The best managers approach their job with a good deal of common sense, empathy for their people, and an understanding of and appreciation for what makes people and companies tick. They have an instinct for how to communicate and motivate their team in a way that makes sense. But even they can benefit from some tips to manage better.
Three Tips on Managing Like a Pro
Managers, and especially new managers, can learn valuable lessons from what the experts have uncovered about the way team members think, behave, and perform in the workplace. Tuck the following three findings into your bag of management tricks and you’ll manage better than before:
- Use the 5-to-1 Feedback Ration
Every new manager training program emphasizes the importance of effective feedback in guiding the performance of team members. But most training ignores the so-called feedback ratio that, when practiced, reaps better behavioral results than simply balancing the good with the bad.If you simply trade positive feedback for negative feedback, you will be perceived as being heavily critical. A one-to-one ratio doesn’t work.
Research suggests that a five-to-one ratio – that’s five positive comments for every one negative piece of feedback – is more effective. The reason? We are programmed to react more strongly to criticism than we do to praise.
- Take a Decision-Making Vacation
Even though Bain research found that decision effectiveness is ninety-five percent correlated with performance, most managers report that they don’t follow tried and true decision-making best practices – even though managers make hundreds of decisions per day.
Researchers confirm that the part of your brain that makes decisions suffers from over-use just as any other muscle in your body. In fact, you really need to build recovery time into your schedule after every half hour or so of decision making. To be able to make good decisions effectively, keep this in mind as you plan your day as manager.
A little “vacation” time from decision making will give you the chance to refresh your thinking and address new decisions with more clarity and less bias.
- Focus on Your Team’s Ability to Learn
Learning and performance are different and, in our opinion, intertwined. While learning can certainly occur without any corresponding changes in on-the-job behaviors or performance, the best managers instill confidence in their team that, with effort and application, they can raise their skills and performance to new levels.
Your commitment to continuous organizational learning will inspire your team to grow, develop, innovate, and lift their performance so that you have the right people with the right capabilities in the right positions to consistently learn, perform, and adjust – faster than the competition.
The Bottom Line
The manager who provides effective feedback, makes sound decisions, and helps their team to learn faster will be a manager who creates a high performing and highly engaged team. How do your management practices stack up?
To learn more tips to manage better, download 5 Management Misperceptions that Slip Up Too Many New Managers