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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

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Chris Porteous

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

How to Be a Good Manager and Effective Leader 11 Organizational Skills That Every Smart Leader Needs Effective vs Efficient: What’s the Difference Regarding Productivity? Effective Employee Onboarding (The Complete Guide) 12 Effective Time Management Skills for Managers

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems.

In this article, you will learn why it isn’t easy to build new habits, and how to change habits.

What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

The Biology

Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

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Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

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Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

The Psychology

Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

1. Identify Your Habits

As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

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2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

3. Apply Logic

You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

4. Choose an Alternative

As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

5. Remove Triggers

Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

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6. Visualize Change

Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

Final Thoughts

Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

More About Changing Habits

Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

Reference

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