14 Key Areas of Improvement for Managers (with Examples)
Increasing productivity, revenue, and profits are any company’s topmost vision and mission. All that is achievable only when there’s good leadership. That’s why as a manager, you need to consistently self-reflect to identify and work on areas of weaknesses and strengths.
For example, how are your communication skills? Do you feel like you’re using the right language that employees can understand? Do you feel like your messages are clear enough to not become a source of confusion in the workplace?
Managing a group of workers is no mean feat, particularly when it comes to distributed teams. It’s a skill that needs mastering if you are to drive your organization toward success and be respected as a leader. Effective management has been proven to result in happy employees, improved productivity, and increased profits.
Now, how do you become a better manager? That’s the million-dollar question and one that we help you answer. Below, you’ll find valuable information on the key areas of improvement for managers. This is a go-to guide to building a self-sustaining, result-oriented, and independent team.
Ready? Let’s jump right in.
How to Improve as a Manager in the Workplace
No one wants to work with a bad manager and it’s every manager’s goal to become the best leader possible for their team. A report by Gallup proved this with research that showed one to two workers will leave their job just to “get away” from their bosses.
The same report goes on to show that 54% of employees become engaged when they feel they can approach their manager with any type of issue. On the other hand, among workers who feel they can’t approach their manager with any type of questions, 65 percent are actively disengaged. The report brings to light that employees look to someone who guides, rather than bosses.
Another eye-opening study shows that employees cite a lack of engagement as the top reason for quitting their jobs. Unsurprisingly, the number one factor contributing to worker engagement is the type of manager-employee relation that exists.
You can tell from these reports that managers have a direct impact on employee performance and productivity. They can be the source of frustration or motivation in the workplace. As a manager, you should always strive to end up in the latter rather than the former.
To improve as a manager, you should be ready to learn new skills, identify areas of strengths, and find ways to become better at your job. Additionally, always seek feedback from others, including your employees. By understanding how your staff perceives you and your interaction with them, you can know where you need to change or adjust.
14 Essential Areas of Improvement for Managers
1. Build Trust
The only way to win employees’ loyalty is to build trust. Workers follow leaders because they believe in them. However, trust must be earned, and one way to achieve that is to demonstrate honesty and integrity in the workplace.
So, how can you instill trust in employees?
- Be respectful. Show that you respect your workers’ decisions and you only want them to do their best work.
- Maintain credibility. Follow through with your promises. For example, if you promise your staff a learning opportunity or a project, keep your word.
- Treat everyone equitably. Make fair decisions, especially when it comes to promotions. Everyone, regardless of their gender or racial background, must feel included.
2. Take an Interest in Your Employees
Another key area of improvement for managers is to keep in mind that each employee is unique. They all have their strengths and weaknesses, and the best approach is to personalize your interactions with each team member.
Take the time to listen to your staff and find ways to make them feel valued. Listen actively to their concerns, ideas, and opinions about work. However, don’t stop there. Consider their goals, abilities, interests, and skills and offer growth opportunities.
This gives the impression that you have an interest in them.
3. Hone Your Motivational Skills
How motivated are your employees? Motivation keeps your team focused, ready, and willing to work on tasks diligently. Where there’s a lack of it, team spirit goes down. Consequently, work performance gets affected negatively.
A good manager will strive to hone his/her motivational skills, so they can inspire their employees to remain passionate about their work. That passion is what breeds success and boosts team performance.
You can instill motivation among your workers by:
- Fostering an atmosphere of team spirit and cohesiveness.
- Leading by example. If you want your employees to always report early to work and stay late, do the same. Likewise, if you want employees to give their all, do the same.
- Letting them know that a team wins or loses together. It’s not an individual’s fault that they missed the deadline, but the whole team’s. This should inspire togetherness in every project.
- Don’t micromanage (more on this in Tip #7).
4. Set the Right Example
Setting the right example as a manager plays a big role for your staff. If you work hard, never come to work drunk, respect employees, and follow through with your promises, chances are, your team will reciprocate your good habits.
While not everyone will follow your example, the vast majority will. The best quality about being a leader is the ability to hold it together even when things are hectic and intense. You need to show a steady impression, which in turn will keep the employees calm.
Reacting erratically not only leaves your workers confused and worried but also increases uncertainty among them. Calmness is a reflection of confidence while losing control shows weakness.
5. Hone Your Communication Skills
Treat communication as a two-way street and let your employees know that you’re approachable. It should be a productive tool that serves as a back-and-forth conversation. Moreover, when communicating, you should have the team’s best interests in mind.
As a manager, being an active listener goes a long way in helping employees feel heard. It’s an effective skill to propel success in any business model and one of the major areas of improvement for managers.
Additionally, make yourself accessible to employees. Managers can be a little intimidating to workers, and this may make them hesitate to ask questions. That’s why it’s crucial to communicate your availability for questions, be it in person, email, or direct messaging. For this to be possible, you must find the best collaboration and communication tools that work for everyone on the team.
Having an open-door policy helps you build trust with your employees, as well as gain important insights about them and the company.
6. Set Clear Goals
Your employees can only work efficiently if they have clear goals to follow. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to paint a clear but succinct picture of each team member’s mission and desired outcome.
Your staff will become effective at their tasks and projects if they know what needs to be done. This brings us back to the importance of communication. When assigning tasks, be sure to provide clear instructions and all the details necessary to successfully complete the task.
Once you do that, trust your team to get the job done. Don’t control every step of what they do. Doing so only shows a lack of confidence in their skills and is likely to dampen their spirits and kill morale.
Be sure to create realistic and productive goals for your employees. The only way to achieve this is by involving them in the process of defining the mission and objectives. Remember, transparency is key here. Discussing everything openly is the best way to ensure team members approach tasks with the right perspective.
7. Empower, Don’t Micromanage
It’s not uncommon to find managers delegating tasks and then trying to control every little thing employees do. After assigning tasks, let them try to work on them without you getting involved.
Encourage them to try and solve problems before coming to you. Doing so empowers them to feel you believe in and trust them. Empowering workers also builds their confidence and creativity.
Micromanaging, on the other hand, makes employees feel powerless and unable to apply their skills and knowledge. In turn, this leads to loss of trust, lowered morale, and decreased productivity. Employee micromanagement also discourages teamwork and leads to an increase in employee turnover.
8. Be More Open to New Ideas and Approaches
To improve as a manager, learn to be flexible and adaptable to changes. Keep in mind that employees are the eyes of the company, and some of the best ideas you’ll ever get will come from them.
Come to think of it. They are the ones working in the trenches every single day. So, when it comes to suggesting new approaches to policy changes or new ideas regarding work, you should be willing to listen to your employees.
Don’t be afraid to take risks. You’d do well to discuss every possible outcome with your staff and decide what’s viable and what’s not.
9. Learn That Feedback Is Two-Way
We’ve all received or given feedback of some kind at least once in our lifetime. Feedback has been cited as an effective method of highlighting weaknesses and strengths to help people become better at what they do.
Feedback has many benefits to the giver, the receiver, and the overall organization, including:
- Motivating employees to perform better
- Building better working relations with clients, suppliers, stakeholders, and vendors
- Helping formulate better decisions to improve performance
- Clarifying expectations
A manager should view feedback as a tool for continued learning.
Employees make mistakes, sometimes without knowing it. If you don’t make them understand how they perform, how do you expect them to improve?
A great manager tries to make constructive feedback frequently rather than waiting for the annual appraisal or for people to fail. For example, addressing issues affecting an underperforming team member may help him/her improve and deliver excellent outcomes.
Unfortunately, feedback can sometimes be mistaken for criticism, especially if not provided effectively. This can ruin relations with employees and create resentment.
That’s why you should find the best ways to offer constructive feedback, based on the unique personalities of each employee.
10. Face Issues Head-On
Being a good manager means facing issues head-on and looking for appropriate solutions before they affect the entire team. Remember, your top priority is the success of the company and the well-being of your workers. That can’t happen if you sweep problems under the rug.
When employees quarrel, deadlines are frequently missed, and projects aren’t done properly, you should take responsibility and fix the problems. Keep in mind that not everyone will like your approach when trying to solve problems.
However, would you jeopardize the whole organization because of one incompetent employee? That’s highly unlikely. A great manager is proactive and identifies issues before they balloon. Honing your problem-solving skills makes it easier for teams to do their jobs and earns you respect from employees.
11. Don’t Shy Away from One-on-One Meetings
We mentioned earlier that employees are unique individuals with their strengths and weaknesses. So, as a leader, you must make time for your staff members and address their concerns and personal issues.
Even when you’re busy attending other meetings, don’t forget that your employees matter a lot. One-on-one sessions offer an excellent platform for learning more about your team members, their careers, and life goals.
Let these meetings be about them alone. Most importantly, keep in mind that some employees may respond well to a hands-on approach while others prefer their space.
Learning the best approach to manage each employee makes it easier to open up and excel at their jobs.
12. Involve Employees in Key Decisions
An effective leader knows the importance of real involvement and team collaboration when it comes to team management. You want each team member to feel like a part of the company, not just a means to an end.
It starts by taking steps to be a true collaborator, such as:
● Involving your team(s) in decisions that affect them. Let everyone be heard before making the final decisions. For example, if you plan to shift to a work-from-home model, ask about their concerns about the change.
● Seeking employees’ opinions, suggestions, and concerns and try to address them.
Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to employee management. You need to manage each team member in a unique way that brings out the best in what they do. Involving them in making decisions and valuing their input will encourage them to be more engaged and steer your company forward.
Delegation is among the top areas of improvement for managers since employees are more engaged when working on what suits them best. The last thing you want as a leader is to force a staff member to fit the role.
That’s why it’s important to know each team member’s talent and skills for better delegation. Think of each employee as a resource and use the resource efficiently. After all, your goal is to minimize time and resource wastage.
Furthermore, people always enjoy doing what they love. So, assign tasks appropriately and according to qualifications.
14. Employee Appreciation
Nothing makes employees feel more appreciated, like employee recognition. Celebrating achievements, no matter how small, inspires workers to go above and beyond to produce great work. It creates healthy competition, and the results can be mind-blowing.
Employee recognition and appreciation make them feel like pay raises and promotions are fair, spurring extra effort and creativity. There are numerous employee appreciation ideas that you can implement as part of your company culture.
Figure out what works best for you and your teams and find the best tools to help you achieve that. For instance, you can monitor your team members’ performance and productivity using a time tracking tool like Traqq. This software will help you identify the top performers each month, so you know who deserves recognition and rewards.
You can also identify underperformers and help them grow. With Traqq, you can monitor the activity levels of each worker and generate reports that make it easier to analyze your company’s stand profit-wise.
Don’t Be Bossy: Improving Your Managerial Skills
Self-reflecting is a highly effective method when looking for areas of improvement for managers. Leading by example and learning to actively listen to your employees influences them to change their attitudes toward work.
A great boss isn’t bossy. He/she is flexible and adaptable to changes. He/she pays attention to their employees, values their inputs, and tries to build trust and confidence with the team. Remember, always ask for and give feedback. It’s one of the top drivers to achieving incredible results with your employees.