Any job is going to be difficult. You take on responsibilities, agreeing to hit certain KPIs, provide a business with value and constantly expanding your skillset to ensure that you perform to the highest standard you can. But as you progress in your career, you may find that you’re given the opportunity to start climbing the career ladder, taking on even more responsibility in exchange for more prestigious job titles and higher rates of pay. For many people, this can involve switching from one position to the position of a manager within their workplace. When you become a “manager”, you will become the person at the head of your team. You will find yourself entirely responsible for this specific part of the company, which may be a small team or an entire department, depending on the terms lined out by your employer and in your contract. You will be expected to exercise “managerial functions”, which can range from the performance of your department to monitoring your team, their performance and ensuring that their tasks are distributed fairly. If you work in a company that operates on shift work, you may be in charge of ensuring everyone knows when they are expected to work and guaranteeing that everyone is given their contracted working hours each week. Responsibilities can also spread to accepting, rejecting and covering vacation. The list goes on and on – and will differ from one company or one position to another. If you’re considering becoming a manager, or if you have recently been made a manager, here are a few things that you can do to become the best manager you can possibly be!
Get to Know Your Team
First and foremost, you need to get to know your team. This isn’t something that will happen overnight. Instead, it will take time and a series of sessions or opportunities that allow for bonding, getting to know one another better and growing to understand the individual personalities, characters, wants and needs of every individual team member you manage. Now, there are a number of ways that you can go about this, but the best tends to be team building activities. Now, some people shudder at the thought of this, but they do prove effective. Team building activities can break the ice and allow for more open and honest communication between you and your team members, whether they work in SEO, graphic design, accounting or anything else. They can range from simply asking your team how their weekend was, quick coffee break where everyone gets to chat or more structured activities such as team building games, lunches or days out. On a more formal level, you may want to get to know your team’s complaints or needs that need to be met. If you have a larger team that allows for anonymity, you may find that anonymous surveys allow for this.
This may be easier said than done, but organisation is a great skill if you are going into management. In order to manage a team well, you need to be able to keep track of what multiple people are meant to be doing at any given time.
- You need to be clear on the tasks you have set each team member and the deadline that you have set on it. A good way to achieve this is to make use of project management software, such as Trello. This will ensure that you can completely outline what each team member is meant to be doing, assigning the task and a due date to them. You can then simply log into the platform and determine whether people are up to speed as expected.
- You will also need to be organised in terms of setting shifts and monitoring leave. Again, there are great pieces of software to manage this – with some proving specific to different niches that you may be working with, such as options to create a restaurant employee schedule.
- You should also make sure to add anyone’s leave to any online group calendars that your team may have, so people are alerted to the fact that different people may simply not be online that day.
Accountability is essential from every team member to ensure that the business excels – this includes you. All too often, managers can find themselves passing accountability for failed projects or late submissions onto other people. You may find yourself feeling this way, but at the end of the day, if your team fail or are underperforming, this shows a failure on your part. You are their manager and haven’t kept on top of their low performance. Of course, you can’t make a team member perform, but if you notice issues arising and don’t address them, or if you fail to even notice issues, this does fall on you. Make sure that you are accountable in every element of your work. Have regular check ins with your team. Regularly review performance. If you do notice issues, you may be able to place a team member on a performance plan that gives them the opportunity to improve but can also gradually see them removed from your team if they simply aren’t making the required effort within their role.
Work on Your Communication
Communication is an essential skill in management. You need to be able to communicate with your team effectively, not only to ensure that goals are set and work is completed to standard and on time, but to ensure that your team can look forwartd to a positive work environment each time they head into the workplace or open up their laptop each day. Check in on your team. Ask them how they are. Have one to ones every now and then. Get to know your team on a more personal level if they are comfortable with this, asking how their partner or pet may be. Simple communication can work wonders.
Hopefully, some of the tips outlined above will help you on your journey to becoming a great manager!