Become A Better Manager: 14 Simple Tips To Try Today

Last Updated Jun 30, 2011 12:09 PM EDT

Being an excellent manager requires trial and error -- figuring out what works for you as well as for your team. To give you some ideas as to what might improve your technique, I went straight to the source, asking high-level executives and experts what they do to get the job done.

Here, in no particular order, are 14 make-it-happen management tips:

1. Divide & Conquer "I have found that by creating a group of internal teams, we have made our business far more effective and efficient. Each team takes full responsibility for our work for specific clients. When a small team works together on a regular basis, they do a better job of communicating and understanding how best to work together." --Gabriel Shaoolian, CEO and Founder of Blue Fountain Media
2. Show Your Passion "Unenthusiastic managers tend to lose the team's interest and therefore rarely succeed. In most cases, your team is more inclined to work as a team if they see the fire in their manager's eyes because they will not only want to succeed personally but will want to help the group overall."--Dan Martin, CEO of IFX
3. Hire Up "When you hire new employees, make sure they are better than you are and they want your job. This will ensure your own performance is maximized and there is energy and drive within your team."--David Martin, Regional Director, Michael Page International
4. Flip Criticism Around

"Don't ask 'how can a person be so stupid as to do X?' Instead, ask 'why would a smart person think it's right to do X?' The point is not that X is necessarily right, but that overconfidence blocks learning, imagination, and empathy. By the way, the flip-it tip works everywhere in life, not only in business."--Mark Chussil, Founder and CEO, Advanced Competitive Strategies, Inc. .
5. Be Super Specific "Manage with Yes, No or a Number -- anything else is a story. The process is clean, simple, and leaves nothing for interpretation." --Joel Russell, President/CEO, eImagine Technology Group
6. Assign Projects In Pieces "When you have a large list of tasks, break them into small sections and feed staff pieces at a time. Otherwise they will become overwhelmed. They may finish every task, but often too quickly without the quality you are looking for. I call this the 'Make and Break' tactic for task lists...AKA the Baby Food Method."--Chris Wise, Director, Marketing Customer Rave
7. Low, Flow, Grow "I've devised a technique I call the Low-Flow-Grow approach. When dealing with an employee who is less productive, first Lower their guard by suggesting rather than insisting. Next, cite the Flow of operations and modifications that can be made to it in lieu of a complete overhaul of his or her behavior. Finally, stress the Grow -- [what can happen with] concerted efforts."--Marlene Caroselli, Ed.D., corporate trainer and author

8. Squash It "In my opinion, dealing with things quickly is the most effective management technique. Taking issues head on and resolving them immediately can prevent an issue from getting worse. 
Many managers put problems aside and plan to deal with at a later time, which can cause a snowball effect."--Allen Ash, Vice President of Sales, Almar Sales Co.
9. Smile Early & Often "Take a minute in the morning to stand at the entrance of your place of work and greet employees and staff as they enter the building or department. Thank them for being there. Smile. It's easy, fun and will go a long way towards boosting morale and making others feel valued."--Betty Shotton, CEO, Liftoff Leadership
10. 

Be Old School "In our world of disposable tweets and emails, I have found that a hand-written and thoughtful thank you note, on stationery, goes a long way in rewarding employees who go above and beyond. These notes seem to always find their way to bulletin boards or are framed in offices and cubicles. People like the reminder of when they've made a difference."--Richard O'Malley
, President
, The O'Malley Project
11. Fire People Up With A Friday Email "Send a regular Friday email. Make it personal by telling a story about what's happening in the company. This sends a message that you want to stay in touch and let people know what's happening, whether the news is good or not. In the age of social media, people want a leader who is candid and accessible."-- Suzanne Bates, Author, Speak Like a CEO,Motivate Like a CEO, and Discover Your CEO Brand
12. Ask For Input "I ask my employees 'What would you do?' as often as possible and then I actually listen. 
This management style creates trust, understanding, involvement, true dialogue, and a shared team vision."--Bob Shirilla, Marketing Officer at Keepsakes Etc
13. Get Rid Of Gossiping "There is no possible way to have unity with a group of gossips. I have fired people for gossiping, and I will again. Problems and gripes are fine but they must be handed up to leadership, not spread laterally or down. Stamp out gossip if you want to have unity in your company."--Dave Ramsey, CEO of The Lampo Group, Inc.
14. Incorporate Campfires "A manager gets people in a circle to discuss one key accomplishment they are proud of and why. It's a method that encourages storytelling [and can be] used to shake people into creative brainstorming ahead of a project kick off, program development, etc. This technique helps people learn about what motivates others."--Tony Deblauwe, Founder, HR4Change
What's YOUR best management tip? Please share in the comments section!

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    Amy Levin-Epstein is a freelance writer who has been published in dozens of magazines (including Glamour, Self and Redbook), websites (including AOLHealth.com, Babble.com and Details.com) and newspapers (including The New York Post and the Boston Globe). To read more of her writing, visit AmyLevinEpstein.com.

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