Effective manager habits

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Develop These 25 Habits to Become An Effective Manager

By February 9, 2023 10 min read

How to be a great manager? What successful habits do high-impact managers follow? Delivering high performance, identifying and clearing blockers, streamlining processes, and setting up efficient feedback systems are just a few of a manager’s responsibilities. However, effective management goes beyond these tasks. Like an art form, effective management requires managers to focus on intricate details and optimize them to improve their team’s performance.

If you are a newly appointed manager, a veteran, or planning to accept a managerial role in the future, here is a list of daily habits that can help you become a highly effective manager.

  1. Don’t avoid debates

    Good managers allow their employees to own their decisions and explore ideas, even if they disagree with them initially. Heated debates may challenge existing assumptions but can often lead to better alternative outcomes. In fact, discussions that encourage team members to express their opinions enhance transparency and help them understand their roles better.

    So ask questions that allow employees to brainstorm and tackle problems with an open mindset. All successful managers offer their teammates a safe space to learn, grow, and fail.

    Related Post: 15 Questions Technical Hiring Managers Ask During Interviews
  2. Think big and trust your team to perform big

    Big ideas can transform productivity, performance, and process management in an organization. Great managers are often gifted with the ability to develop big ideas. And so, every manager must focus on the bigger picture, and how a specific change or improvement can affect other areas of the business.

    But that’s not all. The true strength of a manager lies in the way they communicate these ideas to their teams, and delegate tasks to implement them. To become a highly effective manager, you must show confidence in your team. In addition, you must guide them to shape your ideas into visible outcomes.

    Related Post: 6 Tips to Scale a Design Team: A Guide for Product Managers
  3. Be a part of your team

    The waterfall model of hierarchy takes a linear and sequential approach to the development process. This structure is often overrated. Good managers must see themselves as coordinators of talent, priorities, and resources.

    They must move beyond the conventional approach, and consider the team’s strengths when delegating tasks. All effective managers think of their role in the company as enablers of growth and avoid acting from a place of authority. They tap into the broader concept of teamwork, where each member is equally responsible for success. This way, each team member feels equally empowered and valued.

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  4. Prioritize your team over other managers

    On several occasions, managers from other teams will approach you to drive an initiative. Instead of responding immediately, managers should first discuss the initiative with their direct reporters. Even better if you can ask your team for suggestions.

    This practice displays that as a manager, you trust and prioritize the opinions of your team members during discussions. Collaborating with other departments and their managers might be necessary, but doing so should not disturb the harmony of your own team.

    Remember, great managers, allow their team members the freedom to operate as owners and shape their vision accordingly.

    Related Post: Here’s How You Can Judge the Diversity of Your Team
  5. Share an onboarding guide with recruits

    Sharing an onboarding guide is a great way of showing new recruits that you care about their role in the organization as a manager. Ensure that this guide shares the team’s preferred working styles, day-to-day processes, and other vital information. The guide will help team members understand their daily tasks at an early stage and improve productivity.

    If you’re looking to scale your team, you can go a step further and share this onboarding user manual with the top candidates during the interview. Doing so will build psychological safety, trust, and transparency among candidates.
  6. Discuss failures, shortcomings, and declines

    Managers develop a habit of getting the team together to stand on a steady footing, even amidst stumbles. It is okay to show some vulnerability through personal challenges, work struggles, and professional expectations during these meetings. Similarly, it is okay to express burnout, exhaustion, or any other feelings you experience.

    Managers should also share their achievements and wins at these weekly meetings. This practice will build team spirit, encourage team members to talk about their experiences, and reflect upon the areas that need more attention.

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  7. Don’t hesitate to open up

    Managers should not hesitate to open up about the fun stuff, especially when during periods of stress. Sharing personal updates and anecdotes, big or small, helps team members feel associated with you on a personal level.

    This holds especially true for remote teams. Remote setups can make employees feel isolated and disconnected from each other. So if you’re a remote manager, ensure to open up to your team every once in a while. Build that warmth and rapport by encouraging your team to do the same.
  8. Don’t avoid 1:1 meetings 

    As responsibilities increase, targets shift, and monthly reflections allow managers to track progress, identify shortcomings, and devise strategies to overcome them.

    Set up monthly 1:1 meetings with each team member where the report reflects on three things that were successful last month, and three things that could be done differently next month. These meetings will drastically improve the team’s performance. To keep things light, you can end these conversations on an optimistic note. For example, ask them what they’re looking forward to in the next month.

    Related Post: 4 Qualities of High-Performing Teams You Must Know!
  9. Allocate time for out-of-the-box thinking

    Regular weekly meetings are crammed with basic status updates. This leaves no room for thinking big. So, effective managers must take out some time off their schedules to get creative. They must set up special meetings to promote innovation, evaluate and implement never-tried-before ideas, and improve the overall process.

    In other words, great managers must leverage every opportunity to brainstorm and build with their team. This practice helps bring non-urgent matters to light and start off new projects. Last but not least, this out-of-the-box thinking can improve your problem-solving and decision-making skills.
  10. Focus on building connections between people and teams

    As an organization starts to scale, it gets difficult for managers to keep their teams connected. A high-impact manager spots opportunities to build connections within their teams. When employees follow their leader to think beyond individual growth, they can excel at their tasks.

    Great managers emphasize offering context, and valuable insights through feedback. They brainstorm, collaborate, and conceptualize, to clear the doubts of their employees. Thus, great managers highlight how the individual contribution of their employees moves the needle for the team and the company as a whole.

    Related Post: 6 Strategies for Hiring Gen Z in Software Development
  11. Avoid multitasking

    Contrary to popular belief, multi-tasking kills productivity rather than improving it. Multitasking reduces the quality of work being done and increases the amount of time required to complete it.

    While delegating tasks, ensure that your employees are not juggling multiple things at the same time. For example, in a fast-scaling startup, regular 1:1 meetings may seem like rote rituals. However, the best managers approach such meetings with great care. They put emphasis on the most important task: listening. Most importantly, they ensure that they don’t sidetrack these 1:1 meetings by performing other tasks simultaneously.

    Successful managers stay present and attentive to respond to any doubts or concerns their employees have. Even if a question pops up at an inconvenient time, they take a couple of minutes to address it. These actions go a long way to show the employee that they are important to the team and their issues are a priority to the manager.

    Related Post: 7 Ways Managers Can Boost Remote Workers’ Productivity
  12. Give consistent feedback 

    Following through on deliverables is vital for succeeding in your role. However, as you move towards a managerial role and your schedule is filled with meetings, these good habits may start to slip.

    Following up and following through consistently, is a seemingly small habit that has a huge impact on the team. Managers should ask their employees how a certain task is progressing, and keep in touch to ensure that it’s completed smoothly.

    Feedbacks are critical, irrespective of the role you perform at the organization. And so, good managers offer regular feedback to the employees, on their quality of work, areas of improvement, and more.
  13. Treat your team members humanely

    Managers are tasked with improving and maintaining performance, with targets that must be met. However, through all of this, managers must remember that their employees are human beings, beyond numbers and performance metrics. Effective managers ensure that their team members are not overworked.

    Great managers look at the situations of their team members with compassion. They prioritize employees over deadlines and create an environment of growth and improvement, beyond the workplace pressure. This practice helps employees feel acknowledged as human beings and has a positive impact on their work.

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  14. Follow an employee-first approach

    Some employees are expressive about their problems, while others tend to be quiet. And so, managers should ask employees if they are struggling on any personal or professional front. As a solution, managers can offer some time off, financial aid, or any other form of help.

    This way managers can encourage employees to take some time off, by actively enquiring about their employee’s well-being. These actions help the employees feel cared for and supported. The employee-first approach of great managers also makes the employee feel valued and secure

    Related Post: Want to Hire the Best Talent? Built the Best Culture First
  15. Soften the hits

    Making mistakes is natural. If your team messes up, this only means that you are being ambitious enough to try new approaches.

    When your employees goof up, explain what went wrong, and work together to devise a plan to keep it from happening again. Ensure you do this as calmly as possible. Even something as small as praising a good quality of an employee before offering criticism can soften the hits. Telling your employees that you trust their decisions, and are willing to help them through potential failures is very impactful.

    Related Post: Top 6 Ways to Boost Your Hiring Process in 2023
  16. Work on monthly performance reviews 

    An effective performance review system can be very impactful when executed correctly. The ideal approach should be to follow up on the annual reviews with monthly touchpoints. After that, each feedback item should be turned into a tactical action-plan element that can be tracked and executed. This practice will help you track the progress of individual employees, and bring out the best in them.

    And so, to be a high-impact manager, you must check on your team from time to time and see how they are progressing. Ensure to share advice and guidance along the way to improve performance and boost the morale of the team.
  17. Reinforce positive habits

    When an employee seeks feedback, try to be transparent and thorough as possible. Listen to their expectations before sharing feedback. Understand what they want from you. This practice will streamline communication and prevent misunderstandings.

    To become a great manager, you must reinforce good habits like the clarity of thought, punctuality, and presence of mind. Observing and appreciating the positive habits of your team member encourages other employees to follow the same.

    Related Post: 3 Things Every Engineering Manager Must Focus On.
  18. Take a moment before giving feedback

    Managers may feel the urge to impart the feedback right away, but there is a risk that the employee may not be in the right mental space to hear it. So, to set the right tone, ask your employees how they prefer to receive feedback before getting started.

    High-impact managers first stop to ask if their teammates are open to hearing feedback and then proceed. Doing so helps employees process the feedback effectively, and be more receptive to it.

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  19. Try to praise at the moment

    A leader who recognizes and celebrates smaller milestones on the way to a larger goal helps to maintain their team’s momentum. Sharing milestones, accomplishments, small wins, questions, encouragement, and appreciation of team members have a positive impact on the team’s morale. An employee is motivated to excel at their job when they feel valued, appreciated, and acknowledged.

    For example, sending heartfelt messages of compliments, or using props to get your team fired up works wonders. Great managers who engage in such activities, enable their teams to have fun and take the work seriously, without taking themselves too seriously.

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  20. Try to celebrate up the chain

    If a team member performs exceptionally well at a job, ensure to compliment them and share this with your senior. You can send them an email giving kudos and cc it to your senior. Small gestures like these go a long way. The moments when a manager goes out of their way to give an employee credit for their achievements are always memorable for them.

    A small email or a mention of the amazing things that the team members have accomplished can significantly boost morale and help the team perform better.

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  21. Try to celebrate outside the office

    It’s nice to send thoughtful gifts to your team members out of the blue, be it on holidays or important life events. These could even be unrelated to work. Such gestures are wonderful reminders that you as a manager, care enough to remember the important occasions in your teams’ lives.

    Moreover, these gestures will bring you closer to your employees and build meaningful connections. With that in mind, it is important to ensure that these gestures are professional, and do not violate any social/emotional boundaries.

    Related Post: 11 Ways to Celebrate Pride at Your Workplace
  22. Invest in the careers of your team members

    Great managers delegate new projects to the team members that fit their strengths and are in line with their personal goals.

    This step displays that the managers are attentive to the way their employees are looking to grow and offer opportunities accordingly. The best managers aren’t just cheerleaders, they help their employees shape their careers.

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  23. Reach out to mentors and skip-level reports

    Mentoring your employees to achieve their career goals is a huge task. And so, asking professionals to do that on your behalf helps to share that responsibility. Simply put, high-impact managers connect employees with mentors to enhance their professional lives and work toward their ambitions.

    If you are a top-level manager, you should demonstrate trust in your skip-level reports. A skip-level report is a person who reports to your subordinate or vice versa. A great skip-level manager can depend on their skip-level reports for productive feedback, insights, and grassroots-level information.

    Skip-level reports can display exceptional caliber and capability if given the opportunity. As a skip-level manager, you should be in close contact with your skip-level report.
  24. Nurture a flexible environment for growth

    Great managers care about the well-being of their employees. They go beyond asking, “How are things going?”, and ask deeper, meaningful questions to understand their team’s goals and aspirations. They try to normalize and make space for change so that nobody feels stuck, or boxed in.

    Managers can achieve better growth when the personal and professional goals of their team members are well aligned. This is why managers must reserve time to discuss career opportunities with their team.

    Related Post: 4 Ways to Create the Best Workplace Culture for Women in Tech
  25. Help your team members improve their craft 

    High-impact managers frequently sharpen their arrows. To become one, be sure to regularly check in on the craft skills of your employees that help their profiles stand out from the crowd.

    Letting your subordinates take time to attend a conference, setting up team-wide coaching sessions, or scheduling personal development workshops is a great way to approach this. Great managers always prioritize up-skilling over outsourcing.

    Wish to read more about how you can improve yourself as a manager? Read this article about the micro habits of high-impact managers.

Bottom line

So, how can you be an effective manager? There’s no one-size-fits-all formula that catapults you from being an ordinary manager to an extraordinary one. But making small yet consistent tweaks to your managing style based on the suggestions shared above can help you build a stronger, faster, high-performing team. Remember, a manager is only as good as their team. And so, building a solid team is the first step to becoming a great manager. 

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What makes a really good manager?

To become a successful manager, you must be a good listener, set clear expectations for your team, and delegate tasks in a way that allows your team to grow. In addition, you must offer constructive criticism where necessary and consistently motivate your team to achieve organizational goals.

What are the 3 skills of a manager?

Technical skills, conceptual/theoretical skills, and interpersonal skills are the three main skills a manager must have. Technical skills improve productivity, theoretical skills improve understanding, and interpersonal skills improve communication.

What are the 5 management roles? 

The five management roles are planning, organizing, leading, controlling, and decision-making.

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Develop These 25 Habits to Become An Effective Manager
Article Name
Develop These 25 Habits to Become An Effective Manager
How to be an effective manager? 1. Don’t avoid debates. 2. Think big and trust your team to perform big. 3. Don’t hesitate to open up 4. Build connections


  • Kedar Kanekar

    Kedar is a skilled technical content writer and a social media marketer. He has worked with Apollo Hospitals, upGrad, Lumina Datamatics, and other companies.


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