10 New Year’s Resolutions That Will Make you a Better Manager in 2018

Yes, it’s that time of the year again. As the new year approaches, many of us start reflecting on what we have achieved for the past year and prepare a list of New Year’s resolutions hoping that a fresh start of the year will provide the motivation for us to be a better person. While losing weight and quitting smoking are personal goals, managers should strive to incorporate some of these resolutions and become better managers. 3 out of 4 employees report their boss is the worst and most stressful part of the job. Your style of management can influence how well you manage your employees and ultimately create stronger work relationships with them.




Here are 10 new year’s resolutions that will make you a better manager:

  1. Listen to your employees more

I enjoy watching television programmes where the founder or CEO of the company leaves his boardroom and becomes a trainee undercover on the shop floor. They appear to learn so much about their own products, procedures and frustrations of employees in a single day more than what in a year! Listening is not the same as hearing. It is giving your thoughtful attention to someone when they are speaking. It is sometimes really better to understand what your employees are thinking and saying than to obsess over making sure they hear what you want them to hear.

  1. Let your employees know they are doing well

Most of the time, employees receive feedback only when they have fall short of expectations or when things go wrong. If you never give feedback on how they are progressing, you will soon demotivate them. It is not an option to praise or reprimand for any manager; it is a necessity. If you find it difficult, here is a reminder: Keep your comments focused on the performance of the individual, and not of the person. Your employees are your biggest resource, your biggest costs and your biggest profit improvement opportunity!

  1. Delegate, delegate and delegate

Managers often say things like “I am the most qualified and knowledgeable person for this task” or “If I delegate the task, I would spend more time explaining what to do than it would take me to do it”. The more important your job, the more you need to delegate. Efficient delegation allows managers to manage time more effectively and wisely.

Here are 3 quick tips to help you delegate:

a) Choose the right employee

b) Spend sufficient time to brief them and ensure their understanding of “how to” and “why” of tasks delegated to them is clear.

c) Control in a sensible manner by checking progress at agreed intervals

 4. Motivate your team

A Gallup research shows that many companies have disengaged employees with low motivation; only 13 percent of employees are engaged at work. When your employees feel motivated, it brings about greater efficiency in work and higher productivity. Try setting aside some time every day to communicate with your employees face to face, rather than sitting glued to your desk. This will show that you are a part of the team rather than a boss to them. Meaningful words such as a simple “thank you” or “well done” acknowledge effort and encourage people to work harder for you. Small efforts by the manager will create a positive work environment in motivating employees.


  1. Provide opportunities to stretch your employees

Doing the same work everyday can be boring and un-motivating. When you give your employees more responsibility or give them opportunities to try out new stuff outside of their job scope, it makes them feel valued and trusted. Within the company, managers should consider stretch assignments andjob rotationfor employees who show potential in their current job roles. A research also found that 74 percent of employees felt that they wasn’t achieving their full potential at work due to lack of development opportunities. Employees who regularly attends training develops better skills and capabilities to excel at their work, thereby building up their confidence and contributes to a better working environment. Therefore, managers should strive to provide opportunities to develop and stretch their employees.


  1. Say “no” to micro-management

Micro-management can happen due to a couple of reasons:

  1. You do not trust your employees to get the job done to the standard you require
  2. You want to be seen as on top of things in front of your own boss
  3. Combination of the above reasons

True be told, it can be very demoralizing for any employee if you brief them to achieve a certain objective and then ask for frequent updates or interrupt them to check on progress. To overcome this, be firm at the beginning about your expectations and let your employees know that if they detect any potential challenges, you should be notified immediately rather than keeping silent and hoping that things will go away on their own. As a manager, learn to overcome your own insecurities and the demand for perfection. After all, mistakes help your employees learn and be better at what they do.

  1. Schedule regular 1 on 1 meetings

It is true that advances in technology has granted us more convenience in our professional work. Employees located in other areas of the world can dial in on a video conference to meet virtually for team meetings. Even within the organization, email messages allow us to disseminate information without having to get out of our seats and saves time for a physical gathering at the boardroom. With these things in mind, it appears that the 1 on 1 meetings are redundant. Andy Grove (former CEO & Co-founder of Intel) summed up the potential of effective 1 on 1 meetings in his quote: “90 minutes of your time can enhance the quality of your subordinate’s work for 2 weeks, or for some 80+ hours”. When done well, 1 on 1 meetings builds better working relationships between managers and their direct reports.

  1. Learn to say no

Over-commitment is a surefire way to failure. Being effective at work depends on knowing what not to do. Perhaps you feel that the other person will think less of you for saying no. As a manager, learn to say no with tact and firmness. The trick to decline is to say it promptly to avoid raising false hopes and dashing them later. Vague phrases such as “I am not too sure now” or “Let me think about it” do breed a certain level of expectancy. But of course, if you are in genuine doubt, by all means, ask for more information before reaching a decision. Learn to find ways to say no firmly but politely. If you want to get things done, you have to be good at turning down opportunities that don’t fit into your strategy or plan.

  1. Learn to let go

One of the hardest thing to do as a manager is to let go of underperforming employees. Some people may not be good at their jobs, but that doesn’t mean that they are not great people. It could simply be a miss-match of jobs to skills or personality. Managers feel guilty about potentially firing employees because of legal issues, worrying about bad timing and concerns with re-hiring. However, it is better to terminate employees who have no hope of becoming productive members of your department sooner rather than later. Admittedly, it is something that managers struggle with as part of their job, but letting people go is a necessary part of building a better organization. It will no doubt be a stressful meeting to go through with the affected employee, but preparation will go a long way in prepping you for the difficult conversation.

 10. Sell the need for change before change

Most of us have experienced change and if your experience is anything like the norm, those changes took longer and cost more than expected. For successful change to take place, the ground needs to be prepared. But unfortunately, many changes are mandated from top management with very little time between the official announcement and the actual implementation. This means that your employees have lesser motivation and commitment to the change as they are taken by surprise. Your role as a manager is to help employees adapt to change and help them along the emotional journey.  Learn to manage change with an appropriate level of preparation and leadership.

We hope that this article is helpful. Do you have any tips you would like to add?

Let us know in the comments and please share this post with a friend/colleague if you enjoyed it!


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