Being a manager can be an incredibly testing, yet fulfilling, role. You have the responsibility of managing not just yourself, but other people – and thus, you have a fairly profound impact on the performance of your team and your department or company as a whole.
Your employers have appointed you to your managerial position for a good reason; they trust you and expect you to perform. Research by Dale Carnegie suggests that “80% of employees dissatisfied with their managers are also disengaged from their employers”.
Peter Drucker, the globally-renowned management consultant, suggests that there are five key tasks of any manager:
- Set Objectives
- Motivate and communicate
- Develop people
With each of these key tasks in mind, what are the best practices that new managers can use in their new roles to ensure that they effectively perform each as well as they can? We’ve summarized five practices that will help you on your way to becoming an effective manager.
What are the best practices for a new manager? Let’s find out!
Focus on strengths, not weaknesses
Firstly, it’s important to note that focusing on someone’s weaknesses (including your own) is not going to be an effective management strategy. Research has shown that “engagement plummets to 2% among teams with managers who ignore their employees, compared 61% for teams led by managers who focus on strengths”.
What’s more, “employees who believe their managers can name their strengths are 71% more likely to feel engaged and energized”. Take some time, ideally during your meetings with your team (see above points), to figure out what each person’s strengths are and how they can complement the overall traits and skills that the entire team has.
Get regular feedback from your team
Just because you’re a manager doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be held to account in the same way that your team members are. In fact, it is fair to say that managers should receive feedback from not only their senior managers but also their own employees.
Receiving regular feedback (using weekly retrospectives) from your team is an incredibly effective way to:
- Find out what points of your job you’re doing well at, and poorly at
- Help you create an effective personal development plan
- Understand what your team expects from you professionally and personally
- Find out how satisfied your team is with each other (and company satisfaction)
Spend time with your team and get to know them well
According to Gallup, employees whose managers hold regular meetings with them are almost three times as likely to be engaged. What’s more, holding an informal catch-up or meeting with your employees can be a great way of getting them out of the office and into a more comfortable environment.
Understanding the motivations of your team members is a crucial task for any new manager. If you can figure that out then you’ll be much more likely to align the goals of the business, team, and individuals you manage.
Setting up regular one-to-one meetings is an excellent way to provide scope for:
- Proactively discovering issues – as opposed to reactively noticing things aren’t going well
- Strengthening relationships
- Addressing performance issues – maybe someone on your team doesn’t quite seem to be performing as well as normal?
- Recognizing contributions – has a team member gone that extra mile?
During any meeting with a team member it’s important to recognize the difference between ‘asking a question’ and ‘making a statement’; try to do more of the former. This allows you to gather further information and opinions on matters before taking actions.
Become more emotionally Intelligent
The simplest way to approach emotional intelligence is to understand two key drivers:
- We’re humans and we’re not all entirely rational creatures, nor should we be
- Your emotions are in many ways what actually motivate you to go that extra mile, or strive for success when you don’t actually need to
With those points in mind, developing your understanding of emotional intelligence will allow you, as a manager, to manage your emotions and the emotions of others. Understanding what drives you and your team is priceless.
But, is there any way you can actively improve your capacity for emotional intelligence? The good news for you is that it’s something that can be learned and developed over time. For starters, try and put into action these three simple, yet effective, tasks to help you analyze your current levels of emotional intelligence:
- Observe people’s reactions and attitude around you – are they comfortable? Do they feel as if you’re being judgemental?
- Carry out a self-assessment – You can use an online test, or you can create a set of questions yourself.
- Examine how your actions are impacting others – if your actions are negatively affecting team members then you need to take responsibility for them
Creating a positive working environment from which your team can thrive in is one thing, but having a positivity mindset in life as a whole will help you overcome the biggest slumps and hurdles as a manager.
- Improved decision making – making decisions that are logical and rational is important, but making decisions with a smile on your face or with a positive forward thinking attitude is even more powerful
- Increased resilience – tackling adversity and challenges head-on isn’t easy. But taking a positive mindset means your resilience to difficult situations will increase.
- An infectious impact on others – taking a positive attitude is contagious, particularly in a workplace. Similarly, a negative attitude is just as infectious, so be careful what emotions you emit as a manager
How to become a better Leader
Over time you’ll be able to put each of the above suggests into practice to help you become a more effective leader. However, there are a few quick things you can do right now to get you on your way to becoming a better manager:
- Make a list of personal targets for your first 6 months as a manager – what do you think will make your first few months a success?
- Is it purely metrics and targets based?
- Is it related to the team feedback you receive?
- Is it about the number of positive comments you receive from your seniors?
- Meet-up with some managers for a coffee and learn from the people who are already in a managerial position. You’ll learn more from these people than you can imagine!
- Get ready emotionally to deal with your new role – management is more than just getting a team to hit figures. You’re going to be exposed to employees who might be struggling personally, so expect situations that require you to step outside your comfort zone. Find a mentor who can offer you advice before and during your time as a manager.
Lastly, review the best practices for a new manager after your first month on the job. Are you:
- Focusing on strengths and not weaknesses?
- Getting regular feedback from your team?
- Spending extra time with your team members – do you know them quite well by now?
- Becoming more emotionally intelligent?
- Practicing positivity every day?
Becoming a better leader takes time. Don’t give up – keep working at it!