Basic Guide: How to Be an Effective Manager and Leader

Updated on August 13, 2018
Kaitlyn Lo profile image

Kaitlyn has a background in psychology and writes articles that teach you how to lean on your body, mind, heart, and on those around you.

According to a survey conducted by Harris Poll, as much as 69% of managers surveyed feel uncomfortable with communicating with their employees. What’s more worrying is that, according to the new Gallup “State of the Global Workplace” study, only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work.

So whether you’re new to the role, or just looking for tips to be better at your job, congratulations on wanting to do your job well and help your team reach its full potential. Learning how to be a more effective leader and manager requires a combination of understanding your role as a leader, emotional intelligence, effort, and lots of practice.

When a business is run well, employees are happier, more engaged, possess a stronger sense of ownership for their work, and are more successful at producing results. Here’s what you need to know to start improving your managerial abilities.

By Miguel Á. Padriñán. CC0 Creative Commons
By Miguel Á. Padriñán. CC0 Creative Commons | Source

5 Skills to Be a Successful Manager

The first step to being an excellent manager and leader is to develop your skills both at work and in your personal life. Here's a list of essential skills you should work on strengthening.

1. Motivational Skills

While some people respond best to positive motivation and others to negative motivation, good managers know how to use both types. They will use mostly positive motivation but are not afraid to use negative motivation when it becomes appropriate.

2. Effective Planning Skills

Great managers have everything planned out. They make sure that everything the team needs is there, and that every member of the team knows exactly what the plan is and what role they play in that plan.

3. Conflict Management Skills

Conflict is unavoidable because you can’t expect everyone to agree with your view and do anything you say. Good managers can resolve disputes and de-escalate problems effectively and in such a way that won’t prevent the team from achieving planned goals.

4. Communication Skills

Good communication is when information is transmitted from one person to the other accurately without error. Successful managers know how to communicate in a way that ensures everyone understands the message as it was meant to be understood.

5. Self-Control

You can’t expect to manage other people if you’re still struggling to manage yourself. The best managers have a high level of self-control and self-discipline. This means that they know how to control their emotions, thoughts, fears, and know how to motivate themselves.

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9 Key Things Effective Leaders and Managers Do Every Day

Along with working on the necessary skills, here are a few things you should make sure you're doing every day.

1. Delegate Intelligently

Many managers feel that they need to control every little detail about how their business is run. Micromanaging your employees is a recipe for disaster. Great managers know how to delegate tasks and to provide employees with the authority needed to complete those tasks. When employees are empowered in this way, you’re helping to build their confidence, develop their leadership skills, and encourage a high sense of responsibility for their work.

By rawpixel.com. CC0 Creative Commons
By rawpixel.com. CC0 Creative Commons | Source

2. Set Concrete, Achievable Goals

Goals give your team one unified direction and purpose. Goals make sure that your employees are on the same page and know the significance of the role they play in the business. Set specific, measurable, and achievable goals for the team. Then make sure to monitor each employee’s progress towards achieving those goals.

By rawpixel.com. CC0 Creative Commons
By rawpixel.com. CC0 Creative Commons | Source

3. Communicate Transparently

It can be easy to forget to maintain an open channel of communication between yourself and your employees. And it’s understandable because when you’re a busy executive, supervisor, or business owner, there’s already so much you need to manage, you can forget to keep your employees updated. Even though that’s a reality, it’s no excuse. To be a successful manager, you need to make the extra effort to give your employees the necessary information for them to do their jobs effectively.

By rawpixel.com. CC0 Creative Commons
By rawpixel.com. CC0 Creative Commons | Source

4. Make Time For Employees

Ultimately, leadership is about dealing with people, not numbers. Whenever an employee needs to talk to you, you need to make time in your busy schedule to give them your undivided attention. Your employees are the people who keep your business running smoothly, so you need to give them the attention they deserve and make sure they’re given the support they require.

By Christina Morillo. CC0 Creative Commons
By Christina Morillo. CC0 Creative Commons | Source

5. Recognize and Reward Achievements

Most employees want to do their job well. They devote most of their day to making the business succeed. So, when employees do a good job, getting recognition from their boss is a gratifying experience that will motivate them to do even better. Unfortunately, many managers forget to acknowledge their employees’ achievements and rewarding them accordingly.

It can be as simple as a brief meeting before work where you give an employee a shout-out of appreciation, or even a free lunch paid for by you as a token of appreciation. Rewarding your employees is very easy and takes just a few minutes as long as you don’t forget to do it.

By rawpixel.com. CC0 Creative Commons
By rawpixel.com. CC0 Creative Commons | Source

6. Always Looking for Better Ways to Do Something

Quick solutions are easy and readily available for any kind of problem, and it can feel rewarding when you manage to put out a fire. But when you’re spending all your time firefighting, you risk overlooking the broader problem. Take the time to get to the cause of the issue so you can develop a longer-term solution.

By Pixabay. CC0 Creative Commons
By Pixabay. CC0 Creative Commons | Source

7. Set High Standards and Expect Results

Of course, it’s less stressful if you set low expectations that are guaranteed to be met, but don’t be afraid to set the bar high and demand excellence from yourself and your employees. Having stretch goals will ensure that you and your team will feel motivated to push yourselves. Just don’t set the bar impossibly high.

When you expect more from yourself and from your people, you know your team is continually improving, but when you expect less, less is all you’ll get.

By rawpixel.com. CC0 Creative Commons
By rawpixel.com. CC0 Creative Commons | Source

8. Constantly Learning

A good manager makes the growth and development of employees a top priority. It’s also important to prioritize your own development as well. Look for new challenges and opportunities to learn. Schedule a meeting with yourself once a week just as you would schedule one with an employee.

By picjumbo.com. CC0 Creative Commons
By picjumbo.com. CC0 Creative Commons | Source

9. Remember to Have Fun

Yes, running a business is no joke. Money must be made, services and products must be delivered, and customers must be satisfied. But that doesn’t mean you should be serious all the time. It's okay to have a little fun in between moments of doing serious business. Create a work culture that makes employees enjoy coming in for work instead of looking for excuses to call in sick.

By rawpixel.com. CC0 Creative Commons
By rawpixel.com. CC0 Creative Commons | Source

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 KV Lo

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      • Kaitlyn Lo profile imageAUTHOR

        KV Lo 

        5 weeks ago

        @Sarah, Thank you!

      • aliveandfree profile image

        Sarah Cook 

        5 weeks ago from Wasaga Beach

        Great article!

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