Just because someone puts the word “Manager” in your title, does not mean you are actually a manager.
Managing people is a skill that not everyone will master, and it is certainly not something that you learn on your first go around. It can take years and sadly some never get the hang of it. There are definitely managers out there that are simply born people managers, but they are the exception, not the rule.
People are complex, they don’t all behave in the same way, they are not all motivated by the same things, they have their own values, ways of learning and communication styles. Because of these differences, the way in which they need to be managed will also differ. Some people will respond well to managers who just ask for tasks to be completed while others may interpret instructions and timelines differently again.
With this in mind, below are some tips and tricks on how to be a good manager:
Understand that managing staff requires a commitment in time. Be ok with that and always make time for them.
Don’t micromanage – your team has been hired to do a job, let them do it
Invest in your team – get to know them as individuals (what drives and motivates them)
Understand their career goals and see their potential
Hold regular WIP meetings, ensure all team members contribute
Hold regular 1:1’s with each of your team members, be present and listen
Focus on cultural fit when hiring new team members
Include your team in any recruitment of new staff to get their buy-in on cultural fit
Communicate clearly and regularly with emotional intelligence (it’s not what you say but how you say it)
Follow through and follow up (don’t overpromise and underdeliver)
Be as transparent as possible (this allows you to manage any change that may occur later)
Lead by example (if you don’t live your company values how can you expect your staff to?)
Manage conflict swiftly if it arises, doing nothing will infer that you condone the behaviour or simply don’t care or worse that you don’t know how to handle it
Demonstrate that trust is implied (don’t make blanket statements that make staff feel that they are not trusted)
Don’t play favourites – it’s terrible for your culture
Always be professional (there’s no need to shout or slam doors, your team are not your children)
Don’t hire your friends – it rarely ends well and can be perceived by others as favouritism
Celebrate birthdays, milestones, and special occasions
Introduce team building activities (international food days, morning teas, or walking meetings)
Have an open-door policy (don’t work with your door closed unless it’s absolutely necessary)
If you show your team members that you care about being a good manager and are fully invested in them as professionals then you will become one. Not all team members will be easy to manage, some will challenge you and force you to respond differently to them, but that’s ok. Managing difficult or different personalities that take you out of your comfort zone will allow you to grow as a manager and improve your skills. And importantly, invest in your own professional development and knowledge around good management practices, no one has it right all the time and there are always opportunities to grow and improve.
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