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Ten Top Tips on How to be a Better Manager

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Posted 24 December 2014 by Chris FarmerChris Farmer

Personal Development Courses

We offer both:
• Bespoke in-house training.
These can be tailored to your specific needs.
• Open training courses at locations near you.
You may find the following will help with the training of your team leaders and managers.

10 Top Tips on How to be a Better Manager

If you are a manager, then you have a job that can, sometimes, be difficult to do.

There are many aspects to managing tasks and people. And you might need some help with certain aspects of leadership and management.

On our two day leadership and management training, we meet many people, who come from all sectors of the economy, but the strange thing is this; they all have the same problems. When it comes to leadership and management there is a common set of problems, and a common set of solutions to those problems.

Since leadership and management is a skill set that is independent of the product or service that your organisation is providing, it is possible that the following advice will help you to clarify your thinking about management and may help you to improve your technique.

Here is our list of ten top tips on how to be a better manager

Read them through and then we will discuss them one at a time:

  1. Your role as a manager is to get the best from the team as a whole.
  2. Focus on the goal.
  3. Develop your communication skills.
  4. Define your message by using numbers.
  5. Always plan ahead.
  6. Allocate the tasks to various members of the team and start work immediately.
  7. Always maintain a positive mental attitude.
  8. Don't act like a sergeant major military type manager.
  9. Eliminate threats and fear.
  10. Give them positive praise and appreciation.

Please read the following advice about how to be a better manager

Some of it may be of real help to you.

Remember your role as a manager is to get the best from the team as a whole

Your role as a leader manager is not to do all the work yourself, but rather to figure out ways to get the best performance from the team, as a whole: To make the team an efficient group of people who are working cooperatively to achieve the goals that have been set for the team.

Focus on the goal

In order to achieve the goal you, the manager, should be focused on the goal. Every day you should remind yourself of the goal, or the mission of your team, and reaffirm to yourself what that mission is, and determine to hit your goals.
The manager needs to develop a goal focused mentality.
The opposite of a goal focused mentality is a drifter mentality.
People with drifter mentalities don't make good managers, do they?

The manager needs to develop their communication skills

As a manager you need to communicate your message with clarity and accuracy, both in the spoken and written form.
We all think in mental pictures, but you need to transpose your thought images into language, and then, either say your message, or write your message and send your message to your listener.
Some people are good at finding the words, to express the images in their mind. These people have, the gift of the gab. Most people struggle to verbally express their ideas. Most people find it difficult to express their meaning. They say to themselves, "I know what I mean but I can't explain it".

As a manager you need to be able to explain it.
So you need to become extremely conscious of how you use your language.
Be as clear and as accurate in your language as you can be.

  • Be specific, don't be vague.
  • Be precise, don't be ambiguous.

Use numbers to help you become more specific and precise

The best and the easiest way to be a more accurate communicator is to define your message by using numbers.
Quantify your message numerically.

For example: Don't say, A.S.A.P. Instead say: "By six o'clock this evening, 20th October."
Don't say, "Carry on a bit further and then turn left." Say instead, "Carry on 120 yards and then turn left."
Don't say, "You were above target this month." Instead say, "You were 25% above your target this month, which is excellent."

Always plan ahead

Always be; "the man with a plan".
Don't ever leave the house without two mental objects: Your goal and your plan to achieve it.
Most people do leave the house without a specific goal, and without a detailed written plan.
This is why most people don't achieve what they could achieve.
If you asked 200 people at random to show you their goals list for the next five years, together with their plans for achieving their goals, then you would find that most people really don't know what they are trying to achieve.
As a result they don't achieve what they could achieve if only they took two steps.

  • They decided upon the goal.
  • They formulated a detailed written plans of action in order to achieve them.

Every day, you need to be planning ahead.

Memorise these seven questions and answer them every day. Ask the same questions of your colleagues.

  1. What is the goal we need to achieve?
  2. How would you define that goal numerically?
  3. How would you define that goal in words? Give a one paragraph description of the target to be hit.
  4. What are the skills, knowledge and information we need to acquire, in order to reach the goal?
  5. What are the material resources, such as money, manpower, and machines that will allow us to reach the goal?
  6. What are the key indicators that we need to track, to know whether we are making progress, or not making progress, or going backwards, relative to our goal?
  7. What is the deadline? By when does the goal need to be reached? Is that deadline reasonable?

With all the information in mind write out the actions that need to be taken and put them into the most logical order. Then number them, allocate the tasks to various members of the team and start work. (Remember to track your progress as stated in question 6).

Always maintain a positive mental attitude

Nobody likes a grump. Nobody wants to live with one. Nobody wants to work with one. Nobody wants a grumpy manager. Question: are you sometimes a grumpy manager?
Do your best to put your best face forward.
Be as optimistic as your present circumstances will allow. And if you cannot be optimistic for the future, then pretend to be optimistic for the future.
And if you can't even pretend to be optimistic for the future then at least refrain from being openly pessimistic, cynical and depressed about your opinion of the future.
Good managers have good leadership skills. And that means that good managers display a positive mental attitude, meaning that they are optimistic, motivated, ambitious, and are focused on the goal and the detailed written plan of action.

Talk the team up. Don't talk them down

As a manager, there are two basic approaches you can take, to motivate others.

  1. You can motivate others by threats of the painful consequences they will suffer if they don't do as you say. You can motivate by means of threats and fear. Or....
  2. You can motivate by encouragement, praise and an appeal to future success. Meaning; you could appeal more to the benefits we will gain if we work the plan we have set out and if we achieve the goal.

Many managers manage by negative motivators. They manage by fear, threats and force. This is the sergeant major type of manager.
In a non-military organisation the sergeant major manager type does not work well.
Don't act like a sergeant major military type manager.
It will cause you to fail.
Instead, to motivate others:

Appeal to them by using positive words. Praise. Appreciation.

Base your motivational style on positive methods:

Talk about the Purpose.

Talk about the Plan.

Talk about the Action.

And talk about the positive feedback.

Summary of advice

  1. Remember your role as a manager is to get the best from the team as a whole.
  2. Focus on the goal.
  3. Develop your verbal and written communication skills. Be specific, don't be vague.
  4. The best and the easiest way to be a more accurate communicator is to define your message by using numbers. Quantify your message numerically.
  5. Always plan ahead.
  6. Write out the actions that need to be taken and put them into the most logical order. Then number them, allocate the tasks to various members of the team and start work immediately.
  7. Always maintain a positive mental attitude.
  8. Don't act like a "sergeant-major-military-type" manager.
  9. Appeal to them by using positive words.
  10. Give them positive praise and appreciation.

Remember this:

Kind words, work wonders!

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