Whether you’re a sole trader or have employees, your success is due, in part, to your ability to manage people and resources. Customers, suppliers, staff, partners and projects all need managing if you’re going to get the best results.
Here are ten tips for becoming a great manager.
1. Trust people
Believe the best of others and they’ll often live up to, or even surpass, expectations. Micro-management is not the trait of a great manager.
2. Don’t be afraid to deal with problems
Things will go wrong. A great manager puts systems in place to alert them to issues, and tackles problems immediately. This can involve challenging the actions of others, but that should always be carried out in a constructive way.
Jumping to conclusions or solving problems without seeking the opinions of others are not attributes of a great manager. If something has gone wrong, it’s important to discover whether there is a deeper underlying issue that’s caused it, and listening to what people have to say can help uncover this.
4. Help others achieve their goals
Everyone has their own ambitions. You’ll get better results from people if you can harness that ambition to their day-to-day activities.
5. Be firm but fair
Objectives are there to be achieved and a great manager will apply the pressure needed to get results. But they won’t push too hard or too far, and they’ll be even-handed and consistent.
6. Help others overcome obstacles
Everyone runs into barriers from time to time. A great manager comes alongside others and helps them to find ways around their difficulties.
7. Get the answers from others
Often the best solutions come from unexpected sources. The great manager knows their job is not to come up with all the ideas, but to coax ideas from those who understand the detail. They then turn those ideas into reality by involving others as appropriate.
8. Set the tone
People are at their most productive when they have clear objectives, a sense of purpose and a positive working environment. A great manager ensures that all of these are in place and works to maintain them.
9. Know your limitations
Everyone depends on the mix of skills and experience of their team. Even a sole trader relies on their suppliers to give them what they need, and their professional advisors for advice in finance, marketing and other areas. A great manager knows what they are good at and what others are good at, and manages activity to get the best possible results from that combination.
10. Share the glory
Words like ‘thank you’ and ‘well done’ are hugely powerful and great managers use them. They also make sure that everyone’s part in an achievement is recognised. While they might be the centre of attention when things go well, a great manager will try to deflect as much of that attention as possible to their team. They seek to share their success.