LME023 – How to become a better manager at work.

If you want to know how to become a better manager at work, you are at the right place. I’ll show you my 3 best tips. They help you to have more productive and loyal employees. Furthermore you to will become more productive and get a higher job satisfaction.

Sounds interesting? – Read on!

Listen to the podcast version

 

The human factor

As a manager today, it isn’t enough to just simply focus on results and the financial bottom line. Today you need also to have good human skills to be successful.

What are human skills? Great that you ask!

I found it very helpful, how Simon Sinek puts it in his video
“What Business Can Learn From the Military“:

 

“There are no soft skills! There are hard skills and human skills!”

Simon Sinek

 

I believe he‘s on spot. Job satisfaction and job productivity of a manager as well as of the employees is directly tied to the human skills of this manager.

Several studies have shown that focusing on both – human skills and hard facts – yields better financial results for a company: https://hbr.org/2015/12/proof-that-positive-work-cultures-are-more-productive

What can you do?

How can you become a better manager at work? There are lots of tips out there – and a lot of them are helpful and important. For example: Learn to delegate, don’t be a micromanager or create a positive work environment.

My 3 best tips to become a better manager.

These 3 tips are simple but that doesn’t mean that they are easy to implement. But I promise, if you work on them, you immediately will see positive results. Let’s dive into the 3 tips:

1. Lead more and manage less

I know many CEOs who work around the clock and still feel they don’t really do their job. Many are trapped in the rat race of day-to-day operations. They work a lot on management tasks, but they don’t take enough time for leadership.

In my view, there are several reasons why managers think they don’t have time for leadership. The biggest challenge can be summarized in one sentence:

Leadership is important, but rarely urgent!

Developing a business strategy, talking to an employee, discussing the vision statement, thinking about customer benefits or improving processes – all these are leadership tasks – and they are important, but they aren‘t urgent. They don’t have a deadline.

Leadership tasks don’t have a deadline.

If you develop the strategy today or tomorrow, will not be a big difference. If you have this one-on-one meeting with your direct report today or only later next week, this doesn’t change the bottom profit line, does it?

In contrast, management tasks are usually urgent. They have a deadline. But are they always important? Not really.

The solution?

Since leadership is usually important but not urgent, we postpone it. Therefore, let’s outwit ourselves.

Set fixed deadlines for leadership tasks in your planning and put them into your calender and your ToDo List. This automatically makes your leadership tasks urgent and helps you to lead more and manage less.

2. Talk about your expectations

You want your employees to act and behave in accordance to your interest and expectations. They just should make the right decisions if you are not there and if they can’t ask you, right?

Now, How can they know what you expect from them? Correct. You need to tell them. But be honest.

Are you talking about your expectations?

What exactly are your expectations? I experienced that very few employees know exactly what is expected of them. And the reason is usually: Their boss hasn‘t communicated it clearly.

Do you think your employees know about your expectation? I doubt.

My tip: Write down on a piece of paper what you expect exactly from your employees. Just start with your values, for example:

  • Do you expect your employees to be on time? Then write down Punctuality.
  • Do you want loyal employees? Write it down.
  • Do you expect them to reach goals? Write it down.
  • Do you want them to focus on customer satisfaction? Write it down.

You may say:

“Yes, of course. That’s all important. That’s self-evident, isn’t it?”

But it’s not that simple. You have to set priorities and communicate them. It’s not just enough to tell your employees what is important and how to behave.

You need to tell them your priorities.

Otherwise how should they know what to put first? Therefore, set priorities for your expectations and values. Ask yourself: What is more important to you?

For example, is being on time more important than quality? Has customer satisfactiona higher priority than achieving a sales target?

Perhaps you say now:

“Well, that depends.”

Oh. Really. It depends. So make it clear: On what does it depends?

When should your employee focus more on qualty instead of being on time? If you don’t tell it to your employees how should they know? How should they act and behave in your best interest if they don’t know your expectations?

3       Listen actively

You want to understand – really understand – what your employee thinks. Therefore, you listen, you paraphrase and you reflect back what is said.

It is important that you withhold any judgment and advice when you listen. You want to understand and learn your employees perception and standpoint.

I know some managers have problems with listening. They think if they hear something they don’t agree with they must respond right away. But that’s not true.

Always remember:
When listening actively you want to understand but to understand doesn’t automatically mean that you agree.

One mouth but  two ears

Have you noticed that most humans have two ears but only one mouth? We are created like this to listen more and talk less.

My bonus tip

Focus on constructive feedback. It‘s so important if you want to be a good manager and a great leader. Therefore, click here for my video on how to give feedback to employees:

The inspiring quotes

“Great leaders are willing to sacrifice the numbers to save the people.”

Simon Sinek