Learning to Lead: Five Tips for Managing Employees

Few jobs are more challenging than being an effective manager. Supervisors are expected to be strong and knowledgeable, yet kind and encouraging. Even with the proper balance of good leadership and expertise, most find that motivating and managing employees is difficult.

There is no silver bullet – managers who keep their employees happy and productive often do so by being genuine, transparent, fair, and kind. So, whether you’re a new supervisor or an experienced professional, keep these five tips in mind.

1. Be Open, Up Front, and Human

You probably give your best effort while you’re at work, but you’re flawed like everyone else. When you do make mistakes, it can be helpful to share them with your team. Being transparent about your missteps can help to humanize you and shows that it’s okay to mess up. This, in turn, encourages your employees to push themselves outside of their comfort zones, ultimately leading to ingenuity and growth within your team.

2. Take Responsibility, Not Credit

No one gets to the top alone. Managers like you need people behind them to suggest ideas and execute them skillfully. Although it may be tempting to claim the success of your employees for your own, this makes the people who work for you invisible to the executive leadership in your office. Over time, holding your team back in this way may lead to resentment, stagnation, and poor retention.

With this in mind, you must give credit to your employees where credit is due. When a member of your team has a good idea, don’t claim it for your own. Tell leadership where the idea came from. Take every opportunity to credit your staff publicly. That way, your employees will feel proud of their accomplishments and recognized for their contributions.

3. Show Appreciation and that You Care

People on your team want to feel valued and appreciated for who they are. As a manager, there are many things you can do to show that you care about your employees. For example, you can write “thank you” notes to staff members who’ve put in a lot of extra work. Or, you can engage in team-building exercises to encourage comradery and partnership.

Another simple way to show that you care is to ask team members about their families, hobbies, and more. You should also be sure to follow up when an employee tells you about something important going on in their life. The more you remember about your employee’s personal lives, the more you’ll show that you’ve listened to what they have to say. Keep it up, and members of your team will see that you’re on their side.

4. Delegate Tasks

You’re probably responsible for quite a few tasks, although you may not have time for all of them. Perhaps you have meetings to attend and projects to finish. These responsibilities can take away from your ability to properly manage your team and may make it harder to be an effective manager.

Instead of getting lost in your own work, consider bringing in members of your team to help you. This gives your employees an opportunity to grow and the chance to show that they can handle more responsibility in the future. At the same time, task delegation frees up time for you, so you can focus your attention on being the best possible manager.

5. Help Them Grow

People perform best when they feel like they’re working toward something. Therefore, you should talk to your staff regularly about their goals for the future. Even if they don’t have well-formed objectives at the time of the discussion, talking about their future will encourage them to start thinking ahead. Once your employees know where they want to end up, they’ll be more motivated to take the necessary steps toward reaching their professional goals.

During these discussions, encourage your employees to identify the next steps in their careers. Do they need training? A job shadow? More challenging work? You may feel like you’re preparing your employees to leave your team, but the more motivated they are to achieve their goals, the better workers they’ll be.

Consider Investing in Leadership Training

To be a good manager, you must keep growing as a leader. Therefore, it’s important to seek new training opportunities, learn new skills, and take on greater management challenges over time. The more you develop your expertise, the easier managing others will be. Luckily, there are many career coaches and trainers available that can help you improve your leadership skills and become a more effective manager.

Author Bio: Mark Strong is the owner and CEO of Strong Training & Coaching. He is a renowned business coach and trainer who has helped large and small companies flourish.