Five strengths to cultivate to be a better manager
Are you a natural born leader? Someone people instinctively trust, respect, and follow
Or are you a manager who has to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses in order to continuously enhance your professional performance?
Though some people are undoubtedly born with natural leadership skills, most of us fall into the second category. But that’s totally fine, because when you have to make conscious decisions about how to improve, you can effectively create strategies that allow you to do so. And the truth is, it’s critical that you keep trying to improve. As Britt Andreatta states in her Entrepreneur article titled “5 Ways to Become a Better Manager,” ineffective managers are responsible for diminished employee engagement and increased turnover. The most-often cited reason for leaving a job is a bad supervisor, and on top of all of that, one-fifth of all employees feel their supervisors have a negative impact on their careers.
Whether those statistics come as a shock to you or not, it’s logical that the better manager you are, the more engaged and loyal your employees will be—and the better their performance. Moreover, when you’re an effective manager, it greatly improves the overall workplace experience for your employees. It reduces their stress and increases their enjoyment in their work. All in all, when you get better at your job, the situation improves for all concerned… and that’s a real a win-win. Here are five strengths to cultivate to become a better manager:
- Learn how to recognize employees’ most productive ways of working. Being a good manager isn’t about enforcing rules; it’s about getting the best out of your people. Accommodating each individual’s work preferences goes a long way to maximizing their productivity. Some employees do really well when keeping themselves to themselves in a cubicle. Others prefer to listen to music while working at a standing desk; and still others prefer to work in teams of two or three. Then there are people who need flex work arrangements that allow them to keep earlier or later office hours, and those who do well when they work from home a couple of days a week. Invest in finding out what your people’s preferences are, and if accommodating them truly enhances their productivity, keep doing so.
- Be transparent. As the supervisor, you’re the link between your people and middle and upper management. It goes without saying that your team looks to you to be kept in the loop in regard to important company developments. Make a point of keeping them informed, both when it comes to positive news and negative news. Also, if something’s clearly in the works but you can’t discuss it, say so. In addition, be clear on your expectations. If you expect high standards from one employee, you should expect it from all—and most definitely from yourself.
- Stay agile. It’s easy to get “stuck” in set ways of doing things, especially when you don’t regularly welcome new employees to the team. However, especially with constantly evolving technology, new, more efficient, and more effective ways of doing things are being developed every day. Stay agile by never responding right away to a suggested change, but instead, looking at it from all angles and determining how it could benefit your team and your company.
- Learn how to delegate. There are only so many hours in a day—and chances are, you’re already putting in overtime. That’s why you need to learn how to delegate. Determine which of your employees can handle what kinds of responsibilities, and gauge whether they have the bandwidth to take on additional work. When necessary, hand off those tasks that they can take on, and keep the responsibilities that you absolutely have to fulfill yourself.
- Learn how to handle conflict effectively. As Victor Lipman points out in his Forbes article titled “6 Fundamentals That Can Make You a Better Manager in 2014,” conflict resolution is a key managerial skill. Employees gain respect for managers who address difficult situations head on and in a fair manner. If this is something you feel you need assistance with, ask your employer to send you to conflict resolution training.
Any one of the aforementioned strengths will help make you a better manager. However, by cultivating all five in a natural manner, you’ll be an inspiration by example to those you most want to see perform well.