Business Management
How to improve your management skills in one easy lesson

Simon Slade shares his five suggestions for improving your performance as a business manager.

Self-improvement is a key tenet of good leadership. For the success of any company, it’s important that managers constantly improve their leadership skills and productivity. Teams thrive when their manager is in tip-top shape.
Here are five things you can do right now to be a better manager. 

1. Reflect.
Before tackling any business project, you have to create a plan. This rule applies to the project of self-improvement, too.
Take some time to reflect. This might be a few minutes of silent, uninterrupted meditation, or it might be a journaling exercise. Identify one or two of your managerial challenges. Reimagine a few scenarios that you could have handled better. Could you have been more patient during that last one-on-one meeting? 
Whatever it is, the simple act of thinking about and acknowledging your weak spots will be an important step in strengthening them. Spending time reflecting will allow you to be more focused and proactive about your improvements, rather than rushing through your day and being reactive as you interact with your team.

2. Ask for help.
Just as you need to reflect internally to improve your management skills, you also need to solicit external input.
There are plenty of ways you can improve, even if you don’t know exactly what parts of your personality or behavior could use the most help. One of the identifying markers of a great leader is someone who knows when and how to ask for help.
Think of a task you are struggling with and then think of someone who completes that task more efficiently than you. Alternately, think of a quality you’d like to nurture within yourself and a person you admire for that quality. For example, say you find yourself working from home too much and struggle with work/life boundaries, but you have noticed a colleague that has very clear limitations about this. Reach out to that person and ask for some advice on how you can improve.
Soliciting input will help you gain a big-picture perspective on how you can improve as a manager, and it will also help you develop relationships with other members of your company.

3. Connect with your team.
It’s doubtful that you know every single member of your team as well as you could, especially if you manage a large department. One of the best ways to improve your management skills is by learning more about the people you manage.
Choose an individual that you don’t know very well and make a point to connect with them today. Take five minutes to walk down to their office and say hello, or shoot them an email and set up a time to have coffee.
Connecting with your team not only makes you a better manager as you become more familiar with each team member’s skills and talents, but it also creates a warm sense of community and culture around your company, which affects productivity positively.

4. Express gratitude.
There’s no shortage of data on how active gratitude can improve your life. Being grateful on a daily basis in a proactive and tangible way (such as making a list of things you appreciate or verbally thanking another person) can actually change your brain, making you a more positive and optimistic person. 
Make gratitude a mandatory part of your day. Being more happy and grateful will improve the way you manage your team and make you a more pleasant person to work with and work for.

5. Read something smart.
One of the most direct paths to self-improvement is through reading.
Starting today, set aside at least 15 minutes to read. This could be spent scanning a blog post or article or working your way through a book.
You should have an essentially endless list of things to read. The topic of management stretches far and wide across the internet and there are hundreds of excellent books on the topic. There is no shortage of content. Keep a running list that you update as you discover new publications and books you’d like to read.

Becoming better at your job only takes a few minutes of reflection, connection, and education. Make these 5 actions part of your daily routine and your management skills will improve immensely.

Simon Slade is CEO and co-founder of SaleHoo, an online wholesale directory of more than 8,000 pre-screened suppliers.

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