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Building Stellar Workplace Leaders: 7 Tips To Be a Good Manager

  • Candice Schmitt
  • May 16, 2022

The best companies have one thing in common: good leadership. Leadership can make or break a company. All leaders aren’t managers. There are, for example, informal leaders who may have no official title or claim to direct others. So while all leaders aren’t managers, in the most exceptional companies, all managers are leaders.

The traditional view of management is confined to the basic functions of planning, organizing, directing, staffing and controlling. That may fit neatly into the comfort zone for some people, but it doesn’t fit the way businesses operate today. As the competitive environment changes and the old work rules are discarded, the role of manager is becoming a lot more flexible.

When you’re managing people in a rapidly changing and fluid world, you need more skills than ever. It’s no longer sufficient, if it ever was, to simply be the smartest person in the room. As mentioned, the best managers are great leaders. This means they have both the hard and the soft skills to get the best from their people. 

Much has been written about leadership styles. But perhaps more important than any particular style are the things that great managers do every day. 

What Does Good Management Look Like in Practice?

If you want to know how to be a good manager, follow these seven essential tips every day:

Manage Up

New paradigms for leadership largely turn the top-down model on its head. Good managers aren’t simply following instructions received from on high. When you cultivate good relationships with your own managers, you’ll better understand the pressures and motivations behind their decisions. When the relationship is good, managers can even offer respectful feedback. In turn, your managers can learn how to best advocate for your success. 

Invest in the Next-Generation Leaders

As a manager in the current environment, you don’t have time to micromanage. You must manage to meet goals and objectives. This allows others to learn valuable skills and flex their problem-solving and leadership muscle. More importantly, you have the responsibility of creating new leaders. As a strong manager, you can rely on the people around you because you have taught them well and delegated tasks to them.

Favor Innovation Over Rinse-and-Repeat

A few decades ago, managers were focused on efficiency and productivity. This meant processes that were reliable and repeatable. Make no mistake, businesses still need a high level of efficiency. However, the companies with the most sustainable business models for the future are those that take risks. They aren’t afraid to try something new. It’s not strictly about technology. Rather, it’s about empowering people to discover the possibilities. If you aren’t innovating, you can be assured that some scrappy new startup is finding a way to do what you do, only better. 

Manage From the Inside Out

You can’t manage from outside the team. The best managers aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. This isn’t simply an improved version of managing by walking around. It’s managing by getting involved. Managers who master this skill have the opportunity to identify strengths and weaknesses in their team and to better understand their pain points. In order to do it most effectively, however, you must walk a fine line between being a team player and taking over. As a manager, it’s your job to provide the “what,” for example, the deliverables. To the extent possible, avoid telling people “how” to do their jobs. 

Share Knowledge

The rapidly changing business environment means that yesterday’s education and skills quickly become obsolete. You don’t have to be an expert in every new technology or management philosophy that crops up. But you do need to understand the extent of change. When you are busy with job responsibilities and home life, it can seem impossible. Fortunately, you never need to step into a bookstore, library or classroom to learn something new. Take time out of your busy schedule to read, take an online course, follow a blog, or have lunch with a colleague in your industry or another. Then share the information you collect and teach others what you know. 

Encourage Team Problem-Solving

Encourage problem-solving among your employees. It removes the pressure from you to always be the fixer. Further, it builds a critical skill that will make your company more profitable in the long run. Solicit ideas, ask for input and encourage team members to share. This has the additional benefit of helping employees think more holistically about where the business is headed and what the future challenges might be. Remember that if your team isn’t making any mistakes, they may be playing it too safe. 

Pursue the Greater Good

Good managers are selfless. Certainly, they want what is best for their employees, customers, partners and the company. But the concept of the greater good extends even further. Good managers understand that their actions have consequences for the community and the world. They work to ensure that they do no harm. 

What Are the Benefits of Strong Management?

When a company has strong managers, it benefits in many ways. 

Attracts and Retains Better Talent

Word gets around when a company is well managed. Managers that invest in their professional growth mentor others around them and have no trouble attracting good employee candidates, while also being able to retain current employees.

Sustains Growth Into the Future

Employees are more engaged with good management. They’re better able to ensure that the company is positioned for long-term growth and able to outperform the competition.

Builds Credibility for the Brand

A strong managerial base provides stability for the company. It fortifies the values and builds products and services that promote the brand and enhance the company’s reputation.

Becomes a Better Corporate Citizen

Managers create an environment where all employees think beyond the walls of the company toward the partnerships they have created, the customers they serve and the broader business community. Corporate giving programs, for example, are one of the ways to practice good corporate citizenship.

One way to include charitable giving as a corporate value is with a charitable giving program. You can match employee contributions or support employee volunteer efforts. Groundswell automates charitable giving and makes it an easily administered part of your employee benefits package

Good Management Means Change

Management has evolved. The requirements for how to be a good manager have less to do with control and more to do with how well managers can inspire others to perform at the highest levels. These managers are adept at handling a diversity of ideas, opinions and approaches to getting the work done. They freely share their knowledge and help others to be the best version of themselves. These are the managers that will sustain the best companies in the future.

If you’re interested in a corporate giving program that will capture the hearts of your employees, Groundswell is the way to go. We make corporate giving easy. Find out how you can get a leg up on the Talent War. Contact us for more information.

  • Candice Schmitt
  • May 16, 2022