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 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.

Work With What You Have

As a manager, you are only as good as the people on your team. The majority of the time, you don't get to choose who works for you. They may not meet your standards or desires for your team, but they were hired for a reason and they are yours.

Work with all of your people to identify areas that need improvement. Once you have identified the areas that individuals need to focus on, develop goals for them to strive for while working.

Motivate Your Team

A desirable trait for a leader is motivation. If you are motivated, your team stands a better chance to become motivated and buy-in to the ideas and tasks you are selling to them.

For team members, the buy-in is a belief in what they are doing. For your team to buy-in to the work, you have to buy into it as well. A leader that does not portray belief in a task will receive shoddy results.

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. Develop your team-building skills, and then approach every day as a day the team wins or loses together.

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.

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. To work on getting your point across, prepare your points ahead of time, and practice them out loud.

Monitor 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 understanding how to manage the company's money. This could include knowing your part of the budget or researching ways to save the company money in your department.

Monitor the Time

The one thing you will probably have less of at work than money is time. The better you get at managing time, the more effective you will be as a manager. Time management, in a nutshell, is planning the amount of time you and your team spend on tasks. Once you plan it, do your best to stick to it.

Improve Yourself

Don't focus so hard on your people that you forget about yourself. Identify the areas in which you need to work and improve them. Some ideas to help you identify your weaknesses are regular counseling sessions with your boss, communicating with your peers about areas you can work on or researching some leadership techniques and adopting the ones you like.

Practice Ethical Management

Corporate scandals of the last half-century have driven home the point on the importance of ethical conduct in business. Strive to be ethical, and expect your team members to be as well. You may have to enforce ethical behavior and at times report unethical actions.

Take Reflection Time

One of the keys to effective leadership and management is setting aside some time for reflection. When you turn down the volume and think, instead of acting, you will usually be able to calm yourself down and create options or actions that will best suit the situation you are confronted with. Take the time to think and consider your actions, reactions, and your next steps.