Today’s managers are facing challenges that wouldn’t be possible 10 years ago. Managing remote employees, balancing workplace flexibility and productivity, dealing with burnout and leading through constant change — all of these became common management practices over the last few years.
Traditional command-and-control management styles are no longer effective, and managers need to shift their focus toward building trust, empowering teams and fostering collaboration.
To help you become a better leader, we’ve hand-picked 15 best management practices for you to adopt.
1. Choose a management style
A management style defines how you position yourself in the workplace, communicate with the team and organize the work.
Sticking to one management style will help you remain consistent in your communication with the team and create a stable and predictable work environment.
If you haven’t chosen a specific style yet, you can do it now:
- Authoritative — an authoritative manager makes decisions independently and communicates them clearly to the team.
- Consultative — a consultative manager seeks input from team members before making decisions.
- Democratic — a democratic manager encourages team members to participate in decision-making and values their input.
- Laissez-faire — a laissez-faire manager provides minimal guidance to team members and allows them to make decisions and solve problems on their own.
- Persuasive — a persuasive manager uses their communication skills to influence team members and encourage them to support their ideas.
- Transformational — a transformational manager inspires and motivates team members to reach their full potential.
- Transactional — a transactional manager focuses on goals, objectives and performance metrics.
- Collaborative — a collaborative manager fosters teamwork and cooperation among team members.
Consider your objectives and your personality type when making a choice. You can also blend several styles to develop a unique management style.
2. Leave micromanagement behind
Delegation is a critical management skill. By distributing tasks and responsibilities to team members, you’ll free up time and mental space to focus on more strategic or high-priority initiatives.
Too many managers seem to be afraid to delegate and fall into the trap of micromanagement. If that relates to you, try the following practices:
- Start by hiring people that fully meet your requirements.
- Improve employee training to boost your confidence in your team members’ skills.
- Document internal processes and standard operating procedures to provide employees with on-demand support. Scribe will help you document any digital process automatically.
- Clearly communicate your expectations when delegating tasks.
- Step back and let your employees do the work unless they ask you to get involved.
- Set regular check-ins or progress reports to ensure that the project is on track.
- Acknowledge successes.
… and most importantly, trust your team.
3. Be a transparent manager
Today’s employees expect their managers to be honest. To build trust and foster fair treatment, your should openly share your feedback with employees, ensure easy access to information and provide transparency in the decision-making process.
One of the most recent trends in business management is pay transparency. The practice involves providing information about how you determine salaries in your team or organization, what factors your take into account and how employees achieve higher pay. You should consider implementing pay transparency to express your commitment to fairness in the compensation process and promote equity in the workplace.
4. Use management and productivity tools
To effectively manage your workload, you need to add management and productivity tools to your tech stack.
There is a wide range of tools available, from project management software to communication tools, time-tracking apps and document management systems. Here are some examples of software that makes managers’ lives easier:
- Asana or Trello for project management.
- Scribe and Scribe Pages for process documentation.
- Slack or Microsoft Teams for team communication.
- Clockify or Toggl for time tracking and productivity monitoring.
- Google Drive or Dropbox for document management and collaboration.
These tools will help you streamline your work processes, reduce miscommunications and set your team up for better results.
5. Document everything
Thirty-eight percent of employees agree they’re at risk of potential burnout because of inefficient work processes. It’s your task as a manager to organize internal processes and give your team all they need to work effectively. One of the ways to do so is by developing consistent documentation.
You can use Scribe to generate guides for your team in seconds. The tool will automatically capture any processes you’re going through and deliver guides complete with screenshots and captions. You can customize your resulting guides by adding or removing content, combining them in Pages and sharing them with your team in one click.
You can use this Page template to create detailed work instructions for your team:
6. Promote a positive work culture
Aside from implementing productivity best practices, you need to work on building a healthy work culture. Here’s what it involves:
- Aligning your actions with your company’s core values.
- Creating a sense of purpose for your employees.
- Running events to foster your company’s culture adoption.
- Noticing and preventing toxic behaviors.
- Promoting inclusivity and diversity.
- Being empathetic toward your employees.
By doing so, you’ll build a positive work environment that cultivates collaboration, productivity and satisfaction among employees.
7. Stay connected to your team
It may feel intuitive for you as a manager to create distance between you and your team. But to build a truly collaborative work environment, you need to be a part of that environment.
Be accessible to your employees via various communication channels, such as instant messaging, video calls and emails. Add time slots to your calendar that your team members can book for one-on-one meetings or unplanned team standups.
Also, it’s common for team managers to neglect team-building activities. A good leader should actively seek out and facilitate social events to foster a positive team culture.
8. Build trust & psychological safety
A toxic work environment is 10 times more likely to drive attrition than poor compensation. You can reduce employee churn by building a psychologically safe workplace. But how?
Psychological safety is a shared feeling among team members that they can be open and honest in a group setting. You can foster this feeling by:
- Promoting diversity, equity and inclusion.
- Recognizing employees’ achievements, both informally and financially.
- Responding positively to employees’ questions and doubts.
- Forgiving mistakes.
- Admitting your own mistakes openly.
In other words, you need to create an environment where mistakes are viewed as learning opportunities, rather than sources of blame or shame.
9. Involve your team in decision-making
One of the features of a psychologically safe company culture is having employees involved in decision-making.
When employees participate in the decision-making process, they feel respected and trusted, and vice versa. Only when people know their opinions are heard and valued, they’re eager to share their input with you.
Make decision-making a team sport. Encourage employees to share ideas and opinions freely during team meetings and listen actively. This way, it’s also easier to navigate through change as a team — people will be more motivated to overcome challenges associated with the change when they take responsibility for the decision.
10. Lead by example
Your team looks to you for guidance. Be an inspiration to your team. Be a role model for them. If you want your team to be punctual, you should be punctual. If you want your team to be respectful and courteous, you should model those behaviors.
There are the basics of leading by example for managers:
- Get involved when they need it.
- Work alongside your team.
- Live the values of your company culture.
- Respect the chain of command.
- Treat people around you with respect and trust.
- Attend workshops and training programs.
11. Apply active listening
Active listening is a critical skill for every successful manager. It involves not just hearing what your employees are saying, but actively engaging with them and seeking to understand their perspective.
Make eye contact, ask questions to clarify your understanding and avoid interrupting or multitasking while someone is talking to you.
12. Provide constructive feedback
Feedback is essential for growth and development. Most companies run performance reviews every year, but that’s not what today’s employees want. Ninety-two percent of employees say they prefer to receive feedback more often than once a year during an annual performance review.
Ideally, you should be able to provide constructive feedback to your team members every month. Focus on specific behaviors or actions, rather than personal traits or characteristics.
When providing feedback, stick to these best practices:
- Always start and close your feedback with positive comments.
- Explain what needs to be improved.
- Provide recommendations on how an employee could achieve desired results.
- Maintain a two-way conversation. Listen to what an employee replies to you.
13. Prioritize employee well-being
Employee well-being has become the hottest trend in management since the pandemic outbreak. People want their employers to provide them with opportunities for maintaining their mental and physical health more than ever. As a result, 91 percent of employers are already investing more resources in this area.
As a manager, you should develop initiatives for supporting the physical and emotional well-being of your team. These may include:
- Flexible work arrangements. Let your employees adjust their work schedules to feel less stressed.
- Resources for mental health support. Make it easy for employees to access mental health resources such as counseling services or support groups.
- Breaks and time off. Remind employees to take breaks throughout the day and use their vacation time.
- Positive work culture. Promote positivity and inclusivity in the workplace.
- Employee wellness program. Offer gym memberships, consultations with mental health experts or other wellness perks as a part of your benefits program.
14. Offer growth opportunities
Seventy-three percent of employees say it’s critical for them to understand their career opportunities inside their organization. Managers need to make it clear how employees can advance their careers. To achieve it, you need to:
- Ask your employees what growth means to them.
- Foster a sense of team collaboration and cohesion.
- Communicate openly about internal opportunities for growth and progression.
- Provide on-demand training manuals.
- Involve your employees in development programs.
It’s a great idea to create an individualized career map for each team member and go through it in your one-on-one meetings. To speed up employee development, you may also offer stretch assignments — projects or tasks that are currently beyond an individual’s skills.
15. Stay flexible
Remote work and technology innovation create challenges leaders weren’t facing a few years ago. You need to become a more flexible manager to thrive in a constantly changing work environment.
Flexible leadership means being adaptable to changing circumstances, open to new ideas and perspectives and willing to adjust to meet the needs of your team. It’s all about your attitude.
Document your management practices with Scribe
Each of these best practices carries a solid strategy behind it. For instance, to provide clear career opportunities to your team members, you need to develop career maps, develop training resources and establish a performance tracking system. And to stay consistent, you’ll need to document each step.
Scribe will make it easy for you to adopt and follow best management practices. Just turn it on and follow the process you need to document. When you finish, you’ll get a step-by-step process, complete with screenshots and captions. Sign up for free to start capturing and sharing your team's best management practices today.