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First-time manager? Need help with your management skills? As the saying goes, people don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad managers.
Management training programs are sometimes too expensive, too time-intensive or both, it can be hard for companies to develop their leadership teams outside of pure trial and error.
To help HR teams and managers navigate the sometimes uncertain waters of employee experience, we’ve pulled together our top 13 people management tips to give your organization’s leaders a boost.
Here’s the first of our people management tips: Don’t spend thousands of organization dollars vetting and onboarding team members only to overload or neglect them during those critical first 90 days on the job. Successful managers take the process into their own hands to set their team up for success from day one. Here’s how:
1. Hire the right people
Get the right players on your team, for your team. Successful managers don’t just fill jobs — they fill roles in their team. In the hiring process, keep your entire team’s communication style, work dynamic, and culture in mind as you interview candidates. Then, look for someone who’s not only a culture fit, but a culture add.
2. Onboard with intention
The employee experience starts during the hiring process. Take ownership of the process and set 30, 60, and 90-day surveys to coincide with set check-ins to see how they’re responding. Whether it’s a welcome lunch, swagged out desk, or onboarding buddy program, this is your chance to introduce a new employee to the team. So make it great.
This is the meat of a manager’s role. After all, the time an individual spends with one organization could last 6 months or 6 years. So here’s the next of our people management tips: Create and fill roles where your team members can find meaning and growth opportunities in their day-to-day work.
3. Connect work to the big picture
Employees are responsible for meeting goals. Managers are responsible for providing clarity and support throughout the goal-setting process.
A great manager knows how to help their employees set goals at work and connect individual responsibilities to the greater company mission. Feel pinched for time? Get technology on your side. Ask your Human Resources team about a goal-management solution to take the guesswork out of setting, tracking, and managing goals for multiple members of a team. WorkTango’s Goals & Feedback platform allows managers and employees to see organizational, departmental, team, and individual goals–anytime, from anywhere. That’s how you stay aligned as your organization scales.
Tips for Managing Remote Teams
4. Provide guidance and autonomy
Let’s take a minute to talk about management style. Did you know that micromanaging tops the list of reasons people quit their jobs? Good managers strike a balance between guiding their employees and offering the freedom needed to learn and grow.
It can be tempting to take over a project instead of coaching a team member on how to bring it to the finish line- that can be especially tempting for new managers. But beware: This approach only hurts both parties in the long run. Coaching is one of the most valuable leadership skills you have in your toolkit — use it!
5. Anticipate issues and remove roadblocks
It’s a leader’s job to look ahead and anticipate what’s coming next. What potential problems could moving into a new office bring? How might a new CEO impact your team? Which conflicts might arise when you start a new project? The ability to ask these questions, and openly work on solutions, separates a good manager from a great one. Wondering how your team members are feeling about recent changes? Having a Surveys & Insights solution allows you to take a quick pulse and find out.
No employee’s career trajectory is linear. One of your most valuable people management skills is your ability to pay attention to each member of your team and introduce the right growth opportunities at the right time.
6. Schedule weekly Sync-Ups
Don’t want feedback to be scary? Make it a regular part of the conversation. Weekly, casual Sync-Ups are key for building a strong connection between you and your team members that will last the entire employee lifecycle.
Not sure how to structure your Sync-Ups? Try using one of our meeting frameworks to guide the conversation during your next 1-on-1.
The benefits of continuous feedback
7. Provide actionable feedback
Here’s one of our favorite, but most challenging, people management tips. Good managers praise good work often and publicly, and they deliver constructive feedback quickly and directly. Address the more difficult feedback with a growth mindset — the belief that a person’s skills can develop over time through hard work and dedication.
Although a growth mindset may seem like table stakes, it’s incredibly important in a management role. That’s because it helps your employees understand your feedback is rooted in positivity on their behalf. WorkTango’s Recognition & Rewards Platform can help you keep the affirming feedback flowing easily. Goals & Feedback makes it simple for any employee to solicit input from their manager–or any other member of the organization– anytime.
Need to give feedback? We’ve got you covered.
20 Examples of Constructive Feedback for Performance Reviews
8. Encourage professional development
A great manager understands the nuances of where an employee is now and where they hope to go. So be aware of your team members’ strengths and challenges. When you see opportunities for a promotion or for one of your reports to learn a new skill, you should be the first in line to speak up or to point the employee in the right direction.
Though they may not realize it, managers play a huge role in the emotional well-being of their direct reports. From simple email etiquette to performance review conversations, tap into your emotional intelligence for the betterment of your team.
9. Protect work-life balance
Good managers protect work-life balance both for themselves and for members of their team. Yes, this means refraining from firing off those midnight emails. It also involves planning meetings with intention, taking care to respect employees’ time. Finally, place a priority on employees’ personal needs and goals in addition to their professional goals.
10. Celebrate victories
Constructive criticism isn’t the only type of feedback you should be giving your direct reports. Positive recognition not only makes people feel valued and appreciated, but it can also improve your team’s employee engagement levels and emotional well-being at work.
Great news: Giving positive feedback is easier than ever with our Recognition & Rewards platform. From your mobile device or laptop, you can provide meaningful appreciation that helps employees feel valued as key members of the team.
11. Excel at communication
Communication is hands-down one of the most important management skills. Ask any seasoned leader to name the traits of a good manager, and you can bet the ability to communicate tops the list. Particularly when it comes to leading more junior employees, you must be clear about how, when, and why you communicate the way you do.
Because your written, verbal, and group communication impacts everything about the day-to-day culture of how your team works. And when it comes to missing deadlines or sharing new ideas, your communication style will dictate the level of psychological safety of every individual on their team. Want to know how you’re doing in leading your team? The Surveys & Insights solution in WorkTango’s platform allows you to get a regular pulse on how employees’ experience your communication and leadership. It also provides tailored recommendations for learnings and actions based on your team’s feedback. Your communication skills will be tip-top in no time.
Lead well until the very end by keeping the following habits in mind:
12. Fire fairly and quickly
We’re all familiar with a situation where someone stayed in a job far longer than they should have. In most cases, these situations are not beneficial for the team OR the individual.
So hire slowly and fire quickly. There can be plenty of second chances and opportunities to improve, but as soon — as soon — as it’s evident that the employee is in the wrong role, a strong manager takes action.
13. Support healthy exits
When an employee opts for another opportunity, inside or outside of the organization, a great manager celebrates with them. hey also learn from them– that’s where an exit survey shines. Wish them well, then gets to work figuring out how to make your team and your leadership even better.
Get started with great management today
We hope you take these people management tips, and apply it to your organization. Here are some concrete action steps to start with:
- Get the right HR technology. Recognition? Performance reviews? Engagement surveys? There’s an app for that. WorkTango’s all-in-one Employee Experience Platform helps create highly engaged workplaces while reducing major business pain points like turnover, low morale, productivity, and absenteeism. Take the guesswork out of being a great manager, and let the platform do the heavy lifting for you.
- Create an employee journey map. Whether you’re in HR or you’re a boots-on-the-ground manager, we recommend you devote some time to creating your own employee journey map. Journey mapping helps organizations understand the moments that matter most in the employee lifecycle, and what they can do at each stage to have the most positive impact.
- Don’t forget about the manager’s experience. All of this brings us to the tough question: if managers are responsible for the employee experience, who is responsible for the manager’s experience? They’re employees too, after all. Let that question spark important conversations when making organizational and strategic decisions.
And if you like what you’ve learned here today, then let’s talk.
At WorkTango, we’re revolutionizing how the world’s most forward-thinking companies engage and inspire their people. We offer the only holistic Employee Experience Platform built for the modern workplace that enables meaningful recognition and rewards, offers actionable insights through employee surveys, and supports alignment through goal setting and feedback.
WorkTango is built for the workplace we all want to be a part of – where priorities become clear, achievements are celebrated, and employees have a voice. To learn more, check out our platform overview video, or schedule a demo.