Part of being a good manager involves the ability to develop, motivate, and optimize your subordinates. While this comes naturally to some people, others will need to carefully develop their people management skills. In many cases, that involves identifying the traits of a good leader and then looking for ways to improve those skills in yourself. Keep the following things in mind in order to become effective in the area of managing people.
#1. Seek Advice from Seasoned Managers
As a new manager, you may feel as though you have already come a long way in your career. That doesn’t mean you still do not have much to learn. Who better to acquire knowledge from than a seasoned manager or supervisor who already knows the ropes and has probably has a few missteps along the way?
Many in your organization are probably full of stories about how things might have been different if only they had known certain information early on. Most will likely be willing to share their stories and provide you with guidance that can help you avoid making similar mistakes.
#2. Get Organized
It’s hard to manage others when you cannot even manage the items on your own agenda. Not only that, but people are sometimes unwilling to follow an unorganized manager. Accordingly, one of the first things you should do after talking with more experienced leaders is to get organized. In particular, you should develop a strategy for meeting deadlines and setting goals to ensure you are not embarrassed about your lack of progress.
#3. Learn to Delegate Appropriately
Part of getting organized could require you to delegate certain tasks. When used effectively, delegation can free up hours in your schedule, while also making your employees feel important. However, delegating ineffectively might cause others to think that you are shirking your duties or trying to pass responsibility.
Consider an employee’s skills and experience when deciding whether or not to delegate a task. Never pass off sensitive tasks for which there could be serious repercussions if things went wrong. Some examples include performance reviews or making long-term planning decisions.
#4. Develop Good Listening Skills
Good listening skills are essential for building trust among others. If you can listen effectively, others will feel as though you care about them, and will therefore be more willing to go the extra mile for you. A good listener does more than just hear what other people are saying. He or she will also pay attention to body language to get the full picture. Some ways to improve your listening abilities include:
- Putting away distractions so that the other person has your full attention.
- Maintaining good eye contact.
- Allowing that individual to speak without interruptions or judgment.
- Maintaining an open mind. Try to view the conversation from the other party’s point of view whenever possible.
- Not giving solutions until you have had a chance to hear all of the information.
- Briefing the subject matter back to ensure you heard and understood everything correctly.
#5. Become an Effective Communicator
Listening and communicating go hand in hand; however, they are not quite the same thing. Having good communication skills means you are able to clearly express yourself both orally and in writing. Some ways in which you can improve your communication skills are:
- Having someone else read over your memos, emails, etc. to ensure you are getting the right message across.
- Videotaping yourself giving a short presentation. Review it to see if your body language and tone of voice match what you are trying to articulate.
- Keeping the message simple. Elaborate only when needed to clarify a point.
- Asking for feedback from your listeners. In doing so, you can make sure the message they received was the one you intended to deliver.
#6. Keep up with your People
You may assume that as long as everything is going smoothly, there is no need to check up on your employees. However, there are many reasons to keep up with your team members, even when it appears that nothing out of the ordinary is going on. The biggest reason is that it lets your workers know you are interested in them personally and not just what they can do for you. Other advantages include:
- Being able to spot small problems before they become overwhelming. As an example, you could identify issues that, if left unchecked, would make it difficult for you to meet a deadline.
- Keeping lines of communication open. This will make it easier for your employees to talk with you if a problem were to occur in the future.
- Getting immediate feedback about new policies and procedures so that you can better tweak them if possible.
#7. Use Praise and Criticism Appropriately
A study published in the American Behavioral Scientist reveals that when people receive more praise than criticism, their productivity goes up accordingly. In addition, the Harvard Business Review notes that giving praise can help leaders overcome their own serious weaknesses. That doesn’t mean you should never provide criticism, but rather that you should be careful how and when you do so. Some things to keep in mind when offering praise and criticism are:
- Give praise in public, but provide criticism in private whenever possible. If others must know about your criticism, limit it to only as few individuals as possible.
- Never make criticism personal. Focus on the behavior and not the employee.
- Provide encouragement and a plan of action for improving.
- Be honest when praising a subordinate. Do not make up complements just for the sake of having something positive to say. This can cause others to look at you as fake, in which case they may have a hard time believing you in the future.
#8. Know your Weaknesses and Ask for Help
Effective people management also requires knowing when to ask for outside help. That’s where we come in, providing you with high quality human resources, bookkeeping, and payroll functions. Focus on what you do best and leave the rest to us. To find out more, please contact us.