Being a great manager that shows great leadership capabilities is a lot harder than it sounds. There are however various habits, ideologies, and tools that managers can adopt to help them along the way.
"Management is all about managing in the short term while developing the plans for the long term." - Jack Welch
1. Communicate Well
Communication should always be a two-way street, listen and share. One of the biggest pitfalls many managers suffer is not understanding which hurdles their team is struggling with. Whiteboards become extremely useful in these situations. It gives the whole team (yourself included) eyes on what the others are busy with. Whiteboards also empower team members to keep their part of the board up-to-date
Communication is too often an under-appreciated and under-utilised tool in the workplace.
2. Be a Great Coach
A manager with key skills can often roll up their sleeves and get stuck in work alongside their team members. This does not mean to take it on yourself to do the work, rather assist, watch, and provide guidance and feedback. Balanced feedback is key, with any negatives come positives. More often than not, this comes in the form of one-on-one, if done correctly team members will appreciate these and it will improve the overall effectiveness of the team.
3. Be Proactive
Though it does happen, a good manager should work so team members don't need to come to them for assistance. A couple of check-ins daily allows a manager to be in touch with what the team members are busy with and where they may get stuck, this allows you to pro-actively assist employees, sometimes without them even knowing.
4. Empower your Team
When a team is managed correctly, they are empowered to do their work in the most efficient manner. However, when a team is micro-managed they simply become tools with which the manager is completing the work at hand. Yes, it gets the job done but there won't be much growth, team members won't learn much and they'll likely not be happy to be managed in such a manner. Allowing team members to make decisions for themselves, to raise issues and blockers on their own and learn to take on the tasks at hand promotes growth, efficiency, and morale.
"Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing." - Tom Peters
5. Foster Collaboration
Trying to take on the world on your own will tire you out in no time. Collaborating with your team members will help to empower them, up-skill them, and lighten the day-to-day load you're trying to pick up. Ultimately this means more time for you to focus on important aspects of your role as a leader.
A habit can be a very powerful thing. By routinely taking actions that make you a better manager, you will make a habit of it and these things will become second nature to you.
- Take notes of everything, paper trails and reminders make your life easier.
- Have check-ins with your team.
- Update performance sheets
All of these things can be made into excellent habits to have.
Ever-advancing technology has made managers lives a lot easier. Using Google docs you can maintain a skills matrix, share live documents with your team and keep important documentation to always have at hand.
Using a collaborative tool like Asana you can check on the team's progress with internal tasks, set new goals and collaborate in achieving those goals.
Surveying your team or even the organisation as a whole can yield invaluable data, this can be achieved with a simple tool like Google Surveys or if you're more serious about it something like Roslin. We've written another article on running effective surveys which is worth checking out.
Managers are often promoted from within, without any actual managerial skills or experience. That's not to say they can't easily learn these skills and build up the experience. Through simple, small habits and actions a manager's effectiveness can be greatly improved. This leads to a more effective manager and a more efficient team.
This article can also be found under Lab's Insights pages.