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First Time Managers Guide

Top Tips Tuesday

X-Forces Enterprise has compiled a list of a few key competencies that every effective manager has...

Being a good and effective manager of people isn't just about being in charge. If you're looking to expand your business and thereby are taking on new employees, this list should provide you with the tools to enable you to get the very best out of your employees. Alternatively, if you have some experience managing people, this list may shed some light on competencies that you perhaps haven't thought about.

1. Be an Effective Communicator

Whether you may be talking to an employee about wrongdoing or rewarding an employee for achieving a target, all interactions require a high level of directness and clarity from a good manager. Regardless of the circumstance, good managers ensure they are clear on what they are saying whilst maintaining a good level of openness and approachability.

The other end of the scale of a good communicator would be to listen attentively. Your employees aren't simply cogs in a machine, they are their own individuals with their own ideas, often from a range of backgrounds and altering perspectives. Utilise the knowledge you have in the room by asking for insights and ideas.

You might already have a good idea about the groups of people or types of business that you are planning to sell your product or service to. Prospective customers may be people of a specific age, gender, socio-economic status or occupation, or part of a group with common or special interests such as sports or hobbies. Trade buyers may be located in a specific local area or in a particular sector, or could have similarities in terms of their own target groups of customers.

2. Build an Open Culture

There is plenty of research in the field of 'Organisation Culture', of which, broadly means the values, motivations and assumptions of a whole organisation. A good manager ensures that they build a trusting and open culture, one which is receptive to new ideas. This will mean that your employees will be keen to approach you with new innovative ideas.

3. Develop Your Employees

A fantastic quote which prospective managers need to remember is a conversation between two managers. Manager A wants to develop their employees, but Manager B doesn't like the idea:

Manager A: 'I think we should dedicate more resources to improving our employees'

Manager B: 'That's all well and good, what if we make efforts to improve them and they leave us'

Manager A: 'Yes, but what if we develop them and they stay?'

Whilst Manager B's concerns are legitimate. Most employees would rather stay with a business/manager who actively tries to develop their employees to ultimately improve their career and skill set. A good manager should always be looking for ways they can build on the talent they have in the room, whether that be by investment into courses, business coaching or mentoring further enhancement of a workforce is likely to improve the business as a whole.

4. Don't Be Afraid to Delegate

One of the key qualities of a manager is to be able to handle pressure well. As a manager or business owner, you're held accountable for the performance of others. It is essential that you actively develop yourself so that you are able to withstand the pressures of managing people and a business. There may be instances where the pressure is too much so don't be afraid to delegate tasks to your workforce - remember, you're only human!

5. Be a Motivator

Having a good understanding of what motivates your employees is essential to getting the best out of them - what motivates them? Money? Responsibility? Development? Praise? The days of orders and paycheque are over. To mould the best employees, managers have to look further than paying them a salary.

Understanding your employees is the route to a motivated workforce. Also, practice what you preach, your employees will naturally look up to you, keeping yourself motivated will surely have a positive effect on your workforce.

6. Do Not Micromanage

If you're invested in your team's success, you might fall into the trap of feeling that you have to guard every detail. In fact, micromanaging can erode worker initiative and damage employee motivation. Giving your employees the freedom to express themselves with your championing and guidance can ultimately improve the end result of a project.

7. Be Result-Orientated

Google listed this as one of their most key competencies of an effective leader. It may be obvious but with the latter points relating to your employees, the business you manage still needs to be successful and chances are, your employees want results as much as you do.

Working cohesively to a well defined, well-communicated goal can not only motivate your employees but provide your business with a common understanding and target.

Ongoing Support

If you're thinking about taking on new employees or feel that you can manage your existing employees more effectively please connect with one of our Business Captains. They come from a variety of sectors and will undoubtedly have experience managing people and will be happy to build on the key themes from this list above.

"Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” - Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin

To learn more about effectively managing people in a small business, read the full article on our Knowledge Exchange Hub. The Hub is free to join and is packed with expert advice and support for ambitious small business owners.

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