individual members of your team. If you lie about something, or withhold information, you could jeopardize your relationships and the respect you command as a leader.
Being open and transparent is part of setting a good example. If your employees believe they are being misled, or information is being withheld, this can lead to a breakdown of trust and undermine the employer/employee relationship.