10 Ways to Be a Better Manager

Workers talking in warehouse
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Managing is a skill that can be learned. Every day, pick just one of these 10 ways to improve your skills. Work on it. Then pick another one. You’ll be a better manager before you know it, and others will notice, too.

Select the Best People

As a manager, you are only as good as the people on your team. Give yourself a better chance to succeed by picking the best people from the start.

Be a Motivator

Human beings do things because they want to. Sometimes they only want to because the consequences of not doing it are sure to be unpleasant. However, most of the time they do things because of what they get out of it.

It's no different at work. People do good work for pay, prestige, or recognition. They do bad work because they want to take it easy and still get paid. They work hard because they want to impress someone.

To motivate your people, figure out what motivates them, and give them that if you can.

Build Your Team

It is not enough that each person is motivated to succeed. They need to work together as a team to accomplish the group's objective. If they could get it done individually, they wouldn’t need you to manage them. Improve your team building skills.

Be a Leader

You have built the best team from the best employee available. You motivated them to peak performance. What is missing? Motivating a team is useless unless you provide direction. You need to turn that motivation towards a goal and lead the team to it. It is the ability to lead others that truly sets a manager apart. Leaders are found at all levels of the organization. You want to be one of them.

Be a Communicator

Communication may be the single most important skill of a manager. You can't be a leader if you can't communicate your vision. You can't motivate people if they can't understand what you want. Communication skills can be improved through practice. Work on getting your point across.

Keep an Eye on the Money

Most managers are expected to help the company make money, directly or indirectly. That means bringing money in the door and spending less than you bring in. Depending on your function in the organization, you may have more influence on one area or the other, but you need to understand both. You can help your company, your employees, and yourself by getting better at managing the company's money.

Don't be put off by the fact that it's math. If you don't know the basics of money management, start learning.

Keep an Eye on the Time

The one thing you will probably have less of at work than money is time. The better you get at managing time, your own and that of others, the more effective you will be as a manager. Here are two key skills. You don’t need a degree in project management, but you might benefit from a course in project management 101.

Improve Yourself

Don't focus so hard on your people that you forget about yourself. Identify the areas in which you are weak and improve them. The fact that you are reading this article shows you understand the concept. You need to put it into practice.

Practice Ethical Management

Scandals like the collapse of Enron have driven home the point about how important ethics is in business. Whatever you do or don’t do, be honest. Be decent. To your team members, to your customers, to your co-workers, and to your bosses.

Take a Break

You are less effective as a manager if you are over-stressed. You are less tolerant. You snap at people. No one wants to be anywhere near you. Take a break. Give yourself a chance to relax and recharge your batteries. Your increased productivity when you return will more than make up for the time you take off.

So have a good laugh or go lie on a beach somewhere.