Let’s face it – managing people is hard work. Managing people well is even more challenging. It takes special skills, training, and experience to be an effective leader. What’s more, if you’re a newly-minted manager, chances are you won’t actually be good at management in the beginning. But fear not! Our list of top 20 success tips will help you take the guesswork out of employee management and leadership in the workplace. Before you know it, you’ll be well on your way toward becoming a respected and trusted leader.
Tip #1: Get the Right Education
Many schools offer management degrees at all levels of study. (Check out our list of accredited degree programs!) These programs provide the nuts and bolts of leadership and management training including:
- Business ethics and principles
- Business communications
- Marketing fundamentals
- Management principles
- Management of human resources
Tip #2: Find the Right Job
Managers are suited to different positions in different types of organizations. Personality traits and management style should dictate which jobs you hunt. Consider the following:
- What type of people do you enjoy working with?
- Do you see yourself managing large or small teams, an entire department, or multiple departments of a company?
- What type of management style do you prefer? (Does a former boss come to mind? If so, what did you like/dislike about him or her?)
Tip #3: Find a Mentor
Whether you’re job hunting or working towards a management promotion, finding a mentor is helpful at any stage in your career. Shadowing someone in a management role is effective way to learn, and he or she can serve as a sound support system once you’ve landed that job or earned that promotion.
Tip #4: Understand Your Role as Manager
Each company has its own way of doing things, and it’s important to know what’s expected of you. As a manager, you’ll be a major factor in the success of your team so if you have any doubt, make sure to meet with upper management to ensure that performance and accountability measures are understood.
Tip #5: Study the Business and its Employees
A good manager knows the ins and outs of the company and the employees that hold it all together – so do your homework. The more you know about how your company works, the better prepared you’ll be to address personnel and resource issues. Make sure you’re in tune with:
- Workplace training
- Recruiting practices
- Performance management
- Compensation policies
- Company goals and objectives
Tip #6: Dress the Part
Your wardrobe says a lot about you and your leadership abilities. Even if your company has a casual dress code, stay on the conservative side. Jeans and sneakers do not convey a professional or businesslike image.
Tip #7: Manage Time Wisely
Once you become a manager, you’re always managing. And managing your time wisely is one of the most important skills you can master as a leader. Make sure to set priorities and take care of the most important tasks first. And don’t forget to set aside time for employees if they wish to discuss issues or concerns with their job.
- Set daily goals and reminders
- Keep up with your calendar(Outlook and Gmail offer fantastic calendar options with alerts and notifications!)
- Track your progress and reassess your to-dos when needed
Tip #8: Motivate Your Team
If managing people weren’t hard enough, try motivating an entire staff. This takes practice, but here are a few ways to help maintain productivity:
- Be enthusiastic – a happy boss is much easier to work for than an unhappy one
- Announce employee accomplishments – give credit when credit is due
- Create a community – you’re all in this together
Tip #9: Keep Your Door Open
An open door policy encourages communication and feedback. Employees want to feel valued and welcomed. A closed door is often a sign you don’t want to be disturbed.
Tip #10: Maintain Professionalism
We all lose our cool now and again. But an office meltdown is something else. Maintaining your professionalism is important, even at holiday parties, happy hours, or any office social event. Your staff looks to your conduct as an example of what’s appropriate behavior.
A few things a manager should NEVER do:
- Let their egos get in the way
- Threaten their employees
- Lose control
- Accuse a staffer of failure (especially in front of others)
- Break the law
Tip #11: Lead by Example
Similar to #10, but worth reiterating. No matter if you’re the big boss or the newest hand on the job, show up to work on time, stay until your assigned work hours are over, and hold everyone accountable equally. You’re the example that staffers take their cue from.
Tip #12: Leave Your Personal Life at Home
Your party life, family drama, spousal issues, financial setbacks (or successes) is your business and your business only. Don’t pull a Michael Scott and share your relationship and money hiccups with your employees.
Tip #13: Delegate Tasks Appropriately
Delegating will eventually become second nature to you. But right out of the gate, you might struggle with this a bit. Effective delegation requires the following steps:
- Define the results you want
- Select the right individual(s)
- Set expectations and set parameters
- Arrange for feedback during and after the process
Tip #14: Set Goals and Expectations
Employees want to know what’s expected of them and how they’re being evaluated. By meeting with staffers individually on a bi-monthly or monthly basis, you can address productivity, progress towards discussed goals, professional behaviors, and whatever else comes up.
Note: Make sure to document this stuff. You’ll need it for performance evaluations, budget development, and salary adjustments.
Tip #15: Be a Team Player
Creating a team-based work environment is a great way to build strong employee relationships. Even if your business is small, encouraging collaboration and team learning is essential for creating value, generating performance, and for some, driving revenue.
Tip #16: Acknowledge Your Mistakes
If you slip-up, own it. We all make mistake, even leaders. I’m sure Bill Gates made a few blunders along the way. Point is, oversights and missteps happen and when they do, verbalize what went wrong and how to make it right.
Tip #17: Treat Your Employees Equally
First and foremost: Establish trust. That’s half the battle in terms of employee relations. In order for your employees to listen to you, they must trust and respect you. Always practice honest communication AND ensure your employment practices are consistent with the law:
- Federal Laws
- State Laws
- Employment Law Guide (Here you’ll find information family and medical leave, basic rights, and employee provisions.)
Tip #18: Challenge Your Staff
Motivating and challenging are two different things. To challenge means to encourage staffers to ask questions, provide input, voice concerns, and to suggest new ways of performing tasks. Challenge your employees by giving them greater responsibilities (when appropriate) and set high standards.
Tip #19: Put Out Fires – And Quickly!
If an employee comes to you with a problem, take care of it as soon as possible or you may end up with bigger problems. If it’s an HR issue, speak with your rep right away. Employees want to know that their concerns are your concerns.
Tip #20: Never Stop Learning
Need more? Check out the links below for more helpful tips and articles on how to be the best manager you can be: