My New Year’s Resolution: Manage Like A Boss

We may roll our eyes at the cliché of New Year’s resolutions — and the reality that the vast majority fail by February — but a new beginning is a prime opportunity to pursue positive change.

For those who lead businesses, we’d like to suggest a New Year’s resolution that could pack a punch for your company: Resolve to become a better manager.

It sounds vague, but it’s your job to drill it down to specifics. We all have blind spots, shortcomings, areas where we know we could use some work — use this season of introspection and fresh inspiration to jumpstart your efforts. Your employees will thank you, and eventually your bottom-line could thank you, too.

Below, we suggest a few basic ways managers can improve. The best way to achieve lasting change is to pick what seems most applicable to you; boil it down into an achievable, specific goal; keep that goal consistently in front of you; and continue believing you can achieve it, even when you hit a rough spot. And hey — if you knock out your goal in a few weeks, pick another one and go for it.

Here are four ideas for improving your management skills in 2018:

Communicate effectively and with clear objectives.

Communication is a cornerstone of good management, but doing it effectively is far from easy. We all communicate differently, and what seems clear to you may not come across that way to your employees. Take some time to examine your skills and evaluate how well you’re getting your point across. (Here are some tips on that from The Balance.) Employees must understand your vision and how they fit into it — what’s expected of them.  As a Forbes columnist writes, “Well-conceived, measurable objectives are a manager’s best friend.” Then, keep the lines open by being accessible and providing real-time feedback, whether positive or negative.

You also may want to consider how your management style plays in, according to this Entrepreneur article. What’s natural to you and motivates some employees may be less effective with others. Consider how much direction you give, how much autonomy you allow, and how much you coach and engage.

Evaluate whether you’re stuck in a rut.

When you’ve been doing things a certain way and they’ve been working, it’s tempting to cruise. But the best managers constantly adapt and keep close tabs on their environments, the Forbes columnist notes. Seek out ideas from employees, who in their front-line roles may come across opportunities you wouldn’t see. Not only can this improve your organization, it can empower and motivate your employees.

Guard your time fiercely.

Busyness can be your greatest enemy, keeping you on the hamster wheel instead of putting strategic thought into your management decisions and vision. Delegate, say no, prioritize well, and carve out time to be thoughtful. It’s easy to push this point to the back burner, but it can make a serious difference for your organization. At the very least, you’ll be more pleasant and approachable if you allow yourself breaks and take steps to limit unnecessary stressors, according to The Balance. As author Stephen Covey put it in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” take time to “sharpen the saw.”

Address conflict swiftly and fairly.

Few people like conflict, but as a manager, there are plenty of potentially tense situations you have to address. Make sure you deal with them upfront, rather than looking the other way, which may seem appealing sometimes but doesn’t pay off.  Avoidance drags out and can exacerbate situations, and employees notice. They lose respect for managers who regularly duck tough situations.

Want further insights about creating lasting change at your company? Contact People People — we specialize in helping grow and develop people, which is the best way to grow and scale a business.