The transition to management is much more than a title change. It means committing to learning new skills that will help you be a positive leader. I recently participated in the “7 Habits for Highly Effective Managers” training developed by thought-provoking, best-selling author, Stephen R. Covey, and was immediately inspired. Through this, I was introduced to several proven habits that make leaders most successful. I’ve incorporated many of them into my daily routine and added a few tricks of my own. And I’ve stuck with them—because they really work! To help you go from a rookie manager to a seasoned pro, check out these five practices that can help you be an effective leader.
1. Do Less Talking and More Listening
Empathic listening is crucial to being a good leader and helps build trust in any partnership. Too often, managers seek to take command and direct the conversation with their employees. However, as a leader and a mentor, it’s important to understand how your employees are feeling and what might influence their behaviors. Understanding the content that has been discussed and repeating back specific points in the conversation is essential in being a good listener. Good listeners are more likely to be effective leaders because they develop a relationship built on trust and understanding.
2. Create Clear-Cut Objectives
One of the most important aspects to being a good manager is to set specific, measurable objectives—they can be an effective way to drive strategies and improve business processes. In order for your employees to succeed, they must understand what is expected of them, both short- and long-term. It is also important to clearly define team goals and make them relevant to each employee’s overall goals. Creating a plan of action and issuing certain deadlines are also imperative in driving the process. And finally, continue to keep lines of communication open at all times to help individuals who need guidance along the way.
3. Set a Precedent
Being the best manager starts with managing yourself. As a manager, it is vital to lead by example. How you choose to handle a situation or tackle an objective can greatly influence those around you. For example, if you’re a stickler with your team about being early, but continually arrive to work 30 minutes late, you open the door to similar behaviors from your employees and can lose your credibility as a leader. Remember the old saying “practice what you preach.” Demonstrate attributes and values you require in others. If you expect a strong work ethic, demand one of yourself. If you desire a positive attitude, project positivity in unfavorable circumstances. Your behavior can directly impact your employees and will set the stage for how they perform.
4. Hold Yourself and Others Accountable
The ability to manage doesn’t exist without accountability. Great management is holding yourself and those around you accountable to deliver results. Start with your personal organization. Are you prepared? Are you managing your time effectively? If you impose a deadline for a project, you need to hold yourself accountable to it. Time management becomes of utmost importance as a manager because you are managing others as well as yourself. Additionally, when you set a deadline, it’s your responsibility to ensure your employees see it through.
5. Engage in Positive Reinforcement
One of the best ways to motivate a team and produce results is by using positive reinforcement. My manager once told me, “Find one positive in every day.” This advice really stuck with me. Especially in a sales environment, we are constantly looking at our peers to compare how we are doing, but when someone is having a bad day, those comparisons can be discouraging. Even the smallest successes can be extremely powerful in helping people believe in themselves. When you positively reinforce, you cultivate an environment that focuses mostly on what individuals are doing right. And when doing so, it is essential to be specific about what an individual has done so they are conditioned to repeat that behavior moving forward.
Becoming a new manager may seem like a daunting prospect. But if you add these 5 tips to your managerial toolbox, you will improve your skills and quickly become an efficient leader for your employees.
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