10 Ways to Improve Your Management Skills

Communicating well and often; saying, “Thank you”; and making work fun are just a few things managers can do to ease into the leadership role.

1. Define your vision and broadcast it. In the old management format, subordinates were paid to execute and not to think. We know this structure doesn’t work, especially if you have talented employees.

In order to engage your team to deliver the best to their abilities, you need to have a clear vision of your company’s reason to be. What is the purpose of your company? What impact do you want to have and on whom? How do you want to change the world? These are the questions you need to answer and broadcast to your team before they can engage.

Make sure your vision is clear and concise.

Tips: 

  • Have a meeting and share your vision.
  • Send an e-mail after your meeting.
  • Write your vision and post it in places where everyone can see it on a regular basis.

2. Get personal to get engagement. Defining your vision is great, but it is not enough to engage your team to commit to it. Do you know what your team wants? Do you know what motivates them? If you don’t, you will need to find out. 

When you find out what your team wants, you can transmit to them the possibilities that will trigger their engagement to your vision. Steve Radcliffe called this “Spirit Energy.”

When you connect your vision to the possibilities, your employees’ level of engagement will be far more meaningful and powerful.

Tips:

  • Organize a brainstorming meeting and also one-on-one meetings.
  • Connect possibilities to their desires.
  • Engage your team by asking for their input and to share their ideas. 
  • Make them feel part of journey to success. 

3. Recognize the power of influence through personal branding. What is personal branding? Personal branding is the image or impression in the mind of others about you, your team, or your company. Good personal branding gives you the power of influence. If you are great at what you do and you look the part, people won’t doubt you.
Look at yourself in the mirror and think about the image or impression you want to project. Is it good? Do the same thing for your team and, on a bigger scale, for your company. Have a clear vision of the image you and your team want to project, and communicate this to them.

Tips:

  • Set a clear company dress code to ensure consistency across the team.
  • If you want to project passion and creativity, wear colors such as red, bright blues, yellow.
  • If you want to project trust and authority, wear black, blue, and grey.

4. Maintain great communication. Do you sometimes feel you communicate too much or not enough? Are you always 100 percent sure the message is crystal clear among your team?

Well, the secret to great communication is to communicate well and often. 

“Well” entails creating a culture in which your employees can share common goals and work with you to meet them. This boosts their engagement (spirit energy). Ask your team questions and invite them to do the same. This allows you to evaluate if they are confused and if you need to review how the information is transmitted.

“Often” entails having regular meetings or catch-ups; they don’t have to be long and tedious.

Tips:

  • Use verbal communication to engage your team.
  • Use written communication to reinforce your vision, your goals, and their possibilities.

5. Understand the power of gratitude. Have you ever worked in a company where the salary or the job was not that amazing, but you stayed because you simply loved your manager?

Now think about the best managers you ever had the chance to work with. What did they have in common? Gratitude.

People often underestimate the power of gratitude. Saying, “Thank you” or “Well done,” to an employee who successfully completed a task is a powerful motivator—even better than money.

Before you became a manager, how did you feel when your manager told you, “Well done”? It made you feel great and wanting to do even better and not disappoint them, right?

Publicly acknowledging the contributions of your employees is even better. So don’t be afraid to praise how great your team is to the company, prospects, and your clients.

Tip:

  • Make it a habit to say, “Thank you.”

6. Make work more fun. So what can we learn from the two most successful companies in the world: Google and Facebook? They make work a fun place. I’m sure, like me, you would like to know what it feels like to work for Facebook and Google. They seem to have so much fun.

When you enjoy working for the company and/or the people you work with, you are most likely to stay. However, it’s important to find the right balance so employees can stay engaged with your vision. If your team enjoy themselves, and what they do, they will be more motivated to move mountains with you.

Tip:

  • Lighten up! Have a laugh at work and encourage your team to enjoy themselves. We all have to go to work each day, but there’s no reason it shouldn’t be enjoyable.

7. Learn how to make your top-performing employees stay. Every year, thousands of companies lose their most talented employees to their competitors. The cost of recruiting talented employees is high. So how can you make them stay?

Tips:

  • Pay them what they deserve. This is the most common and basic issue you can resolve. Look at the salary offer on the market and what your competitors offer for this job. Be as competitive as possible.
  • Challenge them. Successful employees are successful because they always like to do more by pushing themselves. If their current tasks become non-challenging, they won’t waste their time. So give them new challenges to push their limits: Train them in different areas of the business and/or find a new challenging task they can tackle.
  • Communicate a clear company vision. A dysfunctional company vision creates a lack of transparency and engagement. Top-performing employees want to feel that they’re making a difference in the company as a whole. If they can’t see the benefits of their contributions, you won’t retain them. Ensure company vision is clear.

8. Handle toxic employees.

Tips:

  • Schedule one-on-one meetings to identify the source of their discontent. This will allow you to find out if the source of their behavior is personal or professional.
  • Schedule one-on-one meetings with the other members of your team to evaluate the situation from a different angle. Ask them open, honest, and direct questions.
  • Use the information you gather to develop the best plan of action.
  • Arrange a meeting with the employees concerned to set limits on their behavior. If it is a personal matter, provide useful advice to help them resolve their personal issues. If it is a professional matter, evaluate and agree together how this can be resolved.
  • Follow up regularly until the problem is completely resolved
  • The last option might be to let them go.

9. Admit your mistakes. It can make you a better manager. A true leader always has humility. It brings you closer to the people. By earning the respect of your team, you build your strength and their loyalty to you.

  • Admitting your mistakes also makes you a stronger leader. Why? Like anyone, you make mistakes, but you move forward either by coming up with solutions or asking your team for suggestions.
  • Admitting your mistakes shows strength of character and influences your team members to do the same.

Tip:

  • Lead by example. Don’t cover up mistakes. Simply admit when you are wrong and act on it.

10. Learn how to manage former co-workers.

Tips:

  • Arrange a group meeting and one-to-one meetings to start reshaping your relationship. Discuss how your role and responsibilities have changed and how it will benefit them, too.
  • Empower your team. You won’t have all the wisdom or answers for all situations. Let them know you are open to ideas and input. They will be more engaged and committed if you welcome their suggestions and show them gratitude.
  • Stay yourself. Your role is different, but don’t try to be someone you are not. If they liked you before your role changed, use it to maintain good relationships with your team, diffuse tense situations, and improve productivity.

Flavilla Fongang is the director of 3 Colours Rule, a branding and corporate training consultancy that helps companies transform managers into leaders and build influential brands. The company has worked with Suzuki, London Chamber of Commerce, NHS, Pandora, House of Fraser, and more.

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