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Core Strategies To Improve Your Management Skills

by Gloria Louden
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In any 21st-century company, a manager’s role comes second to none. On the organizational chart, a manager acts as the crucial link between her/his esteemed leadership and their employees. Hence, managers must clarify and align the company CEOs’ and Directors’ strategic goals with all rank and file employees’ actions.

Usually, a manager’s specific job requirements may vary with their respective companies, departments, or business segments. But, primary management duties comprise the following: managing people, managing processes, and managing expectations.

Being a competent manager is closely associated with gaining real-time experience in the field. It’s often impossible to earn a successful manager’s expertise without hands-on experience and training in a managerial role.

However, such experiences bear heavy time costs. For instance, you join a well-established company intending to occupy the senior management position one day. You can spend countless hard-working years in your given role, sometimes decades, trying to prove yourself to the higher-ups. Still, they may not consider you qualified enough for the job, perhaps because you couldn’t acquire the essential skills and knowledge for your dream managerial position.

Since most of us don’t have the luxury of time, you can earn a master’s degree in business to kick-start your career. This way, you can land a leadership/management position earlier than you had planned. But, what about those already working as managers? Your learning shouldn’t stop once you get your dream job, as earning a business degree provides plenty of benefits. It equips you with valuable managerial skills and teaches you the ways to manage your employees effectively.

Plus, if you’re looking for a change and want to transfer to a different organization, then enrolling in online executive education programs can make you more desirable to potential recruiters.

In the following article, we’ll review some actionable tips, strategies, and advice to help improve your management skills. So let’s begin!

Be Organized

The more organized a manager is, the better their ability to lead their teams. Your primary task as a manager is to effectively organize your company’s workload, including yours and your staff. Organized processes lead to higher productivity, lower stress levels, and prevents employee burnout.

With a clear view of your team’s objectives and goals, you’ll be able to easily distinguish between which tasks you should prioritize and which you shouldn’t.

Identify Opportunities for Innovation

One idea is all it takes. One innovative idea can lay the foundation for profitable businesses and industry giants. Even though the majority only think of product and service innovation, process innovation can be extremely beneficial to organizations.

You can realize these opportunities by understanding your client’s needs, your partner’s needs, and your company’s needs itself. Indeed, technology and data are significant drivers of innovation, and success in these elements involves building partnerships to fulfill your needs.

Hence, process innovation includes introducing new technologies and modernizing old processes using better ideas and technologies.

Avoid Micromanaging

Nobody enjoys being under microscopic surveillance by their supervisor, and that is precisely what micromanagement looks like. Some managers consider it a helpful practice, but it’s the exact opposite. It can be challenging for managers to look at employee mistakes and not intervene to correct them. But, you need to resist this urge and allow your staff some autonomy.

Entrust your team with the same responsibility as you would to yourself. Encouraging independent decision-making will affirm your faith in your employees while building their confidence and morale.

Keep Open Lines of Communication

Getting to know your entire team carefully and building a relationship with them is management’s first rule. But there’s more. A manager must also foster an environment where employees can come forward with their ideas, receive constructive criticism, give and receive feedback to their colleagues and supervisors.

Establishing an open-door policy is a good idea. Start by being curious about your team, being grateful for their efforts, increasing engagement with them, and being prompt in giving and responding to feedback.

Direct and open communication channels lead to better problem-solving, and boost motivation and team cohesion.

Arrange Regular Meetings

Scheduling regular employee meetings is a great strategy to keep in touch with all your departmental teams. These check-ins can make your employees more productive, foster healthy team relationships, and offer valuable insight. Routine meetings increase the worth and meaningfulness of the manager’s feedback from their teams’ perspective. Consequently, they display increased levels of engagement and motivation in their work.

Be Flexible

As a manager, you’re responsible for a plethora of tasks and rank-and-line employees. And this responsibility makes you susceptible to being too authoritative or prescriptive in your approach. Sure, standard operating procedures and rules are necessary for day-to-day operations. But, it’s also essential to leave some room for flexibility. So, when the occasional time-bound contingency arises, you and your team can work around it.

Provide Appropriate Incentives

According to statistics, employee turnover can be as costly as 33% of an employee’s yearly salary. Therefore, if a manager can reduce this number and provide adequate incentives to the employees, they’ll save the business or company a considerable amount of money in the long-run.

Look beyond the conventional financial incentives and reward creatively. One option is expressing consistent gratitude towards your team and giving credit where it’s due. Avoid waiting to say “thanks” till employees feel forced to consider new job opportunities.

Plus, you need to ensure your star performers stick around. Remember, they’re your top employees because of their curious, intelligent, and enterprising nature. To freshen up their dull, monotonous schedules, you should ensure they’re receiving a sufficient dose of knowledge, training, and challenges regularly.

Be Accountable For Mistakes

Managers are only human, and it’s inevitable in human nature to make mistakes. Still, it’s important to take accountability for your errors. When you mess up, learn from the experience, and then communicate to your team to guide them on how to avoid such mistakes in the future.

Remember that not every minor mistake elicits an apology, whether it concerns you or your employees. Use empathy as your guide when you’re unsure whether you should accept and apologize for your mistakes. What if an employee had made the same error? How would you approach?

Moreover, be solution-oriented and proactive towards tackling the problem instead of mulling it over.

Provide Regular Feedback

Let’s assume you’ve accomplished all your organizational and financial goals for the year. Is that enough? Not quite, because you also need to communicate this progress to everyone who contributed. Performance feedback informs everyone involved with regard to whether or not the company is on track to meet its initial goals.

Talented managers also realize they need to keep their stakeholders and staff in the loop at all times. One way to accomplish this is by providing regular performance updates, making everyone aware of the progress in shared goals.

For instance, you find out you’re on track to achieve your set targets. This knowledge can allow you to make required adjustments to dial-up expectations and dial down your performance.

In A Nutshell

Did you just land a managerial promotion in your company? Well, pat yourself on the back. All your hard labor has paid off, and you’ve proved your abilities to collaborate, organize, and increase employee engagement. Still, many first-time managers may feel like they’ve bitten off more than they can chew.

This article discussed some helpful strategies to improve your management skills for managers of all backgrounds and expertise levels. These include getting organized, open communication, providing incentives, and giving updates.

Indeed, being a great manager requires tons of effort, time, and learning to improve. But, when you see results like improved employee productivity, higher engagement, and motivation, it all seems worth it!

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