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Published on March 17, 2020

How to Be a Good Manager and Effective Leader

How to Be a Good Manager and Effective Leader

Author and speaker Brian Tracy once said,

“Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily, even if you had no title or position.”

That sounds good, but how exactly do you become the sort of leader that others want to follow? Regardless of where you are in your career, everyone can learn how to be a good manager and effective leader. Being a leader is really all about knowing who you are and where you want to go.

Once you have this down you’ll be able to better share your ideas with others and bring out their best qualities.  As a manager, knowing what makes a good leader and how to put those traits into practice will be the difference between accomplishing an objective or failing to meet the demands.

Being a good manager and effective leader isn’t always going to be easy. Some of the most successful leaders in business, however, have credited setbacks and frustrations with invaluable learning experiences that made them better leaders in the long run. Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos once wrote in a letter to his shareholders that:[1]

“Failure comes part and parcel with invention.”

You may not feel like a born leader, but by working to embrace these traits, you can learn to not just be a good manager, but one who inspires others.

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1. Understand the Value of Those Around You

Regardless of whether they’re running a Fortune 500 company or a local diner, a good manager doesn’t take their team for granted. Your employees made a choice to join your team and will be more willing to accept responsibilities and tasks if they know you see them as a valued member.

Effective leaders guide those around them through challenges, because they know a team is at its strongest when everyone is focused and prepared for their particular duty. By showing genuine interest in those around you, you’ll communicate that you care about your employees and their role in the organization.

2. Embrace Collaboration

Few Earth-shaking innovations are the result of a single mind. An effective leader may have the spark for an idea, but they welcome collaboration from others to shape and mold it into a reality.

Successful leaders embrace a collaborative spirit with their employees by sharing their expectations and promoting engagement. This could be anything from group brainstorming sessions to team-building seminars and classes. It’s simply about inviting participation from those around you.

3. Set Your Employees Up for Success.

It’s a sobering truth that around 60 percent of new managers fail within their first 24 months.[2] Often times, not setting your employees up for success plays a major role.

As a manager, it’s your responsibility to know the roles of those on your team and what they need to accomplish their duties.

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  • Do they have the materials needed to perform their job?
  • Have they been given clear instructions on their objective?
  • Do they know who to turn to if they have a question?

These are all things that help to establish employee confidence and demonstrate strong management traits to those on your team.

4. Don’t Just Dictate – Listen

If there were one single trait that was crucial for an effective leader to have, it would be good communication skills. If all you’re doing is barking orders, then it’s not going to be long before you don’t have anybody to bark orders at, because everyone will walk out the door.

Virgin Airlines founder Richard Branson says that a good leader should be listening twice as much as they’re speaking.[3] He realizes that a good idea for solving a problem can come from anybody in his company whether they’re working on the top floor or at the very bottom.

Don’t try to solve every problem yourself, ask others for their opinion, and if somebody comes to you with an idea, give them the respect of listening to what they have to say.

5. Acknowledge Successes

Humans need encouragement and acknowledgment, plain and simple. If somebody does a good job, tell them so. An effective leader doesn’t rejoice in just their own wins, but celebrates the successes of those around them. Founder of Ready Steady Sell, David Sessford, says that the efficiency of his team improved by 35% by offering regular rewards and bonuses for hitting targets.

According to Forbes, 65 percent of employees want more feedback from their managers.[4] There are, of course, a multitude of ways to acknowledge an employee’s success.

  • A simple “great job” is always nice.
  • Celebratory drinks or meals.
  • Promotions and bonuses.

A little bit of recognition for a job well done can go a long way and oftentimes, it only takes a few minutes to show it.

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6. Learn to Resolve Conflicts

Conflicts between employees are bound to crop up here and there. How you choose to handle them can be the difference between a productive team and one that unravels.

As a leader, you should listen to both points of view and work to resolve conflicts quickly and effectively in the best way so that the problem doesn’t come up again. The secret to effective conflict resolution is learning to separate the people from the emotions related to the problem. By doing this, you’ll be able to better solve problems in a way that satisfies both parties.

7. Show Confidence, Not Arrogance

Good leaders thrive on adversity and are willing to take chances, as long as their failures provide a valuable learning experience. They’re calm during turbulent times and commit to a course of action. This might sound like blind arrogance, but it actually shows confidence, plus a willingness to challenge the norm and strive for something better.

When you know your values and have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish you’ll feel secure about the work you’re doing.

8. Inspire a Shared Vision

Remember that quote from the top about how a good leader would inspire others to follow even without a title? That’s because they know how to unite those around them toward a common goal or vision. This is done through good communication, confidence, and acknowledging successes.

Effective leaders are passionate about their ideas and actively look for ways to get those around them excited about an idea or goal. By connecting with your employees and helping them understand why their role matters, you’ll encourage them to share your vision.

9. Stay Up to Date With Your Industry

Your team members are going to look to you as the person with the plan. They want to know that you have ideas for capitalizing on the good times as well as weathering the bad times. This means keeping current on what’s going on in your field and continuing to expand your knowledge.

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Talk to other leaders in your field and network. Join local professional organizations. By keeping up with the trends and changes in your field, you’ll be that much more confident of a leader for your team.

10. Trust Your Employees to Succeed

Good managers know how to delegate work and aren’t afraid to put trust in their employees to accomplish a task. If you’re always second-guessing  your team members you’re creating a fear-based workplace, and likely a lot of resentment.

You’ve probably heard the phrase, employees don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses. Well, micromanaging is a surefire way to drive your employees nuts and have them turning in a letter of resignation.

11. Recognize Potential and Foster Innovation

Take the time to get to know those around you, no matter what their position in the organization may be. Each member on your team is going to have their own unique skills and goals — nurture them.

A good manager is growth-oriented, for themselves and others. Strive to recognize opportunities for others to take on new challenges, and support strengths when you see them. Effective leaders groom others to lead.

12. Lead by Example

If you want those around you to be organized, motivated, and working towards a goal, then you should be, as well. Model the behaviors that you want your employees to embrace. It’s easy to simply tell somebody what to do, but it’s going to be far more effective if you set the example with your own behavior.

The Bottom Line

Learning how to be a good manager and effective leader doesn’t happen overnight. It takes practice and willingness to work on self-improvement. Great leadership is about doing the right thing and inspiring the same in others. Are you ready?

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Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Chris Porteous

The CEO of Grey Smoke Media / My SEO Sucks, helping entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.

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Last Updated on January 25, 2021

6 Reasons Why Perfectionism Kills Your Productivity

6 Reasons Why Perfectionism Kills Your Productivity

Perfectionism sounds like a first world problem, but it stifles creative minds. Having a great idea but doubting your ability to execute it can leave you afraid to just complete and publish it. Some of the most successful inventors failed, but they kept going in pursuit of perfection. On the other end of the spectrum, perfectionism can hinder people when they spend too much time seeking recognition, gathering awards and wasting time patting themselves on the back. Whatever your art, go make good art and don’t spend time worrying that your idea isn’t perfect enough and certainly don’t waste time coming up with a new idea because you’re still congratulating yourself for the last one.

1. Remember, perfection is subjective.

If you’re worried about achieving perfectionism with any single project so much that you find yourself afraid to just finish it, then you aren’t being productive. Take a hard look at your work, edit and revise, then send it our into the world. If the reviews aren’t the greatest, learn from the feedback so you can improve next time.

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2. Procrastination masquerades itself as perfectionism.

People who procrastinate aren’t always lazy or trying to get out of doing something. Many who procrastinate do so because perfectionism is killing their productivity, telling them that if they wait a better idea will come to them.

3. Recognize actions that waste time.

Artists and all creative people need time to incubate; those ideas will only grow when properly watered, but if you’re not engaging in an activity that will help foster creativity, you might just be wasting time. Remember to do everything with purpose, even relaxing.

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4. Don’t discriminate against your worth.

No one is actually perfect. We often have tremendous ideas or write things that move people emotionally, but no one attains that final state of being perfect. So, don’t get down if your second idea isn’t as good as your first—or vice versa. Perfectionists tend to be the toughest critics of their work, so don’t criticize yourself. You are not your work no matter how good or how bad.

5. Stress races your heart and freezes your innovation.

Stress is a cyclic killer that perfectionists know well because that same system that engages and causes your palms to sweat over a great idea is the same system that kicks in and worries you that you’re not good enough. Perfectionism means striving for that ultimate level, and stress can propel you forward excitedly or leave you shaking in fear of the next step.

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6. Meeting deadlines beats waiting for perfect work.

Don’t let your fear of failure prevent you from meeting your deadline. Perfection is subjective and if you’re wasting time or procrastinating, you should just finish the job and learn from any mistakes. Being productive means completing work. You shouldn’t try for months or even years to perfect one project when you can produce projects that improve over time.

Featured photo credit: morguefile via mrg.bz

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