Become a Better Manager in 8 Easy Steps

Lackluster managers can cause great damage to an organization. Actually, every decision a manager takes can impact company productivity and turnover. That’s a lot of responsibility, right? Adding to that is the fact that 25% of professionals in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region feel that their managers don’t share enough information with them, as shown in the ‘Employee Engagement in the MENA’ poll, April 2014.


If you find your management skills are failing you now or in general, here are some simple reminder tips to perk up your management style, crafted by the experts:


1. Communicate regularly, openly and honestly


Employees left in the dark feel disrespected, distrusted and unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Make sure everyone is always aware of where the company is heading and what the vision, mission and objectives are, and hold regular pow-wows to remind the team of how their contribution matters and how it affects the company at large. This includes having regular performance sessions where the feedback is constructive and goals are clearly defined.


2. Coach, train and mentor


Employees who feel the company is investing in them are more vested in the company and have a higher likelihood of invest right back in it. According to the ‘Learning in the MENA Workplace’ poll, March 2015, 98% of MENA professionals say that working in an organization that provides learning and training opportunities is very useful. Take the time to assess formal training needs of each of your team members and to arrange and allow for that training, be it through formal classroom settings or online self-learning or one-on-one coaching and mentoring sessions.


3. Stand on a different hilltop


It’s very easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees and to lose perspective and proportion sometimes with the daily stress of being a manager. It helps immensely to stand on a different hilltop – figuratively speaking – and try to see matters from the vantage point of each of your team members, or even clients and stakeholders. Understanding where others are coming from will go a long way in diminishing any anger and frustrations you may feel at perceived failings and will pave the way for a more compassionate, congenial and constructively operational workplace.


4. Guard your language


Remember to lock any accusatory tones or recriminating, unprofessional language in your top drawer and throw away the key, and to keep all negative feedback to a private setting. Qualify your negative feedback with sentences that show you mean to be constructive and that the criticism is about the performance and not the person. At all times, keep the tone and language and feedback focused and professional and constructive.  


5. Ask questions rather than issuing directives


Next time you find yourself wanting to scream at your poorest-performing team member that they are incompetent, take a deep breath, seat them down and ask them questions instead so they actually arrive at any realization you need them to arrive at without hostilities. Aim for questions such as “How do you feel about your performance lately?” and “What do you feel can be done to help you meet targets better?” and “What in your opinion are steps you can take with my support and the company’s to start meeting targets?” etc.


6. Engage for the sake of engaging


The more you see and treat and react to your team members holistically as the living breathing humans they are rather than ROI units, the more likely they are to give you their all. At all times, bear in mind that they need to be valued, respected and understood, so always aim to resonate with them at a deeper, more personal level than the performance discussion. Swing by a cubicle and ask someone about their weekend, invite someone to the pantry to share lunch with you, arrange for team dinners or lunches over holidays, invite kids to the office and allow for illnesses and bad days, etc. The more vested you are in your team the more vested they will be in you.


7. Let it pass


Remember, you are in your career for the long term and that applies with your staff retention targets as well, and as such, choose your battles very carefully; not every battle is worth fighting. By all means stick to your values and the company’s and don’t compromise on ethics and integrity or company targets and objectives. A project has failed despite great effort, great planning and great intentions? Learn from the failures and move on. Keep perspective of what’s really important and be very mindful that you don’t want the workplace to deteriorate to an environment where everyone fears risk taking and retribution.


8. Smile


Not all great managers are known to be the most pleasant people in the world but it certainly helps tremendously to be liked and appreciated and respected by your team. Start by treating everyone the way you would like to be treated. Basic things like greetings, smiles and great manners at all times go a very long way as does good humor, kindness and a great character.



About Lama Ataya:

Lama Ataya heads the marketing department at Within that role, she is also responsible for communications, content, community experience, and corporate social responsibility. 


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