4 tactical tips to Become a Better Manager

Leadership Coaching
11/03/20 - Jennifer Maynard

Welcome to management! Whether you’ve just arrived or you’ve been here a while, you will soon learn that there is a lot to learn and we can always grow and improve our skills. With that said there are a few key tactics you can focus on today to be the most effective manager you can be.

Spend some time reading through some of the tactics here and reflect on how well you are doing each of these. Do you have an opportunity to do better, improve? What will it take to turn these into a long term sustaining habit?

Level Set Your Team

Level setting is one of my favorite easy wins to share with managers.  It will look different for every leader based on your team, the culture, and where you’re at on your journey, but remember you can stop and level set at any time. Don’t just wait for the beginning of the year or goal-setting time. 

Have you ever left a meeting, felt like the expectations you set were clear then noticed everyone seems to be working on something different and not doing what you asked? How could you all be in the same room and not hear the same message?  This happens all the time.  This is a combination of hearing vs listening, assumptions, personal interpretation, and style.  You may not be able to fix all of those at once. But you can be sure that you set clear expectations, check-in for understanding and recap the conversation.  

Level setting means stoping and setting the right expectations.  Is your team clear on the objectives and goals? Are there clear on the deliverables? Do they know how frequently to report out and share progress? Level setting is all about being sure your team is clear about what is needed, when, why, and how.  This conversation should be verbal and in-person or face to face over video.  You should check-in for understanding while it’s happening. And you should do so with a deep and powerful question, not just, “got that?”.  It should be followed up with a summary of what what was discussed and documented over email or other system/tool. This gives you something to point back to when you need to hold your team accountable later.  

Once you’ve taken the time to level set a project, task or role, you now have something tangible you can point back to.  If an employee is struggling to perform on the goals you set, you have the ability to point back to the initial conversation.  

Provide Effective Feedback

The ability to provide feedback is a critical managerial skill.  We talk about feedback in detail in a past blog post here. When we talk about feedback there are two key things to remember. There is positive feedback and improvement feedback. Both are extremely important for building trust with your team and ensuring that your team is operating effectively.  65% of employees say they want more feedback. 

When most people think about giving feedback, they think of the negative. They think about it as addressing a problem or issue. Feedback doesn’t all have to be negative, and 69% of employees say they would actually work harder if their efforts were better recognized.

The ability to provide GOOD positive feedback is one of the best tools a manager can have in their toolbox.  When you think about providing feedback make sure it is provided in real-time, it is specific and authentic.  

Tune into this 8 min video and listen to an overview of feedback from a previous leadership training I’ve done. 

Host Effective 1:1s and Meetings

I have to admit when I bring up hosting effective staff meetings and 1:1s in a coaching session I sometimes get a funny like. But when done well these 2 simple changes can make a huge difference in the relationships you have with your employees and in team morale overall. 

Staff meetings are intended to be a time when you as a leader are flowing out important information to the team.  You get a chance to speak and share. You can run them many ways but in general, you should always have an agenda, let your team buy into and add topics to the agenda, have someone taking notes, send out a recap of what was discussed, and don’t use the time for individual report outs of progress. 

1:1s meetings are intended to be the time where the employee gets some of your precious time to report out on what they need to share. The key here is it’s their time to share with you. If you are doing all the talking, this meeting has failed. Provide them an agenda upfront so they know what you need to hear/see from them. Ask them to come prepared to discuss their wins, help needed, look ahead, and personal development. Don’t use this time to report out details that you will share in staff with the whole team. Use it just for things that impact the two of you in the conversation. 

Listen in to this 7-minute video where I deep dive into the difference between effective 1:1s and staff meetings along with the value of both. 


There are a number of benefits to delegating from both an employee and a manager perspective.

Employees benefit from delegation because they feel like you care! You’re engaging them, giving them a chance to develop, and trusting them to do a task you may have done on your own. Simply put it builds morale – and what a manager doesn’t want a team filled with high morale? Getting the team involved, giving them creative freedom and the autonomy to do their work will create happy and long-lasting employees.  All of this leads to stronger employee retention. The more you delegate the happier your people are and the less hiring and training you will have to do in the long run.

Managers also benefit from delegation.  The most obvious reason is the overall time and schedule improvements. The more work you can spread around the more time you buy back for yourself.  This is important because as a manager you should be more focused on strategic work than operational and tactical work. It also frees up time for you to focus on developing yourself, which is equally important. Perhaps it allows you time to take a new class, read a book, or work with a leadership coach.  Either way, delegation will buy back time on your schedule!

If you’d like to read more on delegation read this previous blog post where I deep dive into why and how to delegate.

Wrapping it up

There are many tactical tips and tricks you can learn to be an effective manager. This list is intended to get you started and thinking differently about how your leadership can impact your ability to be a good manager.  One of the great things about working with a leadership coach is that you get a chance to deep-dive your skills and figure out what leadership behaviors you need to develop to be your best.
Want to learn more about your leadership coaching program? Feel free to read more about our leadership coaching here! If you’d like to sign up for one of our free leadership trainings you can do so here.

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