Being a better manager / leader

News: May 2014

Being a better manager / leader

Today’s challenging business environment requires more from managers and business leaders. Here are a few tips to help you focus on being more effective.

Work to your strengths

Many of us spend too much time worrying about our shortcomings. Try to focus on the things that you are good at and use these strengths for the benefit of the business. What activities draw you in so much that you lose track of time? What boosts your energy, and what does that say about you? Now focus on the tasks that these strengths will help you with. Everything else should be delegated.


We all face challenges at work. They could take the form of tight deadlines, demanding customers or difficult decisions in sensitive situations. Ignore your body’s natural inclination to assume “fight or flight” type reactions. Instead, stop. Just pause. Consider the upside and downside to the business and the people involved. Ask questions and encourage others to get involved in decision making. Consider the best outcome from the situation and work towards achieving that outcome.

Create trust

To build trust and support, you need to be reliable. Don’t make commitments that you can’t keep. Manage expectations and deliver on your promises. Be open and accept criticism. Be honest and don’t be defensive if something goes wrong – admit that you made a mistake and propose a sensible way to recover – this builds trust and respect among your peers.

Ask the right questions

Listen to others, ensure that you have all the facts and then consider your questions. Avoid shooting from the hip. If you need to ask a question on a specific situation, perhaps create a draft email. Save the draft and read it again later. Upon second reading, it will generally become apparent if the question is appropriate or not.

Allow recovery times

No matter how good you are at your job, you cannot work at 100% all the time. Athletes allow themselves time to recover after a training session or a race. Business managers and leaders need to do the same. Build in time each day to let you think and reflect on the challenges, problems and opportunities that are currently on your desk. Ensure that you take a lunch break and that it is away from your desk. This recovery time will allow you to perform better throughout the day.