Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on December 8, 2020

7 Ways to Improve Your Management Leadership Skills

7 Ways to Improve Your Management Leadership Skills

We all want to be better management leaders. As employers or as managers, management leadership is something that consciously and subconsciously affects all our moves.

But do we fully understand what this really means?

Management and leadership are two separate terms. However, since they go hand in hand and work in unison, management leadership is referred to as one skill.

In a work environment, a healthy balance of both these ideas is important.

In this article, you’ll find out what management and leadership mean on their own as well as a combined concept. Along with this, you’ll learn 7 ways to maintain a balanced management leadership role.

The Role of a Manager

Since you are in authority, it is okay if you mend the rules every now and then. In fact, you are expected to go out of the box to take risks that will allow the entire team to work above and beyond boundaries.

This does not affect your job because as a leader, you are only looking at the bigger picture: the end result.

On the other hand, a manager works in a completely opposite manner. While a manager also maintains an image of authority, this power does not give the manager any supremacy over the rest of the team.

Instead, a manager is expected to work with the team on an equal level. This is why as a manager, you cannot break rules or take risks.

A manager’s role is to get the job done. How the team is managed to get the desired result is all up to the manager. So, every step that is taken to achieve a bigger goal is to be handled by the manager.

Advertising

A work team is like a machine. Every part is doing its job to achieve a common goal.

A manager is a part of this machine, although more crucial than the rest. However, a leader is only an external force that can control the machine but isn’t working within the machine like everybody else.

How to Balance Leadership and Management Roles?

You might be confused at this point.

We just discussed the differences between a manager and a leader. These two roles seem to be quite clashing. Yet, you are expected to somehow juggle both of them simultaneously.

When you get into the practical world, you’ll realize that you actually need to take on both these duties to maintain a running work environment.[1]

There are times when the team needs a motivational boost from a leader. But at other times, you have to step down at the same level as the rest of the team to help them tackle problems.

Without the role of a leader, a manager can never encourage any team to get creative. It is only when you’re ready to break rules and go against the flow that you can come up with something new and exciting.

Similarly, if you only focus on the bigger picture without considering the path, your dreams will never turn to reality. This is where a manager does the magic.

All in all, management leadership is one role that has to be fulfilled remarkably.

Things do get a bit clearer if you have other superiors over you. If the orders and suggestions are coming from above, you cannot really work as a leader. All that you are expected to do is behave like a manager.

Advertising

On the contrary, when you are given complete autonomy over a project, you can quickly put on the leadership hat.

First, inspire your team to come up with ideas that can be implemented to achieve the desired final result. After that, work as a manager to delegate tasks and ensure productivity.

7 Ways to Maintain a Balanced Management Leadership Role

Now that the idea of management leadership is clear in your mind, it’s time for you to work on improving this skill.

Here are 7 easy tips you can use to become a better manager and leader altogether!

1. Be a Role Model

Whether you’re acting as a leader or a manager, you are someone your team looks up to. This is why you need to be exactly who you want your team members to be.

Do you want everyone to be punctual? Stop being late yourself, even if it’s just a minute.

Would you prefer an optimistic aura in your workplace? Start practicing positivity yourself.

Believe it or not, people only do what they see as opposed to what they hear. So instead of talking the talk, start walking the walk and see how everyone else will follow.

2. Communicate the Bigger Picture

When you’re in the process of achieving a goal, you usually take on the role of a manager. At this point, you’re so focused on communicating the individual tasks that you can sometimes forget the bigger picture because that is what a leader is supposed to do.

However, without the expected outcome in mind, you and your team cannot produce it.

Advertising

Communicate the expectations very clearly as you’re delegating the tasks. So basically, this is where you have to act as a leader and a manager side by side.

3. Be Decisive

Your decision power is vital. A strong, decisive management leader makes the job easy for everyone. The team can put their trust in their supervisor, and you as the supervisor should be able to make firm choices.

No matter how unexpected of an issue or situation arises, your decisive power shouldn’t waver to maintain high morale and discipline.

The team will be able to put their trust in you. They will always know you’ll come up with a solid solution and so, they can focus their attention on more important tasks instead of minor worries like these.

Also, it saves a lot of time because you are always sure of what you want and what is completely off-limits for the team.

4. Have a Listening Ear

Management leaders can sometimes become too strict. In hopes of maintaining authority, they become so unreachable that they lose any connection with the team.

As a manager, it is your duty to work alongside your team to keep the machine running smoothly. Even as a leader and despite being an external force, you have to be involved enough to know how to keep the machine going.

Offer an open ear to listen to team conflicts, complaints regarding your role, feedback, suggestions, and anything else that your team members have to say.

Also, don’t just listen and ignore it. Act on it so that everyone feels heard and secure.

5. Accept Differences

Two people may be looking at the same thing and still not see it the same way. This is just how humans are.

Advertising

The day you accept this fact, you’ll instantly become much better at management leadership. You won’t expect your team to receive a carbon copy of what’s in your brain.

When you start accepting differences, you’ll be okay with people working in their comfort zones. Once that starts happening, your team will start to produce something beyond your expectations.

6. Build Your Team

As a management leader, your ultimate job is to build your team. Support them and empower them. Include people from varying backgrounds, with different skill sets, with different work styles, and maintain a healthy balance of variations.

With more brains on the team, you’ll get insight from different perspectives and that only broadens your options. Nothing can be more satisfying to a leader than a team like this.

This is also why inclusive teams and leaders are proven to produce better outputs.[2]

7. Never Stop Learning

It may be hard for you to comprehend but just because you’re at a higher authority level doesn’t mean you’ve learned everything.

There’s always room to grow. And this growth comes from learning. Continue to strive to improve your role as a management leader.

When your team sees that you continuously struggle to become better, they will follow you on the same route. Overall, continuous learning will reap better results for you and your organization.

Conclusion

The ball is now in your court. All that’s left to do now to become a better management leader is the application of this knowledge.

Take it one step at a time. Implement one tip at a time.

Begin now and you’ll notice mind-blowing results in your workplace within a short period!

More Management Leadership Skills

Featured photo credit: CoWomen via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

6 Ways to Finish Strong (When Your Momentum Is Low) 20 Things Life Is Too Short to Worry About How to Get Motivated Every Day When You Wake Up Does Less Discipline Equal More Freedom? The Endless Battle Between Good and Popular

Trending in Leadership

1 11 Things You Can Do to Increase Employee Productivity 2 3 Effective Ways To Collaborate With Your Team 3 How to Become a Leader That People Respect 4 The Importance of Delegating Leadership (And How to Do It) 5 How To Be Successful In Leadership As an Introverted Leader

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on January 6, 2021

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

Advertising

Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

3. Create a System

Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

5. Use a Ratings Scale

Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

Advertising

It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

7. Offer Feedback Forms

Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

8. Track Cost Effectiveness

This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

9. Use Self-Evaluations

Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

Advertising

Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

10. Monitor Time Management

This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

    The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

    While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

    11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

    We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

    Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

    For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

    Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

    Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

    From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

    12. Utilize Peer Feedback

    This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

    Advertising

    Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

    Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

    It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

    13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

    When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

    Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

    Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

    14. Use an External Evaluator

    Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

    They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

    While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

    Final Thoughts

    These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

    The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

    The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

    More Productivity Tips

    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next