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15 Ways to Be a Great Manager


Guest post by Simon North, Founder of Position Ignition

We would all like to think that we are great managers, just like we all think that we are great drivers. The difference between thinking we’re a great manager and actually being one is following the steps below.

1. Stay plugged in
Don’t underestimate how important it is just to know what’s going on in your company. With the speed at which a 21st century organization moves, you’ve got to be on the ball. There is a lot going on out there in the big wide world that is impacting upon your employer.

2. Communicate well
Decide what things you should be communicating to your team. Telling your colleagues what they need to know is an example of thorough management. Bad management is allowing gossip to mushroom by keeping people in the dark. People need to be briefed and they need to be briefed about the right things. Be sure also that you consistently communicate. It’s true of most organizations that communication doesn’t happen regularly enough. If you say you’re going to have a weekly team brief, don’t just have the first two and then leave people hanging.

3. Appraise regularly
Give feedback on a regular basis. Sit down periodically with each member of your team for a one hour chat. Even if it’s just to say, “Thanks for doing a great job” or to brainstorm topics to be discussed at the formal annual or bi-annual performance review.

4. Set clear objectives
Clearly state to your team what its objectives are. If and when those objectives need to change, change them. Refer to the objectives regularly. Stay focused on what it is you’re trying to achieve both as a manager and as part of a team.

5. Be honest
Don’t give people an impression that’s false. Be as straight with them as you can because it always pays off to be so.

6. Treat others fairly and equally
Be even handed with people always, not just when you’re in a good mood. Be reasonable to everybody, not just the people whose company or style of working you prefer.

7. Show your appreciation
Make certain that anybody doing something for the team or for you knows how much you appreciate it. Let them know that you’ve noticed what they’ve been doing. Make sure to thank them, whether you thank them by email or by going over to them and saying it in person.

8. Put the team first
Recognise that the identity of the team is the most important thing, not you. Egotism is not a good quality in managers.

9. Learn continuously
How are you continuing to learn and grow as a professional? What are you doing to not be complacent and to be better today than you were yesterday? Join the Career Ignition Club for continuous learning and development in your career.

10. Be a good role model
As a manager you set the tone of the team. The culture within your team is greatly influenced by you. This is why role modelling is so important – it allows you to instil desired values within the team by practising those values yourself.

11. Express your needs
Let the team know how you wish to work. Explain that you’ll be spending a lot of time on the things you think you’re best at, but you’ll need colleagues’ help in doing things that they’re better at than you. Showing vulnerability will benefit both the team and you as a person and as a professional.

12. Set boundaries
Let people know when you need time alone. Simply say, “I need half an hour a day alone in my office because I use that time to do xyz”. Similarly, let the team know when you want more time together or when you can give your time freely to individuals. “If I take half an hour in the mornings, I promise that, where possible, I’ll always be around for you between 12 and 2”. Show your need for your people.

13. Ask for notice
Make it clear that it’s fundamental that people warn you of what they’re planning well ahead of time. You want to be told about everything early. Ask them to tell you early even if it’s bad news, because if they leave it, the situation will just get even worse.

14. Avoid petty fights
Let it be seen that you fight the right battles. Some battles are bigger than others. Some of them are more important than others.

15. Crush discrimination
There has to be no tolerance around discrimination of any type. If discrimination does happen, very clearly let the individual know in no uncertain terms that it’s unacceptable. Also remind the team as a whole about the no-tolerance policy. If anybody thereafter transgresses they can expect to feel the full force of your authority and of the organization’s authority behind you.

For more help with being a great manager listen to ‘Becoming a Great Manager and Leader’, available now on-demand in the Career Ignition Club.

About the author
Simon North is the Founder of Position Ignition, one of the UK’s leading career consultancy companies which created the Career Ignition Club, a leading-edge online careers support and learning platform. Follow him on twitter @PosIgnition.

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