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Fulton Bank
Fulton Bank

8 tips to improve your management skills

Today, it’s not business as usual. Due to the ongoing challenges with the economy and running a small business, managing employees is more important than ever. From communicating guidelines for staff and customer safety to being sensitive to your employees' personal situations, good people skills will result in better outcomes.

Good people management comes through experience. Courses will teach you the theories, but there is no substitute for day-to-day practice managing staff and their issues. These tips can help give you a head start in developing a happy and productive workforce.

1. Don't micro-manage. Your employees were hired because they could do the job, so let them do it. Give clear instructions, encourage them to ask for advice, and praise for the good work they do.

2. Take time to get to know your staff. Understand that they have lives outside work, and that personal and domestic issues can't always be left at the workplace doors.

3. Be fair. Don't ask staff to undertake tasks you wouldn't do yourself, or to take risks you wouldn't take.

4. Ask for and listen to suggestions. Ideas often come from people undertaking tasks on a daily basis. Give these ideas careful consideration, and reward staff when their ideas generate business, save money or increase productivity. Sing their praises at every opportunity.

5. Put the right teams together. A good team is more than the sum of its parts. Keep an eye open for signs of tension and disagreement between individual co-workers or in teams, especially if one team member looks constantly unhappy.

6. Cultivate an atmosphere of openness, not fear. If staff feel they can come to you, they are more likely to broach issues early, rather than covering them up and hoping for the best.

7. Give staff chances to develop and progress. Your retention levels will be better if staff feel they are learning and growing in a job with good prospects of career development.

8. Be approachable but stay professional. You are a manager, not a friend. Be clear where the lines are drawn.

A good manager can make or break a business. Review and hone your people skills as an ongoing process. The process can take time, recognize small wins as they occur and keep working - your small business and employees will benefit from your efforts.

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