7 Keys to Becoming a More Effective Manager
For many entrepreneurs, the last thing you want to worry about (or do) is managing. You want to get out there and meet customers and create awesome products and bring exciting new opportunities through your front door. But unless you’ve hired a management team to take on the task of managing your people, then you’re still on the hook.
The good news is that you can make that task a little bit easier for yourself by remembering these 7 essential management keys, and your organization will benefit as a direct result.
1. Delegate Wisely
The key to management success is to learn to effectively delegate both the responsibility for completing assignments and the authority required to get things done. Many entrepreneurs feel that they need to control every little thing that their employees do. This is a recipe for disaster. When you delegate work to employees, you multiply the amount of work you can accomplish while you develop your employees’ confidence, leadership and work skills.
2. Set Goals
Every employee needs goals to strive for. Not only do goals give employees direction and purpose, but they ensure that your employees are working towards the overall organizational goals. Set specific and measurable goals with your employees, then regularly monitor their progress toward achieving them.
Far too many managers communicate far too little. It's often difficult for busy business owners and executives to keep their employees up-to-date on the latest organizational news. Regardless, you must make every effort to get employees the information they need to do their jobs quickly and efficiently.
4. Make Time for Employees
Above all, managing is a people job. When an employee needs to talk with you--whatever the reason--make sure that you set aside the time to do so. Put your work aside for a moment, put down your smartphone, and focus on the person standing in front of you.
5. Recognize Achievements
Every employee wants to do a good job. And when they do a good job, employees want recognition from their bosses. Unfortunately, few bosses do much in the way of recognizing and rewarding employees for a job well done. The good news is that there are many things bosses can do to recognize employees that cost little or no money, are easy to implement, and that take only a few minutes to accomplish. Don’t believe me? Check out Dr. Bob Nelson’s classic book 1501 Ways to Reward Employees (Workman, 2012).
6. Think About Lasting Solutions
No matter how difficult the problem, there is always a quick solution, and entrepreneurs are happiest when they are devising solutions to problems. The trouble is that, in our zeal to fix things quickly and move on to the next fire, we often overlook the lasting solution that may take longer to develop. Although it’s more fun to be a firefighter, the next time you have a problem to solve in your organization, deal with the cause of the problem instead of simply treating the symptoms.
7. Don't Take It Too Seriously
Without a doubt, owning a company is serious business. Products and services must be sold and delivered, and money must be made. Despite the gravity of these responsibilities, successful managers make their organizations fun places to work. Instead of having employees who look for every possible reason to call in sick or to arrive to work late or go home early, managers whose organizations have fun end up with an energized workforce that works hard and plays hard.
Take a few minutes to reflect on your own approach to management. Are you hitting all 7 of these marks?
While Peter Economy has spent the better part of two decades of his life slugging it out mano a mano in the management trenches, he is also the best-selling author of Managing for Dummies, The Management Bible, Leading Through Uncertainty, and more than 75 other books, with total sales in excess of two million copies. He has also served as associate editor for Leader to Leader for more than 10 years, where he has worked on projects with the likes of Jim Collins, Frances Hesselbein, Marshall Goldsmith, and many other top management and leadership thinkers. Sign up here to always stay up to date with Peter's latest Inc.com columns, and visit him anytime at petereconomy.com.