5 tips to be a better leader & manager

1. Ask for feedback on yourself

I have never had a manager ask for feedback on themselves. This is a shame, as many of these people could have become excellent leaders if they created a space for feedback on themselves. Noticing this, I made a commitment to always ask for feedback on myself when I started to lead teams. This led to many benefits and personal insights, for example...

One team member once told me, "you are sometimes too efficient". When I got this feedback I was initially confused 😅. I then asked this person to expand on the feedback... I then discovered that my strive for efficiency was leading to less confident team members not speaking up on calls. It also meant that those who liked to brainstorm and strategize on calls felt creatively time pressured. This is because I like to first privately think of ideas and share these before meetings to have efficient meetings where people have had the time to develop thoughts ahead of the meeting. However, many people on the team preferred the exact opposite - starting ideation first in a group setting, then developing ideas after. As a result, I learned my method was potentially hurting their performance. From this feedback I change how I structured creative meetings moving forward. I am also now more cognisant of meetings where my efficiency may be suppressing involvement, ideas, and creativity from less confident team members. I also took some of this feedback in my personal life and noticed similar instances where I needed to slow down.

If you asked your team for personal feedback what would they say? Try it, ask them and it could positively change your work & personal life behavior.

2. Give credit & praise in private & group settings

Most workplace anxiety does not stem from the difficulty of work itself, but from the social pressures and expectations of the work. This is great news, as these causes of workplace anxiety are under your control as a manager and leader. Many managers are unaware of the importance of sharing consistent balanced positive feedback. Instead, most either lean too heavily on being critical or uncritical. So, if you instead set yourself a goal to leave sincere positive feedback at least once every 2 weeks with each person you directly manage, you can get many benefits. Some benefits of doing this are having team members that are...

3. Discuss & track the company culture & values

First, during onboarding, you should clearly discuss the company values & culture. Then, every 3 months you should discuss with your team members (privately or in a group meeting) how they feel company culture is moving. This way you can get deep insights into how the company culture is evolving over time, and if this is good or bad for what your management goals are.

Company culture changes and evolves every day at the department, team, and sub-team levels. You, as management, will never truly know what the overall culture actually is. However, with strategies like this, you can understand it better.
Company culture changes and evolves every day at the department, team, and sub-team levels. You, as management, will never truly know what the overall company culture is. However, with strategies like this, you can understand it better.

4. Explain the company strategy & decisions

Anytime a team, department or the company changes the strategy in a way that affects other people's work the reasoning for this change must be explained to the affected people. Failing to do this leads to a gradual build-up of staff resentment toward management. This is for changes they may not like and do not understand. However, once the reasoning behind the changes is explained most people will support the changes, even if they strongly disagreed before. Explaining the "why" behind decision-making is a very important part of being a leader that can genuinely get your team to buy into the greater vision.

5. Ask your team members how they work best

For me, I usually work best 10am-3pm, then 9pm-2am.We all know ourselves the best, so instead of guessing how to optimize our teams you can just ask them. This way you can work to everyone's strengths and natural rhythms. Of course, this will be within limits based on your company for core hours and so on. However, too few managers simply ask team members how they work best. This also goes for workflow tools and software, as often this can lead to new learnings of new more efficient systems.

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