Become a Better Manager Using These Essential Traits

Have you recently received a promotion and now lead a team of employees? Or are you already a manager and not achieving the results you desire? There are several ways to manage teams to success. Utilizing the following traits will put you on the fast-track to becoming a successful manager.

1. Be approachable.

This may seem obvious, but we’ve all had supervisors that carried themselves in a way that discouraged open-door communication. Some ways to be approachable: make eye contact, smile, initiate conversation, ask employees about their interests outside work.

2. Encourage new ideas.

When was the last time your supervisor asked if you had any new ideas? Have you ever been asked to provide your thoughts regarding company policies or processes? What is the forum for employees to express new ideas or opinions on existing policies? A successful manager will obtain the pulse of the teams they manage by seeking new ideas and ways to improve processes. If submitted ideas have merit, push employees to develop them and then present them to your own supervisor to determine if it warrants another look. I always feel a sense of job satisfaction when I come up with an idea that my supervisor likes and implements.

3. Praise publicly, coach privately.

Most people like to be publicly recognized, so complimenting employees in public is often a good idea. Be careful that it doesn’t appear too boastful or cause any negativity towards other employees, especially if it involves sales or contests. On the other hand, when it comes time to coach or criticize, employees would prefer it be done in private. Coaching employees in private gives them time to voice any concerns as well as allow you the chance to explain your expectations of future performance. Another piece of advice. In cases of liability, safety, or security, it may be necessary to correct behavior in public. Be sure to remain tactful when doing so.

4. Set clear expectations and explain consequences for failing to meet them.

Employees do not like to be left in the dark. Set reasonable deadlines and explain how to meet them. Ensure all employees are aware of company policies and indicate what will happen if assignments are not turned in on time or if policy violations occur. When this happens, see #5.

5. Hold employees accountable.

This will help in two ways. First, it will show employees that you will follow up on assignments and deadlines. Also, it is imperative to issue uniform corrective action when deadlines are not met or policies are violated. Second, documenting employee infractions or performance issues will save you headaches at a later date if the employees turn into problem-performers. Having records of corrective action will make terminating an employee’s position a painless process.

6. Don’t micromanage.

Once your employees have clear directions and expectations, allow them to complete tasks, uninterrupted by you. Employees who routinely come in under time and budget, or turn in polished reports will need less supervision than others. Employees do not work well with managers standing over their shoulders every minute. Unless it is a project that requires your constant attention, have your employees provide status updates or seek your input as the task progresses. Some employees will need more direction than others, so you can provide it to them once you have them identified.

7. Ask employees if directions are clear.

Some employees will never ask questions, no matter how little they understand the project at hand. A successful manager will always ask employees if directions are clear. I usually ask employees to explain the project and how it will best be completed, which shows me that they understand it. Confirming that employees understand direction will also give you an avenue of corrective action if an employee doesn’t ask, yet fails to meet expectations as a result of a misunderstanding.

8. Prioritize tasks.

Every successful manager knows how to manage their time. To this end, you will be better equipped to assign tasks to employees if you prioritize them. Assigning tasks by most important to least important, or by deadline date will ensure you always have assignments completed on time.

9. Solicit feedback about your own performance.

When was the last time your manager asked you, “How am I doing?” Some employees will always say you are doing a fine job, but may not want to say anything. This may be out of fear of retribution or that they may not want to hurt your feelings. Be careful of employees who constantly shower you with compliments, as they may be attempting to win you over with kindness, rather than their job performance. Successful managers know they can improve some aspect of their leadership style or methods.

Sit back and think about these traits of successful managers. How many do you have? If you are not achieving the desired results out of your teams, try these. Using them will put you on the fast track to management success.