Your strategy to becoming a better manager

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The old adage ‘employees don’t leave their job; they leave their managers’ is still ringing loud and clear. And although there are a variety of reasons why people quit great jobs, the most common cited is directly linked to either the management or the lack of it.

To become the best leader you can be, you should be fearless, courageous, motivated and an effective mentor, but I appreciate this path is often bumpy, so here are my views to make it less so…

Talk less, listen more

Communication is a two-way street so as well as expressing yourself, you have to be able to listen to people, which is absolutely critical to creating the right work environment. With communication, or the lack of it, at the top of other common employee grievances, it would appear there is still a way to go.

I think you'd be amazed to find that many managers aren’t even aware that the people they manage feel that communication is lacking – this could be because they feel they can’t talk to you.

Good communication is arguably the most important leadership skill; it helps to define how your employees operate, how they perform and how they feel. It’s through this that you as the manager gain an understanding, which must be backed up the correct action. Ensure as a manager you don’t fall into the trap of ‘we’ve heard it all before and then nothing is done’.

To become a better manager you need to gauge how well you are doing – ask and they will still start telling you, which all helps you to improve your own leadership skills.

Sounds simple, but if you want high performing people and let’s face it, who doesn’t, you just need to listen to them (a lot) and respond correctly - they in turn will become fully committed and fully motivated to do the very best work.

Be inspirational

Successful companies have a common theme – they are able to inspire their employees, with the best managers having the ability to lead by example, as well as demonstrating that they fully understand the skillset and abilities needed for the success of the department.

‘Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing’ – Albert Einstein

Recognise your employees’ achievements and be passionate about their contributions. Make it a regular exercise and not just an annual review. A pat on the back goes a hell of a long way.

Build training and feedback around these achievements, refining by finding challenging activities to continually develop individuals.

Being decisive under pressure is a key quality in a manager, but fundamentally making and sticking to decisions when an emergency happens is critical. And although it is unlikely that you make the right decision every time, any ambiguity can seriously undermine your position within your team or peers.