10 Tips To Help You Become A Better Manager

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Whether you’re running a mega-agency or a boutique, following these proven management guidelines makes sense.

  1. Learn what motivates each of your employees
    Use this information to help manage their performance. Although status, power, or additional authority might motivate some people, others might be more excited by the opportunity for tapping into their flair for creative, job-related activities or more face-to-face contact with customers. Rewarding good employees with assignment that speak to their unique motivations, interest and long-range career goals can help you retain them.
  2. Work actively on improving your communication skills
    Rather than thinking about what you want to say, think about what you want people to hear. You might need to alter your message Depending on your audience, Your customer service reps will probably respond better to your message if you talk in terms that relate directly to them, rather than speaking to them as you would to the executive management team. Of course, listening plays a key role in communication. Ask for input and listen to what you hear. Encouraging people to share their new ideas and concerns will help keep the lines of communication open.
  3. Play to your employees’ strengths
    Know what their talents are and allow them to participate in projects and activities where they get to use them. When people are able to do what comes naturally to them, they are more successful as well as more satisfied.
  4. Use the 'Gentle Nudge' approach
    When you notice a potential problem, nip it in the bud with a casual, but clear comment about your concern. For example, if an employee is beginning to make a habit of coming in late, to stop him or her in the hall and say, ‘I noticed you’ve been having some trouble making it in on time. If there’s a problem, let me know and we can talk about it. Otherwise I just wanted to remind you that we start at 8:00 a.m.” This approach should help avoid escalating a minor concern into something major.
  5. Be sure to delegate, rather than just giving orders or assigning tasks
    Establish roles and responsibilities at the onset of a new project, and explain what you want, why you need it to be done, due dates, and the criteria for success. This will help prevent confusion and frustration, especially in busy, stressful times, as well as giving employees autonomy, ownership of projects, and the chance to contribute in meaningful ways.
  6. Build your team
    You can’t just tell people that they’re a team and expect them to perform like one. They need to understand the purpose of the team and believe that the team is capable of producing more than the individual members. They also need to know what talents each member is bringing to the team so that each person understands how they’re expected to contribute. Be sure you treat the group as a team and reward them for working together, rather than rewarding individual accomplishments. If you’re uncertain about how to get people on the same page, working toward a common goal, don’t hesitate to get help with team building
  7. Hire and promote great people
    Often what differentiates successful managers from those who continue to struggle is their ability to surround themselves with the right people. Hiring right the first time means that you spend less time dealing with performance problems and turnover and more time on strategizing and developing your strong performers. Developing and promoting your best people leads to a happier, more productive employees and less time wasted on complaining and creating a “toxic” environment.
  8. Understand your agency’s vision
    If you don’t know where you’re going, you can’t communicate the path to your staff. Your employees need to understand how their jobs fit into the big picture and how they’ll know if they’ve succeeded in contributing to the agency’s goals.
  9. Tap your staff’s creativity
    Be sure to ask for ideas regularly. Set aside specific time for brainstorming. Not only will employees feel more involved and valued, you’ll probably get some great new insights in the process.
  10. Keep improving yourself
    Be open to your shortcomings and make an effort to improve them. Pick one thing that you’d like to develop and put a plan in place. If you need e help identifying what to work on, ask for input about changes you could make personally that will help your employees in their jobs. Don’t focus just on work. Doing anything that makes you feel better about yourself can have a positive impact on every area of your life.


Jack Fries is president of Fries & Fries Consulting, Alexandria, KY. You can reach him at (859) 441-4528; fax (800) 887-5874; e-mail:[email protected]; Web site: www.jackfries.com.
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