5 Critical Basics for Being an Effective Manager

Even if you have been in a management position for a long time, it’s never too late to review the basics and take stock of how you are doing. We can all improve. Just as you expect your team to continuously strive and better their performance, apply the same yardstick to your own performance as a manager. How well are you doing in the following 5 new manager training basics?

1. Set clear expectations.

It is your responsibility to be sure your employees know just what is asked of them. They should understand their role on the team and where they need to focus to get the job done. And they should not only be able to prioritize their tasks effectively according to your instructions but also understand the quality of work you require. “Expectations” cover both the tasks that need to be accomplished and the standards to which you will hold them accountable. Objectives AND the quality of the work are yours to set and yours to model.  This includes standards for both success and failure.

2. Communicate clearly and frequently. 

Stay close to your employees. Be available to encourage and support as needed. This is not to say that you should hover or monitor every action. Instead, give your employees some leeway to work on their own. Then offer helpful feedback on the work results and career aspirations. This is how your team will improve. If you don’t coach them toward ever higher performance, you rob them of the opportunity to learn how to do things better.

3. Be open-minded.

If you are open to new ideas, you will hear them…from those on the front line who know best how a tweak here and there could speed up productivity. Listen to your employees in the trenches and consider their suggestions. Stay flexible and ready to adopt a new way of doing things if warranted. 

4. Don’t avoid dealing with conflict.

There are many reasons for conflict in the workplace from interpersonal issues to compensation disagreements. Good managers address the problems directly, fairly and in a timely way. If you let a conflict fester, it will only grow. Listen carefully and empathetically to the problems and take decisive action as needed. 

5. Set aside time to plan and reflect.

Yes, you have much to do each day. But unless you set aside time to plan for the future, review what has been accomplished and how you might have handled things differently, you will only be checking off tasks on a list. Good managers learn from their mistakes and are able to prioritize their activities day-by-day while thinking ahead.