Being a manager is being caught between two worlds. Owners and employees alike come to managers with their problems. Each end of the business spectrum counts on managers to come up with innovative solutions to day-to-day problems. Here are five strategies that can help managers in any industry be the best they can be.
1. Learn Consumers’ Habits
The most important asset for any business is knowledge. Marketing research presents both a unique challenge and a powerful opportunity for managers who know how to gather and make sense of data sets. This should be done quantitatively by analyzing statistics and qualitatively through methods like reading feedback and working with focus groups. Most of these strategies can be done entirely online. Be sure to research virtual focus group best practices if you decide to go the remote route. Wherever your data comes from, it helps you build a more accurate picture of the future.
2. Give Customers Better Service
The quality of customer service plays a major role in customer loyalty. A study by Zendesk showed that customers are around 50% more likely to post a bad experience online than a good one. What customers overwhelmingly desire is convenience. They want a live operator available either by phone or through live chat. They also like having the option of talking to a chatbot for simple questions. Give customers as many options as possible, whether through social media or a help desk. Doing so guarantees that more customers will feel that their voices have been heard.
3. Know When to Delegate Tasks
A common problem among managers is not knowing when to delegate responsibility to others. Managers tend to be ambitious and hands-on by nature, so resisting the urge to micromanage can be difficult. One good rule of thumb for this is the so-called “70 percent rule.” The idea is that if someone else is at least 70% as effective at a task as the manager is, the manager should delegate that task to that person. This makes sure that the best people are in the best positions for them…including the manager, who should be using that time to plan for the future and head off conflicts.
4. Defuse Conflicts Through Communication
Conflicts in the workplace are inevitable, but the consequences of them are very avoidable. The key is communication. Managers often make the mistake of letting employee tension sort itself out. This is never a good idea. Instead, actively facilitate resolution. Being able to listen is a good skill for any manager to have, and it’s best when combined with complete transparency. Have an open-door policy stating that anyone can come to you for advice without fear of it affecting their job security. Never play favorites. Whenever you can, teach employees vital “soft skills” like empathy and team building. Above all else, be a good example of impartial and consistent leadership.
5. Engage in Constant Training
A study by the National Center on the Educational Quality of the Workforce (EQW) discovered that an 8.6% gain in productivity can be created just by increasing the education level of a workforce by 10%. The best way to accomplish this is through frequent training initiatives. Regularly scheduled refresher courses for skills can not only help sharpen those abilities but also let employees know that management cares about their success. As stated above, don’t limit training to technical skills. Critical thinking and problem-solving are just as necessary to create a productive and happy workplace.
Being a manager isn’t easy. There’s no single best way to tackle workplace issues, and doing well means something different in every business. Keep these universal tips in mind as you build your managing practice.