Every successful business manager knows and understands the supreme importance of always endeavoring to hone, improve, and expand their management skills: all for the profitability, sustainability, and longevity of their company.
Managing a business is a multi-faceted (and often more than a little stressful) occupation and as a result, it is important to have a strong network of trusted employees and colleagues in your professional life; and close friends and family members who form your support network in your personal life.
With all this in mind, continue reading to discover how to improve your business management skills and learn how this can positively affect the future outlook of your company.
1. Ensure Your Professional Vision Is Concise And Clear
One of the most fundamental ways to improve, streamline, and hone your skills in business management (and therefore how effective you are at conveying your ideas and directions to each individual member of your workforce) is to ensure your vision is as concise and clear as possible.
If you think about it logically, how can you possibly expect your employees to fully know, respect, and understand the company ethos and objectives if you haven’t relayed such important information to them in an honest and crystal-clear way; or worse still, if you haven’t established your professional vision yourself?
Hold a meeting with each relevant member of the team to share your vision—using props and whiteboards to visually explain where you are coming from. After the meeting, send a follow-up email to summarize the most important points and to keep the vision present and prominent in your business operations from this point forward.
2. Learn And Understand The Supreme Power Of Branding
Another incredibly useful way to improve and hone your skills in business management is to learn all about personal company branding, and implement these changes across the entirety of your current business model.
Essentially, personal branding is the impression or the image that clients, customers, and competitors alike have about your business. Therefore, an excellent and well-thought-out personal branding campaign will enhance your status within the industry and afford you the extremely valuable power of influence over a variety of different sectors.
3. Never Underestimate The Power Of Appreciation
One of the best and most effective steps a business manager can take to both improve their own business management skills, and simultaneously boost the productivity and efficiency levels of each and every member of their workforce, is to show appreciation and gratitude where necessary.
The overwhelming power of gratitude and appreciation is often underestimated by fledgling and successful business managers alike, and it is incredibly important to publicly congratulate an employee for a job well done and even highlight their achievements on social media or in-house.
Even a quick “well done” or “good job” can go a long way to encouraging loyalty and motivating an individual to work to the best of their ability and therefore be as productive and as efficient as possible.
4. Enhance Your Education In The Field
Another powerful and extremely effective way of substantially improving your management skills is to successfully acquire new levels of further education.
More pertinently, regardless of the industry in which your company is based, your business will undoubtedly rely on data analysis so as to best ascertain and accurately predict the financial situation, sales projections, and other key elements for the future.
One of the best ways in which a manager can improve their business acumen (and workforce management skills) is to embark on a postgraduate qualification such as a data science master degree. This way, they will better understand the science and mathematical theory and functionality of their business behind the scenes.
If the manager of a business is more schooled and knowledgeable as to the data-driven side of the business, they will more accurately be able to assist with the development of various strategies and play a more active and effective role in driving the business forward.
5. Encourage Employee Loyalty
Business managers who have achieved longevity, success, and are overall popular members of management, are always actively looking to not only reward stand-out members of the workforce but to encourage such employees to remain loyal and stay with their company for a long time.
It is a proven fact that however dedicated and productive an employee at your company is, when they are offered more benefits, more money, or the increased levels of responsibility and culpability that they are looking for by a different employer, they are likely to jump the proverbial ship.
There is a myriad of ways to ensure you are able to keep your stand-out and top-performing employees loyal, motivated, and dedicated to working for you, including the following:
- Always communicate a clear and achievable company ethos and vision to each and every one of your employees. An honest, open, and approachable manager who is happy to talk about the progression of a project, department, or even the company as a whole invites and encourages employee loyalty as a result. Top-performing and valuable members of the workforce want to feel involved and needed, and this is an excellent way of achieving both objectives at the same time.
- Analyze their salary, with a view to making changes whenever possible. If an employee positively and regularly contributes to the success of various projects, they are likely to be fully aware of their own value to the company, and it is important to reflect this in salary changes and benefits as and when applicable and possible.
- Challenging your employees and assigning them tasks that will push and test them in ways they have not been previously professionally challenged is a fantastic way of encouraging them to stay. Allowing them to complete their tasks quickly and easily (and then spending a lot of their working day coasting—safe in the knowledge that they are both quicker and more skilled at their role than perhaps other members of the workforce are) will inevitably eventually lead to them seeking more challenging opportunities.
6. “Manage Out” Toxic Employees
Conversely, within every single workforce, regardless of the industry in which they reside, there are always going to be those individual employees who are counter-productive to the success of the working day—and more widely, the success and profitability of the business as a whole.
Obviously, the actual act of “managing out” toxic employees who are negatively impacting and affecting the flow of your company is not only unethical (and perhaps in some cases even illegal),it also gives the individual no chance to attempt to change.
Instead, employ the following tools and techniques upon the individual employee to give them the best possible chance of changing and becoming a valued member of the workforce:
- Arrange productive one-to-one meetings with the individual employee to best identify the reason why their productivity and efficiency levels are not up to standard. Keep in mind that it is entirely possible that their reason for performing poorly is entirely unrelated to the workplace, and could be stemming from an issue or problem in their personal life.
- Talk to other members of your team in a formal meeting setting to best identify the employee who is performing fully from an objective viewpoint, and to allow yourself to approach the subject from an entirely different angle. Ask other members of your workforce professional, direct, and open questions—obviously ensuring that at no point you stray into gossip territory.
- Develop a plan of action with the information gleaned from both the employees themselves, and from the meetings you have conducted with their colleagues, other members of the workforce, and even department heads.
- Arrange another meeting with the individual employee in question and set out the reasons why you are concerned about their performance, behavior, and general attitude to their professional working day. If you discover that the reason for the poor and sub-par performance of the employee is related to a personal issue at home, find useful advice and even contact HR to best provide the individual with the help, support, and advice they need. However, if it turns out to be a professional issue, then together with the employee in question, you should come to a decision on how best to deal with the problem.
- Arrange meetings—perhaps once every week or even once a fortnight—to follow up on the action plan discussed with your employee, so as to ascertain whether the situation has improved.
- If the personal issue is preventing the individual from performing their professional roles and responsibilities productively and effectively, it may be time to consider granting them compassionate or sick leave. Conversely, if the professional problem still exists and there is no sign—either from the individual concerned or from their colleagues and department heads—that the situation has in any way changed, it may be time to consider releasing them from their contract and letting them go.
7. Remember, Communication Counts For Everything
If you are already a successful business manager of a solvent company (who has tens or even hundreds of people working for you in various departments right across the business model) then frankly, you must already be aware of the supreme power and influence of correct, honest, and open communication.
Communication is the backbone of every single successful workforce, regardless of industry or company size; so it stands to reason that, even if you already consider yourself an incredibly effective and attentive business manager, you should always strive to hone and improve your professional communication skills and prowess.
There is a wide range of tools and techniques that have been shown to be effective in improving the effectiveness of your conversation and communication as a business manager, including but categorically in no way limited to the following:
- Be more specific when talking to your employees, especially in more formal and professional settings such as meetings, briefings, and one-to-one meetings.
- Always communicate your feedback (whether positive or indeed negative) with conciseness and clarity.
- Ensure that your communication is as transparent as is feasibly possible, without obviously revealing business details and secrets that are not appropriate for every member of the workforce to know. Employees thrive in a business setting where everyone feels as if they are on the same page, and having a manager who is as transparent and as honest as possible will substantially validate their position and motivate them to be more productive and efficient.
- Present an authentic and approachable persona at work—even when there are professional business matters that are weighing on your mind and you do not feel like conversing with Sandra from accounting at all. Approachability is one of the greatest tools of effective communication, as well as one of the greatest attributes of successful and motivating managers.
- Always communicate any changes to your employees as soon as is feasibly possible, in order to keep them abreast of the situation regarding the company that they work for. Perhaps to you, they are just another employee; but to them, the company is where they have chosen to dedicate their professional working life, and as such, you owe it to them to make them aware of any changes (whether or not they are directly affected by such changes) in a timely manner.
- Strive to be as inclusive as possible in your communications and always try to see every employee face-to-face as regularly as possible. Naturally, if you are the manager of a large or even international business, then it is entirely impossible to physically converse with every single member of your workforce; so instead, you should implement the creation of a workplace newsletter that can be sent to every single employee’s private email address every month, or even on a quarterly basis.
- One of the most effective ways to improve your levels of communication between both you and your employees (and also between colleagues and different heads of departments) is to actively strive to cultivate meaningful professional relationships with your teams. You would truly be surprised to learn of the number of employees who leave a role because of their poor relationship and communication levels with their bosses.