10 tips for improving your leadership

As a leader or manager within your organization, you’re responsible for its results. But to achieve this, you...

As a leader or manager within your organization, you’re responsible for its results. But to achieve this, you need to keep your team(s) satisfied, productive, and motivated. Good leadership gives your team wings, whereas poor leadership acts like a dead weight.

How can you take your leadership style to the next level? Read our 10 tips!


1. Set a good example

Practice what you preach! If you expect your staff to be in the office at 9 o’clock sharp every morning, then you have to be there on time yourself! And if you make agreements about breaks and lunch periods, then make sure you too keep to these agreements. Setting a good example is half the work.


2. Be open & honest

Good managers create trust with their team members. But it’s a two-way street! Include team members in difficult decisions and problems on projects. By involving them and keeping them up to date, you can rely on greater understanding and extra support while working together toward a solution.


3. Acknowledge & praise staff more often

Did you know that most employees really appreciate acknowledgment and praise? A Gallup study showed that 30% of employees quit their jobs if they don’t receive the appreciation they expect.

All the more reason to highlight what’s going well rather than focus on what’s going wrong, for example at the end of a particularly productive day, on completion of a project, or when hitting above-average performance levels. But make sure it’s genuine and spontaneous. Complimenting someone just for the sake of it comes across as sarcastic rather than motivating.


4. Plan more effectively & efficiently

Ad hoc tasks and firefighting cause a lot of employees stress and irritation, especially if it’s not apparent why jobs just appear out of thin air and need to be done yesterday. What’s more, last-minute tasks don’t ever get the focus and thought they deserve, causing quality to deteriorate.

Work on your time management and planning skills and explain why unforeseen, rush jobs sometimes appear out of nowhere. Your staff will appreciate this.


5. Give clear instructions

Another major irritation among employees is not receiving clear instructions and then hearing they’ve not completed the task or their work well enough. If this occurs repeatedly and regularly, it’s probably you who’s at fault. Err on the side of caution and give too many instructions rather than too few. Always make clear what needs to be done when, where, why and how. And what constitutes successful completion!

6. Don’t hold pointless meetings

Nobody likes wasting time. Managers who call meetings to discuss every trivial detail are often a source of frustration and irritation. Try to keep meetings as short as possible, stick to a clear agenda, and only invite relevant employees.

And it goes without saying that you should only hold a meeting if there’s something worth discussing. You can make general announcements by email.


7. Rely on your specialists

Smart managers surround themselves with people who are even smarter than they are or can do things even better than they can. Find, appoint, and use specialists across a variety of fields. What’s more, don’t tell them what to do! Instead, ask them what they need from you to do their work to the best of their ability. And give your staff the room to explore, learn, and excel!


8. Be alert to micromanagement

If you’re a specialist in a given field yourself, and you manage other specialists, you may be prone to explaining everything to them in the smallest detail and correcting their every move. This is highly irritating. Micromanagement is in fact one of the biggest sources of irritation among employees of all time! Set clear expectations, but allow team members to decide for themselves how they’ll achieve the desired results.

Read our article, ‘6 telltale signs you might just be a micromanager’, for more information.


9. Learn from the past

‘People don’t quit jobs, they quit bad managers.’

Studies have shown that some 44% of employees resign because of poor management/leadership. So always ask why an employee is quitting and have the courage to look for the reason in the mirror.

But also learn from the past and work out ways to tackle things better next time around, for example, if a project goes south or runs into problems.


10. Make your staff’s skills visual

Nowadays, there’s a whole plethora of tools available to help managers. Skills matrices are a prime example of a smart way to visualize your team’s skills and competences.

Presenting their skills in a highly visual matrix layout has many benefits:

  • identify emerging or existing skills gaps at a glance
  • find qualified replacements more quickly
  • put together dream teams in the blink of an eye
  • monitor team and individual progress effortlessly
  • spot key figures within your organization
  • align training programs to actual needs and requirements

Download our skills matrix template for Excel to see what they look like.


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The fact that you’ve reached this point in the article probably means you want to become a better manager or leader, but more importantly that you’re well on your way to achieving this. Hopefully, our ten tips have given you a few new insights about how to continue this journey.

And don’t forget – smart managers use smart tools! AG5’s software is like a skills matrix on steroids!

Find out how our software can help you become a better leader or schedule an online demo.


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Original version | March 9, 2021

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