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Good managers have always been the underpinning of a successful workforce. Effective leaders can keep teams motivated, make recruitment easier, decrease turnover, raise engagement and ultimately achieve business success through higher performance levels.

The wrong style of management can have a devastating effect on a business. A study by Investors in People (IIP) found that 42% of people cited a “bad boss” as the primary reason for them looking for a new role. The qualities found to make a ‘bad manager’ included being negative, ignoring concerns that their team brought up and taking credit for their employee’s work.

However, being a great manager is no easy task. Managers have pressures from all angles, and it can be challenging to achieve excellence in such a changeable situation like we’re in right now.

One of the biggest issues that managers come across is maintaining the standard of their own work, whilst looking after their teams’ best interests. There never seem to be enough hours in the day to achieve what it takes to be a first-class manager.

In my experience of managing teams of varying sizes, job titles and levels, I believe there are four simple, key areas that you should focus on to become a first-class manager:

  1. Be a leader rather than just a manager – Leadership and management go hand-in-hand, but a true leader can mobilise a team towards the future, rather than just dealing with day-to-day operations. You can be more of a leader by being outcome-focused and setting longer-term goals for you and the team that they are fully aware of. And remember, the more you inspire your team on a daily basis, just by being the best manager you can be, the more you will positively influence their motivations and performance.
  2. Touch base with your team regularly – Connecting with your team, either individually or as a group at the start of the working day can set them up to work independently and confidently without needing your help as much. Listening to what objectives they hope to have achieved by the end of the day, and then checking in to see if they have reached their goals can positively impact their productivity and keep them on track.
  3. Deal with issues as they arise – Some managers are guilty of not dealing with smaller performance issues, which can result in them growing into much larger problems. This can be for a number of reasons; lack of time, not feeling the issue is big enough, or even feeling uncomfortable about dealing with it. Ironically, catching these behaviours early will save time and potentially avoid having to go through more complex performance management processes. So, if you notice behaviour that you’re not happy with, take the individual to one side, tell them why the behaviour is a problem, and together, work on how to rectify it.
  4. Recognise your team – Feedback I have often heard from people unhappy in their jobs is that they don’t feel appreciated by their managers. There is an easy fix. Catch good performance as it happens and praise the individual, explaining why you are impressed. If you do this publicly, in front of other colleagues, it can have the added bonus of motivating them to behave the same way or aspire to get the same recognition. Win-win!


Omni’s Management Training programme provides a comprehensive and tailored solution to developing and upskilling managers of all levels, from team leaders, through to heads of department and directors. For more information visit our webpage here.