Learning how to be a good manager is a combination of effort, understanding your role as a manager, your team’s role as your employees, and a bit of practice. Whether you were just promoted to your first managerial role or if you are simply looking for ways to become a better manager, this article is for you.
Part of being a good manager is helping your teams stay organized and productive. Visual project management tool monday.com offers templates, custom tags, email integration, and cloud storage with its 14-day free trial to help teams customize their workflows. It also lets managers make informed decisions by tracking the progress of individual team members at a glance.
7 Tips on How to Be a Good Manager: New Managers
Whether you finally received a coveted promotion or got hired as a manager based on your skill set, you are a new manager and want to learn how to lead your team and harness your new responsibilities. Here are 7 tips with practical explanations on how to execute them in the workplace that can help you adjust to your new role.
1. Strengthen Your Own Skills
Just as you are now in charge of making sure your team is trained to do their jobs, you need to strengthen your own skills and continue to grow. Management skills would be a good area to start with since that is a new task you have; consider checking out our Management Resource section below. To prevent making labor law mistakes, consider HR training.
You also will want to continue to grow in the skills that are needed by your team so that you can keep training them further. This could mean learning new software, keep current on industry trends, or even reading a book about a new theory or technique in your industry, and relaying that new knowledge to your team. Keep sharpening your own tools, as they say, so that you can be a resource for your team.
2. Lead By Example
The old adage of leading by example is important as a manager. When a manager can’t follow the simple rules of an employee handbook or if they can’t get their own work done, their team notices and starts to ask, “Then why should I?”
To avoid this issue, you need to exhibit the behaviors you want to develop in your team. This can be as small as dressing a bit nicer and ensuring to always be 5 minutes early to work, to a larger behavior, like the way you communicate and the words you choose to use with superiors, clients, and your team and encouraging similar behavior from your team.
Now that you are a manager, your performance and behavior will be scrutinized by not just your superior, but by your team. Keep that in mind before you accidentally cuss at a tough situation or decide to stop for coffee and show up 15 minutes late. Your team, and superiors, will notice.
3. Ask for Feedback from Other Managers or Executives
Luckily, you are not the first manager to ever exist, even if you are the first manager at your company (or if you are a new business owner who just hired a team). Think about people in your life or at your business who have been managers for a longer period of time and pick their brain. Ask for advice on what to do, what not to do, or anything in between. Invite them to observe your team meeting where you are leading the charge and get feedback. Even though you are now a manager, you still need a mentor yourself, and it will also keep you growing as well.
4. Set Achievable Goals for Yourself & Your Team
Like we talk about in the manager functions of motivation, organization, and communication, people need to know what they are working towards and, ideally, why. Setting goals for your team, be it daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly, is an important part of being a good manager. We talk about how to set goals in this article.
Once you set your goals for each individual and for the team, consider setting some goals just for yourself as a new manager. How can you be held accountable to progress like your team? Better yet, share those goals with your team members, and allow yourself to be scored at the end of the goal period. This is known as a 360-degree review, where employees review management. It can be a bit tough at first, but it is the best way for managers to grow. Consider trying performance management software to execute 360 reviews in a manageable way (note: 360 degree reviews are anonymous for employees to management).
5. Use Your Time Wisely
As a manager, you now need to balance your time in a new way. You need to make time for training, meetings and general communication with your team, as well as the usual work to get done. This tip intertwines with the function of organization: You need to organize your time and hold firm to the team meetings you set (hint: ALWAYS create an agenda), the one-on-one meetings you set with your team members, and balancing that with management meetings, organizing the work, and moving projects to the finish line. Budget your time wisely, focus, and close your door when necessary.
People focus and get work done in different ways, so figuring out how to make the most of your time might, no pun intended, take time at first. Maybe you start to come in at 8 am so that you can answer emails in the hour before your team arrives at 9 am. Maybe you hold sacred 2-3 pm as the “open door for issues” time for your team to come visit you. Maybe you even schedule a round of the floor to visit each team member. Regardless of how you do it, get organized and budget your time wisely to keep leading by example.
6. Be Consistent
A manager, if anything, must be consistent. Even if you are unfair and hot-headed, at least be it consistently (we joke). They must be strongly held to metrics for performance, rules on communication, and other parameters that every team member is held to equally and consistently. Making exceptions to rules only sets you up for losing the respect of your team, and it will chip away at your main functions as their manager (i.e. your team will no longer be motivated to work, nor are they likely to communicate with you).
If you find yourself struggling with consistency, ask yourself why. Maybe a Monday 9 AM team meeting isn’t the right time since you can never seem to get an agenda together consistently. Maybe a daily report from each team member isn’t right if you only get to read and respond to half of them. Don’t be afraid to change in order to maintain consistency.
7. Understand Your New Relationships with Former Peers
A new manager can be put into a tough spot when their relationship with former peers now becomes one of management. Remember, you were put into this spot for a reason, so you will need to emotionally let go of work friendships that might cross manager lines. And forget about engaging in gossip or any form of drama. You can still go to lunch or happy hour with them, but don’t also be afraid to be the first one to leave and let your team blow off steam without you there.
There will need to be a transition period for them and for you, and sometimes you may need to be the strong party who draws a boundary and says no to an invite or a conversation. Remember to act in the same manner that a boss you respect does. Ask for help from a mentor or superior if you are struggling to make these distinctions of when to draw lines; this is an area where I repeatedly have seen new managers fail because they cannot grow past being “one of the team”.
Let’s now look at how to be a good manager from the side of those with management experience.
How to Be a Good Manager: Struggling Managers
Maybe you are a seasoned manager who is struggling, be it for any number of reasons like a new team or a fresh group of faces after a round of layoffs. Or maybe you just want to remember how to be a good manager in general. We have 3 tips here to help you out, in addition to some reflection on the tips we provided new manager.
7 Key Questions for Experienced Managers
Piggybacking off our tips for new managers, even the most seasoned professionals need to get back to basics and remember their role. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I still leading by example?– Leading by example is a key way to ensure your team lets you function as their manager, including motivating and training them.
- Am I still current with my skills?– One of the worst things I have seen is when the manager falls behind his or her team in technical or practical skills for the job. Your team then starts to run circles around you- and you don’t know the “how” of how the work is getting done. Make sure that you stay current with your skills in your field in order to stay on top of your team.
- Have I asked for feedback lately?- Seek out a management mentor if you do not have one and ask for them to observe you in action. Put yourself in a position to learn and the best way to do that is by garnering honest feedback.
- Am I setting achievable metrics and goals?– Have you forgotten about goals, working towards a common achievement, or performance management in general? This could be de-motivating your team and leaving them floundering for how to organize their work.
- How is my time management?– If your day is a blur but you feel like you get nothing done, you might be stuck in the common management rut of time management issues. Look at your daily routine and consider trying a fresh approach with when you are available for conversations and when you can answer emails. Look at your day and decide where you can create some organization (and stick to it). If you still feel a bit lost, try an exercise using time-tracking software where you map out for 1 day how much time is spent on various productivity (and unproductive) activities.
- Am I consistent?– If snap judgments and unpredictable mood swings have become the norm, you might be falling victim to becoming the inconsistent manager, which sends mixed messages to your team (and doesn’t bode well for your function as their communication hub).
- Have I created good relationships with my team members?- This might be an incredibly complex question to ask yourself, especially if you inherited a team or do not get hiring privileges. Try to reflect on if your management style and abilities could be improved to improve these relationships, and perhaps engage an outside perspective like a fellow manager or superior.
Now, let’s look at some practical advice for how to get you back to being a good manager.
3 Tips for How to Get Back to Being a Good Manager
So how can you get back to being a “good manager”? It’s going to take some work, especially if you have lost a team member’s trust. You can do it though, and here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Get Back Into “The Trenches”
Maybe you have lost touch with the work that’s being done and need to get back into the weeds of the work with your team. If you find yourself sequestering yourself to the quiet sanctuary of your closed office door, you may need to get back to business with them.
Consider trying to:
- Hone your own skillset and get up to date in the industry — such as, by taking a course.
- Assign yourself an appropriate amount of the work or become a more active project manager
- Visit your team daily at the workspaces and get in touch with their tasks and the problems that come with them
- Go back to the mentality of helping where needed; don’t let your team see you as being above them but instead be more like a team captain over a coach from the sidelines.
2. Try a Survey For Honest Feedback from Team
Under the guise of an employee engagement survey, you could seek out some honest feedback from your team in how you are doing as a manager. You could ask for ratings and areas of improvement around the 4 main manager functions of motivation, organization, communication, and training. This would give you a lot of insight into what the team is really seeking, and where you might be falling short.
This also can lead you to:
3. Hone Your Managerial Skill Set
Forbes writes that the 5 main skills of a good manager are:
Think about how you can exemplify these 5 skills in your daily, weekly, and yearly tasks and job as a manager. Is there an area where you lack patience or fairness? Or perhaps execution has become a weak point and the work isn’t getting to the finish line. Consider honing in on these 5 skills in your daily managerial life, and consider taking a course or reading a book on managerial skills.
Now, let’s get into 5 common manager problems and how to solve them.
5 Common Manager Problems & How to Solve Them
Let’s be honest- there are entire books on management and managerial problems, so we can’t possibly cover them all here. However, there are 5 very common manager problems that we want to go over in your current quest in learning how to be a good manager.
Problem 1: You aren’t Delegating Enough
What It Looks Like: Here are some common scenarios that happen when you are not delegating enough as a manager:
- You feel like nothing ever actually gets done in the big picture and you scramble every day like a chicken with its head cut off.
- You wonder what your team is doing all day long since you don’t even have time for lunch or to grab a coffee.
- You feel like you are now doing 2 jobs— managing plus your old one.
- Your team keeps asking you if they can help and you’re too busy to even respond.
Do any of those situations or something similar sound familiar? Let’s figure out how you can delegate some more tasks.
How You Fix It: Delegating takes practice. It’s easy for a manager to not want to make the time to train someone because the “I can do it better” mentality takes over. However, training your team is one of the core functions of management. Step back for a moment and think about a task or two that you could hand off to a team member. Maybe it is routing customer help tickets to the right technicians or maybe it’s creating a certain weekly report or two; chances are that your most senior team members will be happy to help and will be easier to train than you think.
What To Do Next: Think through your daily and weekly list of to-do’s and come up with at least 3 things that really could be done by a non-manager— and then get someone trained up and doing them!
Problem 2: You aren’t Communicating in the Right Way
What It Looks Like: Your team looks at you like you have 3 heads during team meetings. Individual meetings are you talking at the team member and getting nothing back. What gives? You may be communicating in the wrong way with your team.
How You Fix It: No pun intended, you are going to need to talk to your team about how to communicate better. Is the weekly team meeting not working anymore? Why? What would make it better? Find out what organizational structure they are looking for communications-wise and see if you can be flexible to accommodate them. That being said, if people just want to get rid of the meetings just to get rid of them and you think they are necessary and valuable, you are still the manager. Compromise is key, but keeping the team organized and communicating is incredibly important to your main managerial functions.
What To Do Next: If you’ve been resisting productivity or project management software, consider trying it out. You could also invest in some large whiteboards to put around the office that would have goals, company news, thoughts of the day, and other projects and tasks in clear view of everyone. Finally, consider doing a personality or communications test with each employee to learn more about them and communicate to suit their style.
Problem 3: Your Team doesn’t Respect Your Position
What It Looks Like: Forget about asking your team to do something, you know it won’t get done. People come late and leave early without even asking you. You aren’t sure how this happened but somehow, you feel your team simply doesn’t respect you as a manager.
How You Fix It: This is a tough situation. When I was an in-house HR Manager, the CFO at the company was not respected by his peers or underlings at all, and there was a conflict on his team. I couldn’t figure out why (since it happened before I started), but I knew it was crippling the management team, as well as the accounting team. Lo and behold, when I finally got to the bottom of it, it turned out the CFO had made some poor decisions regarding socializing with younger employees (and those not on his own team). Not only did the fellow managers think he did something very inappropriate in doing that, but his own team then felt very slighted. One poor decision on one evening led to chaos in the office.
So how do you fix something like that? Time and leading by example behavior, plus even an apology for your misconduct. One thing that bothered the management team was that the CFO truly seemed to not understand what he did was wrong or inappropriate, and it also frustrated his team. Had he apologized in a timely manner, I believe that would have gone a long way to resolving the issue and working his way back into a respected position.
What To Do Next: Think back and honestly reflect on how this happened; if you don’t remember anything, ask a superior or trusted colleague and be genuine in your ask of them. Once you get to the bottom of it:
- Set clear expectations for yourself as a manager with goals, and share them with your team- show them that you are being held as accountable as they are
- Get back in the trenches and show your value as to how you became the manager. Stay late to help someone and arrive early if you need to. Your work needs to be done, and done right, as well as you need to help your team to earn their respect back.
- Apologize if necessary. If you need to re-humanize yourself to your team, do so. And then tell them your plan for improvement. Honesty can be the best policy, even in the workplace.
- Considering asking your team what they would like to see from you. Better yet, ask in a way where they can be honest, such as via an anonymous survey like Survey Monkey.
Problem 4: The Work Isn’t Getting Done
What It Looks Like: Your boss, the big boss of everyone, is wondering what your team is doing all day and why your team isn’t meeting the deadline. You and the team are in hot water and the work is piling up.
How You Fix It: You need to take an honest assessment of the situation around your main managerial functions:
- Is the team motivated to do the work?
- Is the team trained to do the work?
- Is the team organized to do the work?
- Does the team understand what work needs to be done and has that been communicated to them?
What To Do Next: Depending on your answers to these questions, you have a few options on how to resolve the issue.
- What if the team isn’t motivated?- Ask your team how you can motivate them, or consider trying on of our 25 employee recognition ideas to help aspire them to get the work done.
- What if the team isn’t trained?- If your team doesn’t appear to know or have the skills to do their work, this is a more complicated issue. Skills like learning the new menu at a restaurant are trainable; having someone learn how to do graphic design work is not and requires a skill that might not even be on your team. What skills and tasks are missing exactly? Do you need to hire a temporary employee, freelancer, or another team member to round out your team?
- What if the team isn’t organized?- This one’s on you, sorry buddy. As the manager, you need to organize your team by tasks and ensure that they know what their job is (and what their teammates are doing). Consider what is the best way to organize your team, like project management software, and get your team organized already! You also might need to consider time-tracking software, which can also provide clarity into what is happening and when.
- What if the communication isn’t clear?- This issue also points to you as the manager to solve the issue of communication. Perhaps you need to implement even a daily standup meeting or check-in so that people have direction for the day; I know many teams that do this in the technical world and it works well in other industries too, like restaurants who have a daily special tasting and run down.
If none of these things are why the work isn’t getting done, you might need to assess if it’s time to hire a new team member. If your team simply has too much work to do, as their manager, you need to go talk to the CEO and ask for budget to hire another team member (but come prepared with the why’s and how’s in order to make your case).
Problem 5: You Don’t Like Being A Manager
What It Looks Like: Not everyone wants to be a manager, or, sometimes people want to be a manager and realize it’s not for them. Both things are ok, but somehow you got into this position anyway. You need to be honest with yourself if managing a team is for you.
How You Fix It: You need to figure out the WHY behind why you don’t like being a manager. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What don’t I like about managing my team?
- Are there things I could do to change those aspects I do not like about managing my team?
- Is there something I can change in myself to better enjoy managing my team?
- Am I simply overwhelmed by the responsibility, or is something else overwhelming me?
Once you walk through the above questions, you should have a better picture on the why you are unhappy being a manager.
What To Do Next: Depending on why you don’t enjoy being a manager, you can consider the following options:
- Tell your boss what’s going on- be it that you inherited a team you would have never hired, or that you are feeling trapped, you should consider involving your higher up as a sounding board and as a potential solution provider.
- Do some self-reflection- maybe you simply need some stress management or some time to blow off steam. Make working out and taking care of yourself a priority in order to be able to have the energy for being a manager.
- Create some solutions- get motivated and create a few solutions for how you could enjoy the role or make lemonade out of lemons with the issues you have. There is always a way to get through a tough job or time, you just might need to get creative and ask for some help.
The 4 Main Functions of a Manager
Once you become a manager, you need to define what exactly that means at your business. When you break it down, there are 4 main managerial functions for any business or team:
- Training Your Team
- Organizing Your Team
- Motivating Your Team
You may notice every one of these involves your “team” — that’s because being a manager isn’t about you anymore. It’s about how you delegate work to others and focus on the big picture of how things are running.
Function 1: Train Your Team (Equip Them To Do The Work)
What It Means: When you are a manager, you need to be able to train or equip your team to do the work that is assigned to them. This can be easier said than done in certain situations where perhaps you have team members who have never worked in your field before and need to learn from the ground up, versus having a trained team who perhaps has a degree in their subject of expertise and years of experience working on similar work.
To expand on this, think about the following training situations:
- If you are the team leader of a sandwich-making line at a sub shop, you need to train employees on what goes into each sandwich and in what order. This is in contrast to:
- If you are in charge of a team at a graphic design firm, and you are tasked to make a client a new logo. You, as the manager, then need to make sure that your graphic design team has all the information they need to make the logo from the person who spoke to the client, and that they also have the equipment available to design the logo and the background in how to design it.
Each requires very different kinds of training from a manager. So how can you make sure your team is trained up?
How Do You Achieve It: Everyone is busy, so you need to be setting aside specific time for training your employees (both new and inherited). You also need to make sure you’re training in a formalized way— it can be casual in that your trainee is working on the job with a mentor— but it should be formally scheduled with a deliberate focus on getting the employee up and running.
You should also consider that people learn in different ways. Some people learn by listening, others by seeing, and others by doing the actual task. Most people are a hybrid of these learning types. As a manager, your job is to figure out each of your team members’ learning style(s) and to capitalize on it.
So how, in the literal sense, will you teach your team to do their jobs? How will you make sure that they will continue to learn and grow if they already know how to do their work?
Ideas to Try: Training, just like motivation, works in different ways for different people. There are 3 primary types of training that you will need to consider and they are:
- Training for new employees- What will you do with your new hires to get them on board and up to speed? You will need to think about what was done in the past and what could be changed or improved as you hire new people.
- Training for existing employees on new processes- How will you convey information on new systems (like if you implement a project management system) to employees on your team? What will be the sequence of training events and the outcomes?
- Training for existing employees on new job duties or to improve performance- Maybe you have a few rising stars that you want to groom for management, or maybe you had a few lackluster stars who you need to get up to speed with the rest of the group. You will want to think about how you will train them to continue to professionally develop under your management.
Some different training techniques to try include:
- On the job – Also known as OTJ training, this is when a person learns by doing a task, like an accounting clerk going through a past accounts receivable list and coming back to you with the outcomes.
- One on one – Mentorship and time spent training an employee one-on-one can be very important, although time consuming. This can also be delegated to a senior team member to help on one-on-one trainings.
- Team trainings – Things like new software or new procedures are appropriate for training the whole group at once. You might come up with some role play, a Powerpoint, or a new order of operations document of them as a part of doing the training as a team.
- Formal training program – As a manager, only you will know if creating a formal training program, like a training manual, makes sense for your team. While a large undertaking, it can have a huge amount of value if you’ve noticed or heard that training is a big gap to why the work isn’t getting done (or done right).
No matter what your training needs, you can create online courses for your employees with a learning management system (LMS) like TalentLMS in just minutes. It’s free for up to 5 users and includes video conferencing, a training calendar, personal messages, and discussion forums for informal learning. Click here to get started.
Function 2: Organize Your Team (And Their Work)
What It Means: In order to be a good manager, you will need to create, or improve upon existing, formalized processes that get things done in an organized way. This could include implementing productivity software, setting a clear chain of command on different issues, and implementing a goal setting structure.
On the flip side, if there are already processes in place, your job from an organizational standpoint is to make sure people know their place in the process and how to do their part. Having an org chart can help.
However, if there is no process in place or no clear boundaries, you will need to come up with one and set those boundaries. You will need to break up the work and assign it in an organized way.
How Do You Achieve It: If you inherited a team where there are already processes in place, your job is a lot easier than if the company expanded and you are a manager of a new team. If you are the former, your job as the manager is to look at the processes with fresh eyes and get insight from team members on new ways to be efficient in organizing the work. Then, you’re going to make sure people are following these processes, often with the help of project management, a CRM or other productivity software.
If you are the latter, then you have a bit more work cut out for you. You will need to assess what kind of process you can put in place, and then assign the tasks and parts of the process to different team members. You may need to even write things into job descriptions, or into a sort of SOP (standard operating procedure) guidelines. Know that your first go at organizing the team won’t go perfectly; it will be a work in progress and you’ll need to create contingency plans, cross-train people (meaning, train people to do multiple roles), and look for ways to keep reassessing and improving.
Ideas to Try: When most people want to get organized, they need some sort of base system or plan to arrange around. Consider the following options:
- monday.com can help your teams sort tasks, set deadlines, and clearly structure who is doing what.
- Create a schedule of team and individual meetings. Weekly is usually a good option, but some teams have meetings daily when group organization is more critical (think 15-30 minutes tops!).
Slack, can also help since you can create channels for certain groups and track tasks in there.
Function 3: Communication
What It Means: As a manager, you need to communicate in various ways with your team members (and balance the things they do NOT need to know as well). This will directly correlate to how much your employees trust you, and how willing they are to use you as a resource to help them solve work problems or issues.
To expand, there are a few different kinds of communication:
- Individual level — Are you communicating clearly enough so people know what they’re responsible for and whether or not they’re doing a good job?
- Team level — Are you communicating with your team as a whole? Have you set team goals for them to work towards to encourage cooperation?
- Company level — Are you keeping people informed on the overall health of the company and why processes are being put in place? Do people feel like “they know what’s going on”?
- Inter-employee level — Are you building a good culture of communication, where employees feel they can ask you or each other questions without fear of retribution? Are people naturally covering each other’s work when the other is out on vacation?
You need to also figure out how to communicate with each of your employees and the team as a whole. Is everyone in an office together? Then verbal makes sense. If everyone is remote or on different schedules, you might consider email acceptable. However, in our age of digital communication, you will need to find a balance because a lot can get lost in between email lines, chat channels, and text messages.
Consider making some ground rules too about communication along the lines of how to call in sick, how to tell someone you are running late, etc., which can all cause communication issues.
How Do You Achieve It: With communication, one thing is for sure and that is you know when the team ISN’T communicating— balls are getting dropped, he said/she said is the regular, and tasks disappear into the great beyond without anyone knowing who should have done them. Similar to organizing your team, you will want to create a communication system, which could also involve the individual and team meetings at regular intervals we suggested above, as well as the clear outline of tasks.
But what about communicating tough issues like someone who is underperforming or someone who keeps breaking company rules like being tardy? This also falls upon you as the manager to nip the issue in the bud. You need to get over the awkwardness of having tough conversations with someone and speak up before what seems to be a small problem becomes a large issue.
- Individual level — You’ll want to consider some sort of performance management and review system to make sure goals and individual accountability is crystal clear. You will also want to implement a one-on-one meeting structure to supplement these goals.
- Team level — Expand on your individual performance management concepts and apply them to the team as a whole, and communicate them to the team.
- Company level —Take the pulse of your team to make sure they feel in the loop on things that they should know about by having regularly scheduled team meetings on what’s going on in the company. Knowing the “why” is a huge part of employee engagement, which is important to employee retention and happiness.
- Inter-employee — This type of inter-employee communication is important to ensure a collaborative approach and to keep the lines of communications open (i.e. if a problem occurs with a client, your team will communicate to figure it out or tell you about it, versus hide it). You’ll want to make sure everyone on the team knows who is responsible for what, and where to go for common problems or next steps, as well as when to involve you.
Ideas to Try: In addition to our ideas from the organizing section, you’ll also want to consider:
- Utilize a Human Resource Information System (HRIS) to keep track of your communications with employees and their important forms.
- Having an employee write up form in order to document those tough conversations (and to help guide you through them)
- Implementing a performance review system, progressive discipline policy, or company handbook that has both (if one doesn’t exist already)
- Ask your team about how they prefer to communicate- does a weekly email with company news make sense or would they rather talk about it in the meeting? Ask them where they feel “out of the loop” and try to close those gaps.
- Work with a business coach or coaching firm to improve your interpersonal communication style or approach
Function 4: Motivate Your Team
What It Means: As a manager, you need to be able to motivate your team to do the work that they are expected to do. Whether it’s making sandwiches at a sub place or creating a cool logo for a client at a graphic design firm, the work needs to get done correctly and in a timely manner. Motivated employees are key to this, and the manager is the driving factor behind their motivation in many cases.
How Do You Achieve It: So how do you motivate people? In brief, people are generally motivated by something from within (a desire to achieve), something outside (like recognition, money, or a promotion), or a combination of both. There are a number of theories on motivation, and SHRM recently pointed out how managers rarely know what motivates employees, be it recognition for the work versus making progress in their work (hint: it’s not recognition that won!).
Dan Pink also points out, in favor of internal motivation factors that:
Most of us believe that the best way to motivate ourselves and others is with external rewards like money—the carrot-and-stick approach. That’s a mistake… The secret to high performance and satisfaction—at work, at school, and at home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.
Your job as the manager is to tap into what motivates each of your team members, capitalize on it, and then set clear expectations or goals for each of them.
Check out this video from Dan Pink in a Ted Talk on Motivation.
Ideas to Try: Up to this point, if you’ve done everything right, you will have laid the foundation for motivated employees. If you’re finding employees aren’t motivated, you should go back and make sure you’ve properly trained, set up a good communication system, and organized your team correctly (or ask them for feedback!).
To go above and beyond, you can also try these things to motivate your team:
- Create a team competition of some kind that encourages cooperation; vary the reward each week to keep everyone engaged
- Use traditional performance management techniques and set goals
- Have a team “praise board” where you can write public kudos to team members who are doing a great job
- Have a team mascot, like a big stuffed animal, that can serve as a passed award so that everyone knows who is doing a great job.
- Try one of our 25 employee recognition ideas
Aside from motivating your team, you as a manager also need to train them to do their jobs.
Let’s dive deeper into how to be a good manager, starting with tips for new managers, and then moving into tips for existing ones.
There are plenty of other resources out there for you to try as you improve and become a great manager.
Other Management Resources
Here are a few other options for manager and management resources:
- Try a management course from your local university (or from an online university) or from an online course database. Many very respected universities now have managerial courses available in the evenings and online to work with professionals’ schedules.
- Use our performance management guide and put in place a performance management system that adds training, organization, communication, and motivation back into your daily functions as your team’s manager.
- Try a formal performance management software system to help remind and encourage you to manage your team, as well as to track their progress. You can also allow them to give you anonymous feedback through these cool software systems, which can be a great value-add to your growth as well.
- Hit the books (or audiobooks) and educate yourself from other seasoned professionals in management and running effective teams. The ever-evolving science of business continues to be a booming area for great books for managers to learn and grow from.
The Bottom Line
Learning how to be a good manager takes time and effort. Being humble enough to ask for help is a great first step for new managers and struggling managers alike. Try some of our suggestions, and seek out other resources in person or virtually, to help you become the best manager you can be.
Don’t forget that part of being a manager is helping your team stay organized and productive. As a project management tool, monday.com makes it easy for teams to create custom workflows and for managers to track individuals’ performance, all with an intuitive visual interface.