Regardless of the industry or vertical, business management is no easy role. Every manager will be faced with constant challenges and be required to handle incredible responsibility.
Although there are no shortcuts or formulas for effective management, there are certain traits that can help position managers for success. After 25 years of management consulting, we’ve encountered business managers across the spectrum. Here’s what 25 years of business consulting has taught us about what managers need to know in order to be successful.
1 – Always strive for excellence–even in the small stuff
Too many managers only dot their i’s and cross their t’s when it comes to the monumental areas of their business, but forget to pay attention to the simple things. It’s usually the small and overlooked areas that hold companies back.
2 – Appreciate your teammates
A company is only as good as its people. To perform at your peak, you have to trust your team.
3 – Make exceeding expectations common practice
Businesses that try to get by on just being good enough will only go so far. The best companies know that it takes exceptional effort to achieve sustainable results.
4 – Process, order, and structure are your friends
Organizations require organization! In order for a company to position itself for real growth, it needs repeatable systems that enable workers to produce work efficiently and to a certain quality standard.
5 – Wake up every day with a grateful perspective
It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, but we’ve found that the most productive and respected managers are those who express gratitude.
6 – Keep going, keep going, KEEP GOING!
It goes without saying that management is not for the faint of heart. Despite the known challenges, however, we come across too many leaders who don’t know what specifically motivates them to get through the difficult times. Being clear about this is crucial for persevering through the inevitable moments where you feel like throwing in the towel.
7 – Model what you want
Not leading by example is a sure way to lose respect from your employees. In fact, the number one reason workers quit their jobs is a bad boss. Here’s how you can make sure you’re one of the good ones.
8 – Be clear about what is yours to do, and don’t be afraid to turn down certain opportunities
As a leader, there are a million different “priorities” competing for your attention. It’s not feasible to do everything, so it’s critical that you know how to delegate to others and say no to what doesn’t need your time.
9 – Experience isn’t enough. Keep learning!
While experience is certainly valuable, business is always changing. To keep up, you have to stay hungry for information and adapt to new trends.
10 – Build a nest egg
You won’t be working forever–even though sometimes it probably feels like it. Don’t forget to plan for the future.
11 – Even one step forward is progress
It’s important to acknowledge your wins–both big and small–even in moments when progress is slower than expected.
12 – Be consciously proactive and initiate an improvement mindset
Proactivity is almost always rewarded in any business. Part of being a successful leader is taking initiative and finding ways to optimize what you do.
13 – Take every opportunity to listen and observe
When leaders are eager to learn, their companies thrive because they are able to adapt faster than competitors that think they already have all the answers.
14 – Don’t be afraid to change
Change is the currency for success in the business world. Managers need to be receptive to change in order to grow.
15 – You can have fun by doing good
We’ve encountered hundreds of businesses in our 25 years of consulting, and we’ve found that the most successful give back to the communities they serve.
16 – Manners are not “old school”
Respect and civility in the workplace has several benefits beyond just being the nice thing to do, from boosting productivity to improving employee retention.
17 – Manage your finances with a conservative eye
It’s crucial that managers know their numbers inside out. Have a firm grasp of your revenue, expenses, profit, cash flow and the like in order to avoid unwelcome surprises.
18 – When you are feeling defeated, get up and try again
Moments when you feel you are at the brink of defeat are typically followed by amazing breakthroughs if you can endure them.
19 – The best real estate can be the space between your ears
Take opportunities that keep you sharp and put you on the path to continually learn.
20 – Be humble
Humility is one of the key qualities of effective leaders because it allows them to be receptive to creative ideas and innovative approaches to solving problems.
21 – Pray
There’s no denying that business can be stressful. Staying spiritually connected can help you stay centered and focused during the most challenging times.
22 – Be so useful you are hard to replace
The secret to being useful at work is to be proactive. The more you take initiative, the more essential you will be as a manager.
23 – Intend to do good…and then do it!
When you approach every interaction at work with good intentions, you’ll find that your productivity will increase. It will be easier to collaborate with others, even in moments of disagreement.
24 – Be creative in your approach to problem-solving
Leaders should constantly look for opportunities to solve problems. Doing so will improve your critical thinking ability, allowing you to more easily navigate business challenges when they arise.
25 – It benefits you to stay open and receptive
A little known fact is that the majority of problems in the workplace can be linked back to some type of management problem. This is why self-assessment and embracing a growth mindset as a leader is critical.
There is no denying that being a manager is a demanding role. We’re sorry to tell you that there are no secrets or fancy business techniques that lead to managerial success. It simply takes hard work, perseverance, and an intentional effort to improve.