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Management Skills without adding to the to-do list

No time for any more tasks, but want to ensure you’re BEING a good manager?

Growing an existing business or having rapid success in your own business is exciting, yet can be challenging at the same time.
I remember when I first started out as a manager, it would seem like a big pile of stuff that I needed to know. There was no structure to my thinking and really didn’t know how to prioritise my thinking or actions to get the best out of my team.
To be a good manager, there are many things you can DO, but rather than adding a whole heap of tasks to your list, I wanted to share with you, the understandings you need, to ensure you’re able to BE a great manager:

1) Be clear on your communication –

Intention is everything. If you’re clear on what the intention of your communication is, then you’ll most likely achieve it. Not being clear on your intention leaves the words to float around, landing in any way the person processes it and chooses to hear it. By stating your intention at the beginning of your communication, even if it’s a tough conversation, it removes any ambiguities, preventing the ‘stories’ in their head from creating a meaning you had no intention for.


2) Desired Out come –

In a moment of frustration or anger your communication has the possibility of just letting them know that they’ve messed up. That they have done the wrong thing by you, your business or your customers. Whilst it’s ok to feel this way, it’s important to consider how you want them to walk away from your communication. What do you want them to know, think and feel as a result of this conversation. Before you begin communicating with your team, identify what your desired outcome is from this communication. What is going to make them feel empowered so they can go on, focussing on being successful and productive, rather than pissed off or angry, justifying why they did what they did.

3) Lead by example: This is leadership 101 –

Do what ever you expect the team to do. If you expect them to clean the toilet, then create a roster and make sure you’re on it. I know this can be a difficult pill to swallow, however you’ll gain much more respect from your team if you’re willing to get in and do the dirty work sometimes too.

4) Hold to your word –

Do what you say when say what you’ll do. Nothing speaks louder to your team than your actions. So if you say you’ll do something ALWAYS follow through. If you cant, then acknowledge this to the team and explain the reasons for your decision. This is especially applicable when it comes to their development and training. If you make an appointment to do a review or help them with some training, make this your number one priority. Not following through on the commitment you make with them unconsciously tells them they are not important to you. You are the like the ‘hero’ in their world, almost like a parent and if you let them down, they can start questioning their position and value, losing confidence. This ultimately can have an impact on their performance and productivity.

5) Think above the line always –

The opposite to above the line is below the line. Making excuses and blaming external causes. Whilst this maybe justifiable, how does it impact your ability to do anything about it. You cant. If you think this way, then you give your team the licence to think this way also. There are no results and certainly no success coming from this approach. So ALWAYS think above the line. Take responsibility, own your results and be accountable. Even if the situation sucks. Whilst it may be difficult to do, it’s the only way you’ll have the ability to do something about it, to change what you’re doing to get a different result next time. When they see you behaving this way, they will learn that’s what you expect from them also.

6) Build Rapport –

The definition of rapport is “a close and harmonious relationship in which the people concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well.”  The best way to build rapport is to ask questions about the person and their life. This demonstrates that you care about them as a person, not just an output at work.  Then listen to them, show interest in them and what they’ve got going on and hopefully you’ll be able to find a common interest.  Something outside of work that you both have an interest in.  When you find the underlying commonality, you’ll have the ability to connect with them easily and start to build trust. Only when you have the ability to build trust, where they share their true feelings with you and tell you what’s really going on for them at work.

7) Trust starts with respect –

Like any relationship, for it to be successful, you must have trust. Trust starts with respect. Treat people how you’d like to be treated. Or imagine that your workplace was where your son or daughter, mother or father worked. How would you want them to be treated? What tone would you expect them to be spoken to in? What would you expect from their boss when holding them accountable?

8) Communicate in this format –

4Mat is a training theory on how to structure content for the ease of digestion by the entire audience. It’s a multifaceted theory, able to be used in day to day communication, servicing customers, dealing with customer complaints, addressing staff problems… pretty much anything that requires you to help someone get from point A to point B. The theory is that you always start with WHY you’re talking about this, why it’s relevant to them. Then you tell them exactly WHAT it is you’re talking about so state the problem, situation or definition of what you’re talking about. Next, you explain HOW to do it, either demonstrate it yourself, use examples, asking questions and communicating how it can be solved. Finally the WHAT IF or WHAT’S NEXT in the situation. Asking if they have any questions and explaining to them how you’re going to proceed. It takes a bit of practice, but this reassures the person you’re communicating with that you’ve got this. You’re the expert and know exactly what needs to happen.

9) Consistency is key –

With all of this, consistency is important because if you do half of it half of the time and then not the rest of the time, people will feel like they’re on an emotional rollercoaster, not knowing what to expect from you next.  We want to make sure people feel safe and the best way to ensure that is to be consistent.

10) Know who you are and what you stand for –

Finally, people want to follow people who think and believe in what they do. There is no better way to ensure you have the right staff than to be clear on who you are and what you value. It’s ok to not be a match for everyone, but it’s not ok to not have the understanding and continuously be stabbing in the dark when it comes to finding the next team member. You’ll just be on the spinning wheel trying to find the next ‘perfect person’. Hoping with your fingers crossed that they work out.

How to take this from theory to who you are…

If you can commit to yourself to just implement one point at a time, focussing on and delivering your communication in this way, in 2 or 3 months you’ll be consistent with all of it and it will feel comfortable. You will absolutely be a better manager of people. Good luck, I wish you much success in this area. If you’d like some help on getting clear on any of the above topics or just some accountability to ensure it happens, book in for a chat and we can make a plan to ensure it happens.
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