14 tips to be a better manager

Management Startups Thoughts

Posted by Enrico on Apr 25, 2017 3005

In order to empower, engage, or motivate others, managers shouldn’t focus only on their KPIs. Instead, they should pay attention to other important things that are often underestimated. I have collected a few of them below:

  • Create a healthy and sustainable company culture of serious transparency. It is useless to try to hide things from your team since people will find out anyhow. Talk openly about all kinds of expectations and challenges, and try to be positive about them.
  • Never use any judgmental body language. No one likes sarcastic looks or dismissive gestures (as if to say, “Are you stupid?”). While seemingly harmless, any of these subtle comments or examples of body language can create a considerable amount of relationship damage.
  • Stop interrupting. It's almost impossible for people to feel safe if the boss takes up most of the airtime or cuts people off. Leaders should do more listening than talking, and let people finish their thoughts.
  • Be consistent. For instance, it's hard for employees to work with supervisors who always change their attitude: from "smiling, charming, funny boss" to "judgmental, intense, snapping manager." Try to keep your tone and personality consistent so people know what to expect.
  • Don't be scared to correct your mistakes quickly. Errors should not be defended or buried. Everybody makes mistakes, but only a few are able to identify them and correct them very quickly.
  • Correct hiring decisions. It is always very hard but sometimes necessary. Managers should never lose the skill to judge their team objectively. The evolution of the organization often comes with the necessity to improve the initial team. People can be fired because they don't fit in your team anymore, because they are not good enough, or in order to reduce costs. No matter what the reason, hiring and firing is probably the hardest thing one can do in business.
  • There is no such thing as too much communication, even if you are surrounded by very smart people. The moment you think that you have stressed something too much, you are probably just starting to get the message understood.
  • A manager always has to be thoughtful and precise, since everything a manager says has to be interpreted. Be direct and communicate only the facts that are important to people, leaving out the rest.
  • Everybody at every level should have an equal voice in the outcome, based on the strength of his or her arguments and not based on their ranking in the organization.
  • When a manager decides the configuration or organization of the offices, it should be remembered that offices should be designed for energy and interactions, not for isolation and status.
  • Never allow hiring managers to call all the shots. Hiring is a committee matter. Similarly, promotions should be a peer-review process.
  • Never give people positive feedback when it is not the truth. Work life should be meritocratic. Some perform better than others and, in order to obtain better performances, one should give real feedback. Only by getting real feedback are people able to grow and improve.
  • Do not waste too much time trying to get everybody to agree with a decision. Teams are not juries locked in a room until they reach a unanimous verdict. Sometimes the simple act of taking the decision enables you to make progress.
  • Always mean what you say. Managers have to commit to their team's goal and vision. People can tell if this is not the case and smart people detect hypocrisy really quickly.

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    Enrico Tam

    MBA, PhD, tech entrepreneur, maker

    Hi, I’m Enrico and I started hacking at 9 years old back when it was Visual Basic. After trying to become a professional tennis player I somehow got entangled in a PhD in engineering, an MBA programme and a big consulting fir... (continued)

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