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Successful businesses manage their people. This doesn’t mean you micromanage them, but rather you direct and develop them for the business to succeed. Good managers help their employees grow while also being able to mediate disputes or personality clashes if needed. Here are six tips that can help you be a better manager.

Listen well, and listen outside of the conversation

This isn’t as difficult as it may sound. We all know good managers need to listen to their employees, but a successful manager listens without preconceived ideas of what the problem is or what the solution should be. Even if you think the problem is obvious, take the time to listen to the issues your employees present to you and don’t include your own biases or feelings. Listening outside the conversations means you should always be open to feedback. You don’t have to promise anything but always listen to your employees. 

Management and Staff

Separate personal and organizational problems

Any group of employees will have a range of problems, both on and off the job. The difficulty can be sorting them into personal problems or problems with the organization. Here are some suggestions for how to determine into which category they belong. You need to use your people management skills to deal with either type, but how you do that is different.

Personal problems —

  • An employee is unhappy with their workload or job
  • They are unhappy with colleagues performance or the performance of a team
  • They are unhappy and want to change jobs

Organizational problems —

  • A team is unable to keep up with the workload of a project
  • Employees are seeing increased errors or project delays
  • Poor team performance is leading to employee conflicts
  • The organizational structure keeps employees from feeling they control their work or career

Understand what drives your employees

Each employee in an organization is driven by different things; a need to be successful in a job, career advancement, money, or whatever else it may be. A purpose is what drives most employees to work well and succeed, and it’s important to understand your employees’ purpose as you interact with them. If you have two employees who are not working well together, but one of them really enjoys the current project, then you don’t want to move them both to different tasks. Take the time to understand the motivation of your employees, then work with them to satisfy that need.

Praise and constructive criticism should not be equal, but neither should be avoided 

Employees need to be praised for constructive work, but constructive criticism or corrective action may also be needed for subpar work or ongoing errors. A manager who only praises employees does not help them grow, while constant criticism demoralizes employees and makes them less productive. Both are needed, but positive reinforcement and constructive corrections are best.

Always end a meeting with this important question

When you meet with employees, there may be a tendency to give them information as quickly as possible and get them back to work. But, it is important to always ask them “Is there anything else?” Employees may not offer you valuable information unless you ask, so a good people management skill is to always close a meeting with that question, then allow some time for questions and answers.

Check-in on your employees even when not needed

If you have ever had a manager who didn’t communicate with you regularly, it can become stressful if you suddenly have an issue and you don’t know the best way to talk with the manager. You can avoid being that manager by talking with your employees even when there is no issue. Your employees will know you are approachable and can feel easier about reaching out to you when there is a problem needing your attention.

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