How to be a good manager: 10 management tips for first-time managers

It’s not unusual for skilled individuals to move up the career ladder and into management positions. While this can be a great pathway for career development, it can also come with its fair share of challenges.

Managers who have the right set of management skills have the ability to successfully lead their team and help grow the business. It can be very rewarding to see your team develop, gel together, and contribute to the ongoing success of the business.

But management isn’t always a walk in the park. There are many challenges that may await when you’re responsible for the development of your staff and the success of your entire team. You may feel comfortable in your management role, but the challenges of managing a team can throw some curve balls your way that you have to be prepared for.

10 top management tips for new managers

With that in mind, here are 10 of the most common management issues and situations that managers may encounter and how you can implement measures to overcome them.

1. Effective communication with employees

Managers often feel isolated from their team members and may find it difficult to bridge that gap through timely and effective communication.

To succeed as a people leader, managers must have excellent listening and speaking skills, and it goes without saying that they also must have great people management skills. If a manager doesn’t communicate well with their employees about individual progress or business matters, it can not only prove detrimental to the individual relationships, but it may also increase general employee stress.

To communicate more effectively with your team members, try to learn the modes of communication that work best for each individual. Everybody communicates differently, and what works for one individual may not work for everyone else in your team. Don’t be afraid to come out and directly ask each member of your team what their preferred mode of communication is.

Personality tests can be a great way for each member of your team to discover their strengths and weaknesses in order to determine how they communicate best. You may use a traditional method such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or something less formal. Whichever method you use, the key to success can be how you approach it; personality tests may make some individuals uneasy and defensive.

2. Performance issues

Managers should be concerned about performance issues within their team. In today’s competitive business environment, time management skills can be critical. If your team isn’t performing at a high level, it could negatively impact the business.

As such, it is important for managers to quickly solve problems in their team. Managers can benefit from being able to balance the need for positive business results while also maintaining a desirable and supportive company culture and good relationships with their team members. It can require a deft hand to achieve that fine balance between promoting trust and a promoting an enviable company culture while also holding your team members accountable when needed.

3. Letting employees go

Dismissing an employee is arguably the most difficult part of any manager role, and thankfully something you likely won’t have to do too often. However for managers there are ways to lessen the blow.

If you feel that you need to dismiss a member of your team, it may be worth your while to consult your employer’s human resources team or people and culture team, especially if you don’t have much hands-on experience with what can be a delicate and stressful ordeal.

4. Carefully consider your hiring decisions

There are many people out there who might have the skills and experience you need on your team. They might even be perfectly qualified for the job. However, that does not necessarily mean that they are the right candidate to join your team.

Experienced people managers will know the management techniques that enable them to distinguish between candidates who have the right skillset, candidates who are a good cultural fit, and candidates who possess both. This is an important skill where your perception and judgement really matters. If you make a mistake in the hiring process it has the potential to negatively impact your team and make your job as a manager that much more challenging.

To reduce your chances of that happening, implement a rock-solid selection process for new hires. Avoid choosing candidates based on intuition alone. Selection assessments can help to reveal how the candidate in question would respond in certain situations. It will also give you some insight into their personality as an employee.

Recommended reading: The ultimate guide to hiring talent for your trade business

You may also invite other members of your team to participate in the interviewing process to get a second or even third opinion. This can help you determine if the candidate is a good fit for you and for your team, which can help avoid problems later.

5. Manage conflicts within your team

Conflicts that aren’t quickly solved can have a rapid and detrimental impact on productivity and morale, and even cause your top performers to leave the business. Managers are charged with preventing conflicts from becoming bigger problems.

To do so, first try to fully understand your team’s conflict. Conflicts over creative differences can be healthy and may lead to new and innovative solutions. While managers are responsible for managing creative conflict for positive results, you may need to intervene if the conflict becomes personal.

6. Retaining your best employees in a competitive environment

Skills are becoming increasingly specialised. If you have skilled and talented employees it’s in your interest to do everything you can to keep them in your team, and that includes effective management techniques. If you don’t give your employees what they deserve – whether that be a promotion, a salary bump, or increased flexible working conditions – someone else will.

As a manager, it can be difficult to keep your staff motivated and encourage them to learn new skills. Be sure to let your team members know how much you appreciate their work and how much you care about them as people. While paying your employees what they are worth is always important, you may also reward them in other ways, such as gift vouchers, bonus annual leave days, or invites to major sport or entertainment events.

7. Steady the ship in times of turbulence

Businesses are constantly changing, which can lead to exciting new opportunities. But such situations can sometimes have less than exciting results.

Redundancies can be common in today’s fast-paced business environment and can lead to frustration, uncertainty, and confusion for employees. Managers have a difficult task in these situations.

While talk of redundancies can be difficult for managers, your main priority is to reassure your team members and communicate as clearly as possible.

Keep communication channels with your employees open and invite them to ask questions. This can help you to keep their trust and reduce their frustrations.

They will also feel reassured by the fact that you are keeping them in the loop.

8. The fight against burnout

The potential for burning out is ever-present in today’s non-stop business environment, and nowhere is it more harshly felt than with those in managerial and leadership positions.

Managers who don’t make the time for non-work activities that allow them to decompress and recharge their batteries may be putting themselves at risk of burning out. This not only affects your own wellbeing, but it can also set a poor example for your team members. And on top of negatively impacting your own physical and mental wellbeing, your actions may also inadvertently create a culture of overworking that sweeps through your office and ultimately affects the productivity and morale of your team.

When people are happy, healthy, and refreshed, they are more productive. You can set a good example by taking frequent breaks and making use of your annual leave to recharge. This will show your employees that you value not only their efforts at work, but also their health and wellbeing.

9. Motivation needs to be a constant

A motivated team is a true asset for a business and a business manager. Try as you might, but not every task that you assign to your employees is going to be exciting. This is where one of a manager’s main challenges presents itself – how do you motivate your employees in all situations?

You can improve your chances of motivating your team by helping them to see the bigger picture that ties into any task they perform. While your employees may not see certain laborious or mundane tasks as furthering their career prospects, appreciating the bigger picture can help motivate them.

10. Fill the skills gap

Managers can face a constant challenge to keep their team members up to date with emerging industry trends, knowledge, skills, and best practice. But part of being a manager is to provide an environment where staff are equipped and empowered to keep up to date with the latest industry developments and embrace new methods and knowledge.

E-learning platforms such as LinkedIn Learning can be a great way to encourage your team to stay current and bridge the skills gap. It will benefit them, but it will also benefit you as their manager.

Employees will likely be more prepared to overcome challenges if they are constantly learning and refreshing their skills, which is not only good for them, but also good for your as their manager.

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To learn more about Management Liability insurance read our Management Liability insurance Fact Sheet or compare competitive business insurance quotes, get covered in only 10 minutes, avoid paperwork, and get back to business. If you prefer to speak with us, you’ll reach our friendly team on 1300 920 867.

This information is general only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It should not be relied upon as advice. As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording.
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