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Keys To Become A Great Manager Today - Managerial Excellence 101

Embark on the journey to excellence - discover key strategies and insights to become a great manager today. Elevate your leadership skills, foster a positive work environment, and inspire your team to success.

Dec 11, 202317.2K Shares229.7K ViewsWritten By: Alastair Martin
Jump to
  1. Be Inclusive
  2. Know Your Team
  3. Delegate Tasks To The Right Team Members
  4. Practice Active Listening
  5. They Bring Out The Best In Their Team
  6. Hold Yourself Accountable
  7. Know When To Push (And When To Stop)
  8. They Set Up The Team For Success
  9. Keep Your Employees Engaged
  10. Protect The Team
  11. Mistakes A Great Manager Should Never Make
  12. Become A Great Manager Today - FAQs
  13. In A Nutshell
Keys To Become A Great Manager Today - Managerial Excellence 101

In the dynamic and competitive landscape of the professional world, the role of a manager has never been more critical. Effective leadershipis not just a skill; it's an ongoing commitment to personal and professional growth. Whether you're a seasoned manager looking to refine your skills or an aspiring leader ready to step into a managerial role, the journey to become a great manager todaystarts.

In this article, we will explore key strategies that can empower you to navigate the challenges of leadership, foster a positive work environment, and inspire your team to achieve remarkable success. Becoming a great manager is not a destination but a continuous journey, and the first step starts now.

Be Inclusive

Cultivating an inclusive workplace is crucial for building a diverse and dynamic team. A positive organizational culture, where every team member feels respected and valued, not only enhances employee engagement but also contributes to the overall quality of work produced. An engaged team is a happy team, and fostering inclusivity is key to achieving this harmony.

To create an inclusive work environment, focus on developing your emotional intelligence. Elevating your emotional intelligence facilitates improved collaboration, enhanced interpersonal relationships, and effective communication. Here are actionable steps to build and apply emotional intelligence in the workplace:

  • Open and Honest Conversations -Engage in transparent discussions with your teammates about their feelings regarding work and team dynamics. Establishing open communication channels builds trust and a sense of security within the team.
  • Dedicated Time for Conversations and Feedback -Create designated time for team members to share their thoughts and provide feedback. This practice fosters a supportive atmosphere and reinforces the importance of open communication.
  • Empowerment and Recognition -Acknowledge and empower your teammates by recognizing their ideas and contributions. Making individuals feel valued for their unique perspectives and efforts enhances a positive team culture.
  • Acknowledging Unique Qualities -Recognize and leverage each team member's distinctive qualities. Assign tasks that align with their specific skill sets, promoting a collaborative environment where everyone's strengths are utilized.
  • Establishing Inclusive Group Norms -Set group norms that encourage inclusivity and respect. Outline expectations for communication and collaboration, creating a framework for a supportive team culture.
  • Diversity in CareerPaths -Seek team members with diverse career paths. Bringing together individuals with varied experiences and skills enhances creativity and innovation within the team.

Pro Tip- Creating an inclusive environment is an ongoing process. Establish and communicate group norms to guide your team, but remember that continuous effort is essential for maintaining a comfortable and honest team dynamic. Take advantage of any available organizational training on team synergy or conflict resolution to keep learning and evolving as a leader.

Know Your Team

A man in black coat typing on a laptop wtalking to two people
A man in black coat typing on a laptop wtalking to two people

Understanding your team on a personal and professional level is a cornerstone of effective leadership. It goes beyond merely managing tasks; it's about building a foundation of trust and open communication that minimizes misunderstandings and fosters a harmonious work environment.

While you don't have to be your employees' best friend, gaining a comprehensive view of their lives enhances your ability to lead with empathy and insight. To truly know your team, consider exploring the following aspects:

  • Work Preferences -Understand how your team members prefer to work. Some may thrive in collaborative settings with frequent follow-ups, while others may excel when working independently. Tailoring your approach to their work style enhances productivity and job satisfaction.
  • Skills and Strengths -Recognize and leverage the unique skills and strengths of each team member. This not only ensures that tasks are assigned strategically but also empowers individuals to contribute meaningfully to the team's success.
  • Communication Styles -Be attuned to varied communication styles within your team. Some may prefer direct and concise communication, while others may appreciate more detailed discussions. Adapting your communication style promotes effective dialogue and understanding.
  • Opportunities for Development -Discuss with your team members their aspirations for professional growth. Identifying areas for development and providing opportunities for skill enhancement not only benefits individuals but also strengthens the team as a whole.
  • Career Goals -Gain insights into your team's long-term career goals. Understanding their aspirations helps you align their individual objectives with broader team and organizational objectives, creating a shared sense of purpose.
  • Motivations -Explore what motivates each team member. Whether it's recognition, challenging projects, or opportunities for leadership, tailoring your management approach to individual motivations enhances engagement and commitment.
  • Interests and Passions -Learn about the personal interests and passions of your team members. This knowledge allows you to create a more enriching work experience, fostering a connection between the professional and personal aspects of their lives.
  • Responsibilities Outside of Work -Acknowledge and respect the responsibilities your team members have outside of the workplace. Being aware of their commitments enables you to be more understanding and supportive during challenging times.

Delegate Tasks To The Right Team Members

Effectively delegating tasks is a cornerstone of successful management, emphasizing collaboration and leveraging the strengths of your team members.

Acknowledging that the execution of projects and plans is a collective effort, a manager's role extends beyond solitary responsibilities to orchestrating a symphony of skills within the team. To enhance your delegation strategy, consider the following insights:

  • Identifying Strengths -Go beyond surface-level assessments of your team's capabilities. Conduct a thorough evaluation of each member's strengths, skills, and expertise. Recognizing individual talents allows you to strategically match tasks with the most suitable team members.
  • Resource Allocation -Successful delegation goes hand in hand with providing the necessary resources. Ensure that those to whom you delegate tasks have access to the tools, information, and support required for successful completion. This proactive approach minimizes obstacles and enhances productivity.
  • Clear Communication -Transparent communication is pivotal in delegation. Clearly articulate expectations, deadlines, and desired outcomes. Encourage an open channel for questions and feedback, fostering a collaborative environment where team members feel comfortable seeking clarification.
  • Empowerment and Trust -Delegation is not just about assigning tasks; it's about empowering your team. Trust your team members to handle responsibilities autonomously. This not only boosts their confidence but also frees them to focus on strategic aspects of management.
  • Availability for Support -While trusting your team is crucial, maintaining an open line of support is equally important. Be available to answer questions, provide guidance, and address any challenges that may arise. This balance ensures a collaborative workflow without unnecessary micromanagement.
  • Resisting Micromanagement - Tempting as it may be to oversee every detail, effective managers resist the urge to micromanage. Allow your team members the space to showcase their capabilities and problem-solving skills. This approach cultivates a culture of autonomy and accountability.
  • Continuous Learning -Embrace a mindset of continuous learning in your delegation practices. Reflect on the outcomes of past delegations, identify areas for improvement, and adjust your approach accordingly. This iterative process contributes to the refinement of your managerial skills over time.
  • Project Management Tools -Consider utilizing project management tools to streamline task assignments, track progress, and facilitate collaboration. These tools enhance efficiency and transparency, providing a centralized platform for communication and project oversight.

Practice Active Listening

Two women wearing a coat while looking at a paper with laptop in front of them
Two women wearing a coat while looking at a paper with laptop in front of them

Active listening is a foundational and often underestimated skill in effective team management. While it might appear simple on the surface, true listening goes beyond merely hearing words - it is a nuanced skill that, when honed, can profoundly impact communication, collaboration, and trust within a team.

Understanding the nuances of listening involves recognizing four types: empathetic, appreciative, comprehensive, and critical. To elevate your managerial prowess, it is crucial to emphasize empathetic listening, specifically practicing active listening.

Active listening entails more than just hearing; it involves listening with the genuine intent to fully comprehend what the other person is conveying. As a manager, adopting active listening practices enhances your ability to connect with your team on a deeper level. Here are key strategies to enhance your active listening skills:

  • Prioritize Understanding -Focus on understanding the message rather than formulating your response. Avoid preoccupation with your own thoughts and concentrate on comprehending the speaker's perspective.
  • Open-Ended Questions -Encourage meaningful dialogue by asking open-ended questions. These inquiries invite your team members to share more details, providing you with a comprehensive understanding of their thoughts and concerns.
  • Paraphrase and Summarize -Demonstrate your commitment to understanding by paraphrasing or summarizing what you've heard. This not only confirms your comprehension but also shows that you value and respect the speaker's perspective.
  • Minimize Distractions -Actively listen by minimizing distractions. Avoid multitasking or allowing external interruptions to detract from the conversation. Providing undivided attention reinforces the importance you place on the speaker's words.

Pro Tip- Active listening is a valuable skill in conflict resolution. In addition to paraphrasing and summarizing, incorporate "I" statements to express your own experience. For instance, say, "I felt like my feedback from this morning didn't resonate with you," rather than adopting accusatory language like "You didn't listen to me." This approach fosters a collaborative and non-confrontational atmosphere, facilitating more effective conflict resolution.

They Bring Out The Best In Their Team

Exceptional managers not only lead but also inspire. They transcend the limitations of bias, recognizing and celebrating the diverse strengths each individual brings to the team. Unlike poor managers who succumb to prejudice, effective leaders evaluate performance with impartiality and transparency, fostering a culture of fairness and equality within their teams.

Recognition is a cornerstone of great management. The best managers are adept at acknowledging and praising outstanding performance. They understand the power of positive reinforcement and ensure that credit is given where it's due. Even in moments of addressing weaknesses, these managers employ constructive criticism, guiding employees to recognize mistakes and motivating them to rectify and improve.

In addition to providing constructive feedback, outstanding managers prioritize the establishment of an effective performance review process. This process not only serves as a tool for fair evaluation but also as an opportunity to express gratitude for employees' valuable contributions. Recognizing hard work and dedication and appropriately rewarding success are hallmarks of a manager committed to enhancing team morale.

Crucially, great managers go beyond the formalities of performance evaluation. They cultivate a culture of respect, demonstrating to their team that each member is a valuable asset to the organization. This respect extends to celebrating even the smallest achievements, creating an environment where every contribution is valued.

As a manager, fostering belief in your team is paramount. Even when external validation is lacking, a manager's unwavering confidence can be a powerful motivator. By instilling trust and confidence in your team, you unleash their full potential, bringing out the best in each member.

Hold Yourself Accountable

A woman wearing a black coat on a phone while writing on a paper
A woman wearing a black coat on a phone while writing on a paper

In the realm of leadership, acknowledging imperfections within your team and their work is a pivotal aspect of effective management. As the team leader, the mantle of responsibility falls squarely on your shoulders, demanding a commitment to accountability—one of the more challenging skills to master in leadership. Taking accountability extends beyond the direct creation of work; it encompasses a willingness to shoulder responsibility for any missteps that occur under your watch.

While it may seem like a burden, embracing accountability offers a unique opportunity for leadership growth and team development. Taking responsibility for your team's mistakes isn't just about shouldering blame; it's a catalyst for learning and improvement.

This approach not only builds trust within the team but also creates a culture where experimentation and creative risks are encouraged. It's within these environments that the seeds of the best ideas often sprout. Here are key insights to enhance your understanding of accountability as a manager:

  • Learning from Mistakes -Accountability is a powerful tool for transforming mistakes into valuable learning experiences. By openly acknowledging errors, you set the stage for constructive reflection and improvement, contributing to the continuous growth of your team.
  • Building Trust -Taking responsibility for both successes and setbacks fosters a sense of trust within your team. When team members see that you stand by them in the face of challenges, it creates an environment where they feel supported and motivated to contribute their best efforts.
  • Encouraging Creativity and Risk-Taking -A culture of accountability encourages a fearless approach to creativity and risk-taking. Team members are more likely to innovate and explore new ideas when they know that mistakes won't be met with blame but rather with a collaborative effort to understand and rectify the situation.

Pro Tip- Accountability is not just a moral stance; it's a strategic move. Rapid problem-solving is a cornerstone of effective management, and acknowledging accountability is the first step toward finding solutions. As a manager, engaging in problem management after taking responsibility ensures that you not only address the current issue but also implement preventive measures to avoid similar mistakes in the future.

Know When To Push (And When To Stop)

In the delicate dance of managerial leadership, the ability to discern when to push and when to ease off is a hallmark of the best managers. It's a nuanced skill that involves guiding your team to meet ambitious goals, KPIs, and OKRs while also recognizing the signs of burnout and the need for respite.

The dichotomy of pushing for productivity and supporting moments of slowdown requires a keen understanding of both the overarching objectives and the individual needs of your team members. Here are key insights to enhance your grasp of this managerial balancing act:

  • Setting Clear Expectations -Effective management begins with clear communication. Outline expectations and deadlines in advance, ensuring that your team understands the objectives they need to achieve. Clarity minimizes confusion and empowers your team to plan effectively.
  • Centralized Source of Information -To facilitate smooth operations, save all project-related information in a central source accessible to everyone. This reduces the likelihood of miscommunication and allows team members to reference details at any given time. A centralized source serves as a repository for expectations, deadlines, and project timelines.
  • Flexibility in Planning -Recognize that the dynamic nature of projects may necessitate changes in plans. Stay flexible and build extra time into project calendars to accommodate unexpected shifts or the need for breaks. This proactive approach ensures that your team can navigate changes without compromising the quality of their work.
  • Individualized Understanding- Know your team members on an individual level. Recognize their strengths, weaknesses, and work preferences. This insight enables you to tailor your management approach, identifying when individuals might benefit from a push to meet deadlines or when they require a supportive environment for rejuvenation.
  • Monitoring for Burnout -Keep a vigilant eye on the well-being of your team. Research indicates that burnout is a prevalent issue in the modern workplace, and as a manager, it's your responsibility to identify signs of exhaustion or stress. Intervene proactively by encouraging breaks, providing additional support, or adjusting workloads as needed.

Pro Tip- Regularly check in with your team to gauge their workload and stress levels. Encourage open communication about their capacity and potential challenges. By fostering an environment where team members feel comfortable expressing their needs, you create a culture of transparency and collaboration.

They Set Up The Team For Success

A woman wearing a white polo talking on a meeting
A woman wearing a white polo talking on a meeting

Exceptional managers go beyond merely inspiring their teams; they actively set the stage for unparalleled success. Their approach is not just about encouraging collaboration and efficiency but strategically preparing their team for a journey towards excellence.

These managers are unwavering in their commitment to achieving the highest standards, focusing not only on the collective team goal but also on the individual performances that contribute to the overarching success. Here's a deeper dive into how these managers orchestrate success within their teams:

  • Holistic Team Building -Success is not a singular achievement but a collective effort. Great managers understand this and prioritize holistic team building. They bring together crucial elements like effective communication, seamless collaboration, clarity in roles and expectations, and a foundation of trust. By addressing these key aspects, they ensure that the team is well-equipped for the challenges and triumphs ahead.
  • Individual Performance Alignment -While emphasizing the collective goal, excellent managers recognize the importance of individual contributions. They focus on aligning individual strengths and skills with specific tasks, maximizing the overall effectiveness of the team. This personalized approach not only enhances performance but also fosters a sense of purpose among team members.
  • Purposeful Leadership -Success is rooted in purpose, and exceptional managers ensure that their teams understand the significance of their efforts. By articulating a clear vision and connecting individual tasks to the broader organizational objectives, these leaders instill a sense of purpose that propels the team toward success.
  • Collaborative Excellence -Successful managers grasp the reality that true success is a collaborative endeavor. They inspire a culture of collaboration, where team members appreciate the value of working together synergistically. This collaborative spirit not only accelerates productivity but also sparks creativity and innovation.
  • Continuous Motivation -Excellence is not a one-time achievement; it's a continuous journey. Exceptional managers understand this and keep their teams motivated throughout the process. Whether through recognition, constructive feedback, or opportunities for growth, they ensure that the team remains energized and focused on their path to success.
  • Adaptability and Resilience -The journey to success is often marked by unforeseen challenges. Great managers equip their teams with the skills of adaptability and resilience. By fostering a culture that embraces change and views setbacks as opportunities for growth, these managers ensure that their teams navigate challenges with fortitude.

Keep Your Employees Engaged

Maintaining a high level of employee engagement is not just a nicety; it's a strategic imperative for the sustained success and profitability of any business. Effective managers recognize the pivotal role that engaged and motivated employees play in enhancing job satisfaction and, subsequently, elevating overall productivity.

Consider this - highly engaged businessunits are reported to experience a remarkable 21 percent greater profitability. Despite this compelling correlation between engagement and business success, a global Gallup survey reveals that only 15 percent of employees worldwide feel engaged in their jobs. For managers aiming to harness the power of motivated teams to achieve organizational goals, addressing this engagement gap becomes a paramount challenge.

To foster and enhance employee engagement, managers must prioritize methods that empower their teams. Here's a deeper exploration:

  • Voice and Input -One of the most impactful ways to bolster engagement is by allowing your team members' voices to be heard. Actively seek their input on critical decisions and initiatives. This not only fosters a sense of inclusivity but also taps into the diverse perspectives and insights your team brings to the table.
  • Inclusive Decision-Making -Involving your team in the decision-making process is more than a symbolic gesture; it's a powerful strategy. When team members participate in decisions that impact their work, they feel a sense of ownership and accountability. This, in turn, cultivates a workplace culture where individuals are more likely to invest themselves emotionally and intellectually in the success of the organization.
  • Contributions to Success -Empowering your team to contribute directly to organizational success is a potent motivator. Recognize and celebrate their contributions, no matter how small. This acknowledgment reinforces the idea that each team member plays a vital role in the collective achievements of the group.
  • Ongoing Empowerment -Employee engagement is not a one-time effort but an ongoing commitment. Establish channels for continuous feedback and communication. Encourage open dialogue about challenges, successes, and areas for improvement. This creates a culture where team members feel valued and supported, further fueling their engagement.
  • Personalized Development Opportunities -Recognize and invest in the individual growth of your team members. Tailor development opportunities to their interests and aspirations. This not only demonstrates your commitment to their professional journey but also enhances their skills and capabilities, making them more valuable contributors to the team.
  • Recognition and Rewards -Regularly acknowledge and reward outstanding performance. Recognition is a powerful tool for reinforcing positive behaviors and motivating continued excellence. It also creates a positive work environment where team members feel appreciated and motivated to consistently give their best.

Protect The Team

Being a leader means more than just overseeing a team—it entails a profound responsibility for both their triumphs and challenges. While celebrating the team's successes is an essential aspect of leadership, a truly effective leader goes further by sharing those victories with the team, recognizing that each win is a collective achievement.

Equally, when the road gets tough and mistakes are made, a good leader doesn't deflect blame but takes responsibility, showcasing accountability and fostering a culture of shared ownership. Here's a deeper exploration of how exceptional leaders protect and guide their teams:

  • Shared Success and Failures -True leadership is a shared journey. Celebrate victories collectively, emphasizing that each team member contributed to the success. Simultaneously, absorb the failures, shielding the team from undue criticism and instilling confidence that, as a leader, you stand alongside them in every circumstance.
  • Empowering the Team -Empowerment is the cornerstone of effective leadership. Encourage your team to take the reins in driving for success. Provide them with the autonomy to make decisions and execute tasks. This not only fosters a sense of ownership but also unlocks the full potential of individual team members.
  • Taking Responsibility -Leading from the front requires the courage to take responsibility when things go awry. Acknowledge mistakes and setbacks with humility, demonstrating to the team that accountability is a shared value. This openness fosters a culture where individuals feel safe to learn from errors and collectively work towards improvement.
  • Supporting in Tough Times -In challenging situations, a good leader doesn't merely delegate tasks; they actively step in to support the team. Whether it's providing additional resources, offering guidance, or directly engaging in problem-solving, showing solidarity during tough times strengthens the bond between leader and team.
  • Adapting to Unique Personalities -The dynamics of a team are often shaped by the diverse personalities within it. A skilled leader recognizes the uniqueness of each team member and adapts their management approach accordingly. Understanding and appreciating diverse personalities contribute to a harmonious and productive team environment.
  • Consideration in Team Dynamics -Whether leading a small or global team, effective managers are considerate of the various dynamics at play. They navigate the intricacies of team relationships, fostering an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and heard.

Mistakes A Great Manager Should Never Make

A woman wearing a black outfit in an office
A woman wearing a black outfit in an office

Navigating the complex terrain of management involves more than just executing tasks; it requires a keen awareness of potential pitfalls to avoid. Even seasoned managers can unknowingly make mistakes that impact their teams negatively. Let's delve into some of these critical errors that a good manager should never make:

Micromanagement

Micromanagement, a common pitfall, stifles creativity and autonomy within a team. A survey by Trinity Solutionsrevealed that a staggering 79% of respondents experienced micromanagement. The memories of managers peering over shoulders evoke frustration. No employee relishes micromanagement; it sends a signal that they are not trusted.

Good managers recognize the need for a balance between oversight and freedom. Intrusive observations and exhaustive communication breed doubt, paranoia, and a sense of defeat in employees. To foster skill development, managers must show complete faith in their team members, allowing them the freedom to innovate and excel.

Spoon-feeding Solutions

The spoon-feeding solution is a managerial misstep that hinders growth. Some managers habitually offer solutions, depriving team members of the opportunity to develop problem-solving skills. This practice inhibits critical thinking and prevents employees from taking ownership of challenges.

Effective managers avoid acting as omnipresent problem-solvers and encourage team members to think independently. Empowering employees to find solutions on their own fosters a culture of innovation and initiative.

Failing To Define Goals

Poor planning and undefined goals create chaos within a team. Managers who neglect goal-setting leave employees adrift, struggling to prioritize work and comprehend its significance. This lack of direction results in random task completion, impeding productivity and hindering career growth.

However, goal-setting requires finesse. Ambitious and unattainable objectives can lead to frustration. Good managers strike a balance, setting clear, achievable goals that provide direction and purpose. Recognizing and rewarding employees for goal achievement reinforces a positive work environment.

Leading With An Egoistic Mindset

Arrogant managers, driven by hubris, create conflict and disconnect within their teams. The belief that seniority equates to superior skill breeds a sense of superiority, alienating team members. An inflated ego narrows perspective, impeding effective communication and collaboration.

Good managers embody humility, recognizing that leadership is a collaborative effort. They acknowledge the expertise within their teams, fostering an inclusive environment where ideas are valued, and each team member feels heard and appreciated.

Displaying Blatant Favoritism

Office politics and favoritism undermine workplace morale. Employees demoralized by promotions based on personal relationships, rather than merit, lose faith in the fairness of the organization. Favoritism sends the wrong signal, implying that hard work alone won't yield career growth.

Good managers prioritize fairness, recognizing and rewarding talent impartially. They create a merit-based environment where career advancement is tied to competence and effort rather than personal connections. This approach builds trust and a positive team culture.

Become A Great Manager Today - FAQs

How Can A Manager Improve Team Collaboration?

Managers can enhance team collaboration by fostering open communication, establishing clear goals, promoting a positive team culture, and leveraging collaboration tools.

What Role Does Feedback Play In Becoming A Great Manager?

Feedback is crucial for a great manager; it provides insights for improvement, strengthens communication, and fosters a culture of continuous learning and development.

How Can A Manager Balance Authority And Approachability?

Balancing authority and approachability involves setting clear expectations while maintaining an open-door policy, actively listening to team members, and showing empathy in leadership decisions.

Are Leadership And Management Skills The Same?

While related, leadership and management skills differ. Managers focus on tasks and processes, while leaders inspire and motivate, often combining both aspects for effective team management.

In A Nutshell

In the ever-evolving world of management, the pursuit of greatness is a journey without a final destination. As we conclude this exploration into becoming a great manager, it's essential to recognize that the principles discussed here are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Each manager's path is unique, shaped by experiences, challenges, and a commitment to continuous improvement. Embrace the challenges, celebrate the victories, and always be open to learning.

Becoming a great manager is not a static achievement but an ongoing process - one that transforms not only your leadership style but also the very fabric of the teams you lead. Today marks the beginning of your journey, armed with insights and strategies to shape the leader you aspire to be. The future of great management lies in your hands; go forth and lead with purpose, passion, and an unwavering commitment to excellence.

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