10 ways to be a better manager

Organisations do not fall because of bad strategies but because they retain bad managers.

Ahmad Fuad January 03, 2011
People do not usually quit their jobs because they are unhappy with an organisation, but because they are unable to give input to the degree which satisfies them.

Satisfaction comes from performing tasks exceptionally well. This feeling can be created through the effective management of the human resource. Here lies the role of the manager who needs to know the power of his written and spoken words, his anger and smile, his attitude and behavior.

Organisations generally do not fall because of bad strategies, but because they encounter bad managers. It is important to note that bad managers are not those who are rude but those who do not know the importance of their  their role.

Most managers do not realize how significant their words are. They can cause stress or depression in employees which will impact performance and eventually impede the organisation's growth. How can this be avoided?

Try to keep the following points in mind to be a good manager and be a role-model to subordinates.

1. Bite your tongue

A manager has to remain cool and patient, no matter what comes his way. When it comes to errors committed by an employee, no reaction is the best reaction. If a manager is short-tempered and so stern that his subordinates have to think twice before talking to him then there is no doubt that he is a bad manager.

If a manager cannot manage his own emotions, one wonders how he would manage others’. A good manager knows his strengths well. Knowing the job oneself is fundamental to management skills. For example, if you think that you are a task manager, then you should right away refuse to take a job of people management or any other for that matter.

Managing people and managing tasks are two different skills.  A good task manager will never accept the role of a people manager and vice versa.

2. Words matter

The people manager must understand the importance of his words. His words can boost the morale of his people as well as demoralise them. He remains effective as long as his anger and smiles are well-managed. When he says, “You look really good in green” that means he is not only boosting his subordinate’s morale but also adding the same color in the subordinate’s wardrobe. He has to be very careful in passing any comments especially ones which highlight the areas of improvements because such comments are normally taken as negative feedback.

3. Do not judge - evaluate

Most of us judge people. Even a first impression is enough to make us think we can comment on someone. This may work in day-to-day life but it is a fatal error for a manager.

A people manager needs to dealing with each individual independently. He has to keep background, behavior and aptitude in mind.

4. Keep track

Before giving feedback to a team member make sure you know what you are talking about! Follow a schedule and maintain a chart of when products are delivered and if items are pending. If you find someone is coming late without informing you, do not pass a sarcastic remark but be clear and polite by saying:

“Official timings begin at 9am and you reached work at 9:20am today. Please try to reach the office by 9am.”

You can mark timing against a sheet with his name. If the situation improves you can update the sheet and encourage the employee. If it does not repeat the instructions. Always give employees time to improve and give regular feedback.

A sign of a bad people manager is that he will always wait for the last month of a working year i.e. December to highlight his subordinate’s shortcomings. In this way he intends to hurt the subordinate’s appraisal.

A sign of a good people manager is that he keeps a log of events to improve the employee’s performance, and not to punish or ridicule him. Encouragement breeds what punishments and ridicules do not.

5. Give constructive feedback

There is no such thing as good or bad feedback. Rather, constructive feedback always contains a log of a series of events (documentary proof) which gives a clear guideline to the subordinates what is expected by him, what errors he has been making and how he can improve in a given time frame. It is always tightly structured and helps groom the subordinates.

Constructive feedback is a report, not a story.

On the contrary, poor feedback is always emotional and unstructured which does not contain guidelines for the subordinates and never highlights the areas of improvement; the how-to-improve part is always missing.

6. Neutralising illusions

Neutralising illusions is one of the biggest tasks of a people manager. There is a misconception that the ‘stick’ has a stronger impact in ‘carrot and stick’ method. People managers think that their subordinates perform well when they are pressurised and they come up with demands when they are appreciated.

A manager has to give a clear picture of the organisations’ goals, the market situation, overall profit ratio, the competition within and outside the organisation and the targets they achieved as an organization. He needs to discuss all the elements which play a vital role in promotions and increments. He should not break the chain of communication until the subordinate is satisfied.

7. Winning hearts and minds

Every manager has to understand that people are not loyal to organizations. They are loyal to their managers. If your subordinates respect you then they will work for you and it will be beneficial for the whole organisation, including the employee himself and the manager.

8. Have a heart

A manager has to have an empathetic heart. However, he should not try to behave like a father, though employees expect the same at times.

He needs to develop relationship with his subordinate so that they should look to him when they are in trouble. Yes, he can enjoy the status of a fatherly-figure but for that purpose he needs to help his people grow as strong individuals who can handle things on their own without giving up their personal and professional responsibilities.

9. Train a replacement

It this a threatening prospect? No, certainly not!

When you feel that the circumstances have touched the point that you are comfortable with the job you have been assigned with and the people around you have started relying on you, and there are some tasks which cannot be accomplished without your help, stop and contemplate. This is not a good thing. In fact, it is an alarming moment for you.

Let's put it this way, if you cannot be replaced, you cannot be promoted. Therefore, always pass on your skills on to your subordinates.

Follow the law of nature which is: Do not stick to one position only.

10. Make miracles happen

Instill confidence! Only satisfied employees can accomplish miracles. The failure of employees in performing their jobs well is the failure of a manager in disguise, as proves that he remained comprehensively unsuccessful in managing their potential well.

Ahmad Fuad A corporate training specialist and motivational speaker. Fuad has also worked as a professional sports journalist for Daily Khabrain and has been writing bi-lingual articles for national and international journals. He played professional cricket at the Under 16 and Under 19 level.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

Facebook Conversations