6 Painless Ways To Become A Better Boss

Whether you feel like a natural leader or a reluctant ringmaster, sharpen up with these management skill-builders.

Managing an office or company well is no small feat, but it is something you can get better at. If you're looking to take your management to the next level, these six tricks can get you headed in the right direction.

1. Take communications classes.

Even if you feel comfortable getting up in front of a large crowd and talking your heart out, part of good management is efficiency. If you cannot say exactly what you mean concisely and clearly, you'll create confusion and conflict, slow operations and waste the very resources company leaders trust you with. Make sure to cover all types of communication (email, public speaking, or phone calls). Consider pairing these kinds of courses with ones on body language or foreign languages. Learning about various cultures can help enormously given the increasing diversity of the workplace.

2. Spend more quality time with employees.

A huge part of management is delegation, which requires problem-solving and matching employees with the most appropriate task given their skills and experience. Frequent assessment gives you more data about what employees can and cannot handle well and how much they have learned in a specific period. At the same time, putting in more face time with them builds rapport, giving you better clues about how to communicate and help them. Both of these things put you in a better position to assign the right person to the right project.

3. Lighten up and do something fun.

It's sometimes hard to be carefree when you have a hundred things to do in 15 minutes or thousands of dollars are at stake. But the fact is, things can and will go wrong in the workplace every day. If you don't counterbalance the negativity of all the errors and stress, you'll likely burn out and start interacting more negatively with those you oversee. Employees also tend to be more productive when they are cheerful, so if you give them reasons to be happy and model positivity, it will have big ramifications for the competitiveness and success of the business.

4. Reward participation and accomplishments.

In an effort to improve work, managers focus on what employees did wrong in the past or what they shouldn't do in the future. This makes sense given that problem identification is at the heart of decision-making and risk reduction. Nevertheless, concentrating only on deficiencies tends to tear down employee confidence and morale. It also discourages employees from coming forward for fear of being criticized. If you want to keep people motivated, recognize the innate desire they have to be acknowledged and praised. Whether you give them a simple "thank you" or a huge bonus, they'll feel more comfortable individually and as part of a team when you point out what went right.

5. Get in 15 minutes earlier.

If you are rushed in the morning, stress quickly builds. By the time you get to the office, your mood is already a little sour, which can rub off on your employees. Anxiety also can make it harder to concentrate and throws a monkey wrench into truly objective decision-making. An extra 15 minutes in the morning gives you a cushion, and will help put you in the right mindset for the day.

6. Be ruthless when it comes to integrity.

Integrity means that you are consistent, moral, and upright in what you say and do. It is critical to business because it builds trust and reduces conflict. If you want your employees to act with integrity, you have to act with integrity too.

Good management is essential to the success of an enterprise. For this reason, any manager should seek to be at the top of his or her game. These tips can serve as a great starting point for improvement.

Brendon Schenecker is equal parts developer and CEO, which has led to array of tech-based startups and over 10 years of experience managing startup ventures. Brendon is currently founder and CEO of Travel Vegas, a technology-focused destination travel company.

[Image: Flickr user kevin dooley]

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3 Comments

  • While I'm partial to number 1, all six points are spot on. #2 is a point that came up recently in a meeting . The president of a local bank talked about how he was spending time getting to know new employees with monthly new employee lunch meetings. He began to realize that there was a host of long term employees with a wealth of knowledge whom he was essentially ignoring. He has since begun having the same kind of monthly meetings with them and is gaining a broader and clearer understanding of not only the current work dynamic but the history that pre-dates his leadership. This list is a great tool for anyone wanting to lead or manage effectively. Thank you!