How to be a Good Manager
Many people are promoted to a managerial position because they are good at their job. However, being a good manager, the subject of this blog, is very different from simply doing the same job at a higher level.
Managing people can be challenging and it doesn’t come naturally to everyone. However, the good news is that many of the skills that make a good manager can be learned.
Here are our top 10 tips for being a good manager:
- Learn how to communicate. Good, clear, concise communication is essential, both for staff under your control and your seniors. Never let problems fester. A good manager will ensure staff understand what is required of them, deal with any issues 1-2-1 and will never discuss other employees in a gossipy, unprofessional way.
- Direct and delegate. Don’t try to hold on to your old job description. Avoid getting bogged down in detail if your role is to create strategies and supervise others doing the work. But keep monitoring progress – don’t leave staff to flounder.
- Show professional care for your staff. Be aware of employee rights and responsibilities (see our blog: A guide to equality and diversity). Be empathetic and support staff who are struggling professionally or with personal issues, but don’t try to be everybody’s best friend.
- Ask for advice and give credit where it’s due. Staff on the front line may know more about a customer or situation than you, or come up with a good idea that will help the business. Make sure staff contributions are recognised and encourage teamwork and the sharing of ideas.
- Be organised. Colleagues will get frustrated if you arrive at a meeting late and unprepared, wasting their time (see our blog: Five tips for better timekeeping). Staff will rally round and work late in a genuine emergency, but they won’t thank you if they are kept behind because of your lack of organisation.
- Learn about conflict resolution. Every manager will encounter conflict between staff at some point – it’s your job to fix this or take the necessary disciplinary steps. Never criticise staff in front of their work colleagues; instead arrange a private meeting and ask them first to volunteer information about how they think the situation could be improved.
- Don’t be afraid to make decisions. Your team will look to you for guidance, so you need to have the courage of your convictions. Take time to think things through and take advice, but don’t shy away from making the final decision.
- Boost staff morale. As well as recognising staff achievements, involve your staff in business development and show you value their ideas and contributions.
- Play to your strengths. If you know you are good at developing strategies and looking at the bigger picture, delegate the detail of a project to your staff.
- Put yourself forward for training. Follow an apprenticeship in management or sign up for short training courses. Don’t think you’re too advanced to learn something new.
A good manager is an asset to a business and will help it to succeed, which is good for all involved. An additional bonus is that the skills you need to become a good manager are often transferrable and will stand you in good stead if you move to a new role or company.