Manager Effectiveness Tips

6 Ways to Make Your Managers More Effective

By Gaurav Sharma, founder and CEO of Attrock, a results-driven digital marketing company that he grew an agency from 5-figure to 7-figure revenue in just two years. He also contributes to top publications like HuffPost, Adweek, Radical Candor, Business 2 Community, TechCrunch, and more.

Effective management is the bedrock of any successful organization. It influences nearly every aspect of a business, from decision-making to conflict resolution and resource management. 

That’s why it’s no surprise that for the second year in a row, Gartner reports “Leader and Manager Development” as the number one priority for HR leaders. The survey further states that 76% of managers admit to getting overwhelmed by their responsibilities.

6 Ways to Make Your Managers More Effective manager effectiveness

Despite manager effectiveness being vital, many companies fail to recognize that management is a job with specific skills that need to be learned. In many companies, managers receive little-to-no training, and this has very real consequences.

A  2018 study by digital services firm West Monroe Partners found that 41% of small-team managers received no training before becoming managers and 42% mimicked the style of a previous manager in lieu of any training or coaching.

And if they’re mimicking bad-boss behavior because they don’t have any other models, that’s going to be a problem for the entire team.

Here’s what you need to know about effective management so you can set everyone up to succeed.

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What Is Manager Effectiveness?

manager effectiveness tips

Manager effectiveness refers to various sets of skills and abilities that help managers guide teams to achieve results. 

It encompasses aspects such as:

As leaders, managers set the tone in an organization. Effective management can pave the way for a healthy work environment, where everyone knows that their efforts are appreciated and their voices are heard. On the other hand, ineffective management can cost companies time, talent, and a lot of money.

Why Is Manager Effectiveness Important?

6 Ways to Make Your Managers More Effective manager effectiveness

You’ve likely heard the phrase, “people don’t leave companies, they leave managers.”

This is true. In a 2022 study by Harvard Business Review, it was discovered that the least effective managers had three to four times as many employees quitting their jobs compared to leaders who are considered the most effective. 

These employees often felt undervalued and unappreciated and some believed that their managers were biased.This is why business leaders should know about various tactics to improve a manager’s effectiveness. 

Here are some reasons manager effectiveness matters: 

  • Retaining Top Talent: Good managers play a critical role in retaining top talent and reducing turnover. They foster professional growth and create a positive work environment where employees can reach their full potential. Avoid being the “Hotel California of management” — create an environment where people feel empowered to leave if they aren’t being managed effectively. This will help you retain your top talent.
  • Increasing Employee Productivity: Effective managers can also help increase employee productivity. They give effective feedback that helps employees understand their strengths and areas of improvement. 
  • Shaping a Healthy Work Culture: Managers can dictate the culture of a workplace. They can instill open communication not just between colleagues but also between managers and employees as well, which combats the development of a toxic company culture. They can also help foster a healthy work-life balance to ensure employees don’t experience burnout. 
  • Building Strong Work Teams: Effective managers can create strong work teams by resolving conflicts, cultivating Radical Respect so teams work together better, and promoting collaborations.
  • Increasing Innovation: Good managers foster creativity and provide a safe space where employees can share their ideas.

6 Tested Tactics to Improve Manager Effectiveness

6 Ways to Make Your Managers More Effective manager effectiveness

Effective management goes beyond achieving business goals. It’s about building relationships and creating the kind of work environment where people feel seen, heard, safe, and supported to do their best work.

At many organizations the only opportunity for growth, advancement, and a pay bump is to become a manager — but not everyone can be an effective manager.

For folks who thrive on building a team and guiding others to achieve results, becoming a manager may be a dream come true.

On the other hand, management could be a nightmare for high-performing individual contributors who are experts in their fields but have a low frustration tolerance for herding cats.

Before accepting a management job, ask yourself whether you want to do the things managers do like coaching, soliciting and giving feedback, and building teams to get stuff done, or do you want to be a manager for power, money, or control?

If your motivation for becoming a manager is entirely monetary, you’re going to be miserable, and you certainly won’t be effective.

Before promoting someone else to management, remember that just because someone is a stand-out individual contributor doesn’t mean they’ll be an effective manager. Assess folks based:

  • Leadership Qualities: Strong managers tend to exhibit core leadership qualities like vision, decisiveness, communication skills, and the ability to inspire and motivate a team. Look for folks who demonstrate these traits.
  • Domain Expertise: Effective managers usually have deep expertise in the relevant domain or industry. This allows them to provide technical guidance and make informed strategic decisions.
  • People Management Skills: Managing people is a critical part of being a good manager. Choose people who are empathetic, approachable, and skilled at providing feedback, coaching, and conflict resolution.

Once you have a manager, you have to train them to be effective. Below are some of the best tactics to improve a manager’s effectiveness.

1. Set Clear Goals and Expectations

When everyone has a different perception of what being a manager entails, it becomes almost impossible to achieve consistent expectations. 

Managers need to be aware of what’s expected of them and their team, so they’ll be able to organize their time and resources better. 

As an HR leader or executive, leave no room for assumption. Ensure that your managers have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities. 

This could mean setting clear goals and having targeted discussions with them to help them adjust their strategies accordingly. 

You can even consider implementing the SMART goal technique, which answers the following objectives:

  • Specific: The managers’ goals need to be specific so they’re readily understandable.
  • Measurable: Always set measurable goals that will enable monitoring of the managers’ progress toward attaining them.
  • Attainable: Have realistic expectations that managers can achieve so they’re not overwhelmed or left feeling discouraged.
  • Relevant: The goals need to be related to the organization’s long-term objectives.
  • Time-bound: The goals and expectations should have clear timelines to help the managers stay on track.

You can also use a bottoms-up OKR (objectives and key results) process to ensure your entire team is on the same page about the goals and objectives. This shared understanding is critical for effective execution.

  • Objectives are a description of what you are trying to do. They should be ambitious. They don’t have to be measurable.
  • Key Results are a description of how you are going to achieve your objective. They must be measurable.

2. Cultivate Kind and Clear Communication

Workplace Communication Training

Great communication is one of the top tactics to improve a manager’s effectiveness. When managers can’t communicate their expectations and instructions to employees clearly, the entire team is affected. Poor communication can also leave room for misunderstandings and frustrations.

That’s why it’s essential to make effective communication with managers a top priority. One of the best ways to improve leadership communication is by providing workplace communication training, since communication skills vary.

Managers will learn tips on how to deliver feedback and relay information. For example, when delivering messages, aim for clarity and brevity. Stay away from jargon and complex language. Instead, use straightforward, easily understandable terms. 

Also, remember to encourage managers to establish various channels of communication that employees can use to approach them. Not all employees have the same personalities; some prefer one-on-one talks, while others would rather send emails. 

Some of the communication channels managers can consider include team briefings, phone calls, short video recordings, and instant chat messaging

For more effective communication, managers should be trained to:

  • Listen actively: They should listen to their employees’ concerns and suggestions genuinely, and check for understanding. 
  • Provide impactful feedback: Learn how to give specific, meaningful praise that helps people understand what success looks like. And don’t be afraid to provide direct challenges — people will often prefer this over generic feedback. Effective managers provide praise that is specific and sincere and criticism that is kind and clear.
  • Communicate goals clearly: This will ensure that every team member understands their roles and objectives within the organization.
  • Play to strengths: Position each team member to play to their strengths as much as possible. Individualize feedback and goal-setting in a way that feels inspiring rather than daunting.
  • Foster trust and transparency: Build a culture of trust where employees feel valued, cared for, and able to raise concerns. Have “speak-truth-to-power” meetings to get direct feedback from their teams.

With many managers working from home today, you can leverage team communication tools like Slack, Loom, Zoom, and more. 

These platforms can help maintain constant communication with all managers in the organization and ensure they’re all on the same page. 

While doing so, ensure that each manager feels heard. This could mean being open to receiving their feedback while also offering yours in a constructive manner that will keep everyone in the winning spectrum.

3. Recognize and Celebrate Success

6 Ways to Make Your Managers More Effective manager effectiveness

Reaching milestones deserves a celebration. While you don’t need to throw a party, you can and should acknowledge managers who do a great job at achieving goals within their team.

Recognizing their contributions is an essential part of keeping them engaged. It also shows that you respect and appreciate their efforts, which, in turn, improves morale and increases engagement. 

Here are some of the strategies to implement to recognize managers’ wins:

  • Acknowledge them publicly for their hard work and achievements. You can do so during team meetings, in company newsletters, or on social media. 
  • Host team lunches, dinners, or small celebrations to recognize their successes and accomplishments. 
  • Send personalized emails or handwritten “thank you” notes expressing your appreciation for their efforts and contributions.

4. Foster Collaboration and Mentorship

One of the most vital tactics to improve a manager’s effectiveness is encouraging collaboration and mentorship (as opposed to coaching). 

Being a true collaborator means constantly working with managers to come up with new ideas on how to improve operations. This can be as simple as suggesting more efficient workflows, proposing new tools or technologies, or having managers from different departments come together and brainstorm ideas. 

Doing so will encourage them to work together, learn from one another, and understand different aspects of the organization. 

Here are more ways to improve collaboration: 

  • Involving the managers in activities that affect them and getting their feedback before important decisions are made.
  • Conducting team meetings and brainstorming sessions where managers can share their ideas, ask questions, and provide feedback.
  • Highlighting and rewarding successful collaborative projects, whether by giving awards or featuring them in newsletters.

Great organizations also promote a culture of mentorship. They not only offer guidance and support to their managers but also advocate for peer-to-peer mentorship. 

Mentorships are important because they enable managers to learn from one another’s experiences, gain new perspectives, and develop their skills faster. 

You can encourage mentorship by providing opportunities for managers to network and build relationships beyond the office. This could be through facilitating networking events or workshops. 

You can even encourage them to build personal brands on LinkedIn by endorsing their skills, providing recommendations, and sharing their achievements on the platform. This will help expand their professional network.

Other ways to establish an effective mentorship program for managers include:

  • Scheduling regular manager mentor-mentee programs.
  • Identifying potential mentors and mentees for managers within the organization.
  • Providing resources and training needed for effective mentorship.

5. Invest In Professional Development

virtual leadership training for employees

Offering continuous learning and development for managers is one of the top tactics for enhancing their effectiveness.

By investing in their professional development, you ensure that they’re equipped with the latest skills and knowledge they need to perform. This, in turn, will lead to increased productivity, innovation, and job satisfaction. 

There are multiple ways to invest in your managers’ professional development, including:

  • Providing opportunities for further education and training, such as leadership feedback training, virtual or in-person workshops, or a masterclass
  • Encouraging them to pursue relevant certifications to improve their skills and professional credibility.
  • Incorporating social media branding strategies to help them build a strong online presence and network effectively.
  • Tailoring your development plans to their needs, as every manager possesses unique strengths, weaknesses, and career aspirations.
  • Creating opportunities for managers to share what they’ve learned with other managers.

6. Create a Culture of Radical Candor

Radical Candor is a powerful management approach that can significantly improve manager effectiveness. Implementing Radical Candor can:

  • Improve relationships and communication between managers and their direct reports. At Gather, Radical Candor encouraged managers to have more open and honest conversations, leading to better alignment and stronger bonds with their teams.
  • Increase agility and speed of execution. At ZenHub, a culture of Radical Candor allowed them to move faster as an agile company and get to the root of issues more quickly.
  • Enhance employee development and engagement. At Heitman, Radical Candor training dramatically improved the relationship between a manager and their employee, going from uncertainty to confidence in their career goals.
  • Drive overall business performance. Successful outcomes of Radical Candor include improved business performance, stronger team dynamics, and greater employee engagement.

From better communication and relationships, to increased agility and performance, companies that invest in implementing Radical Candor are likely to see meaningful improvements in how their teams work together and the results they achieve.

High-performing organizations understand the big role that effective managers play to ensure they stay afloat. That’s why they follow the best tactics to improve a manager’s effectiveness. 

Even if you already have effective managers, you should still leverage these tactics to maintain their performance. Ultimately, these strategies will help you build a stronger, more united organization.

Ready to get started? Book a call with Radical Candor today!

6 Ways to Make Your Managers More Effective manager effectiveness

 Gaurav Sharma is the founder and CEO of Attrock, a results-driven digital marketing company. He grew an agency from 5-figure to 7-figure revenue in just two years | 10X leads | 2.8X conversions | 300K organic monthly traffic. He also contributes to top publications like HuffPost, Adweek, Radical Candor, Business 2 Community, TechCrunch, and more.

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