Leadership & People Management

How do you become a good manager? Research indicates that managers only spend 3% of their time developing staff as against 25% on administrative work, citing time constraints as their biggest barrier to making the investment required.

How can you give the most to your team whilst working in such a pressurised environment? By putting into practice the following 5 principles, you can reshape your management style, free up your own time and foster a happier, more productive team.

Show empathy

If a high performer produces poor work, instead of jumping to conclusions find out why and go about addressing the problem. The conversation should acknowledge their usual strong contribution and that the dip in quality is out of character. Be hard on the work, not the person.

Appreciate the importance of family concerns and be as flexible as you can in finding a solution that works for everyone. Challenging personal circumstances impact on work. Acknowledging this and showing flexibility will improve productivity. In the case of a child or family member being sick, consider the possibility of your employee working from home.

Give clear direction

The clearer the direction you give to your team, the better the output. Instead of requesting a process review, consider explaining why you want it reviewed, what your concerns are, what factors need to be considered and when you need the work completed. Your expectations are more likely to be delivered, your team will work with greater focus and efficiency and are more likely to ask for clarification to stay on track.


When delegating, give clear parameters and timeframes and then trust your team to deliver. Don’t micro-manage. Set objectives and review periodically, getting involved if necessary to help problem solve.


Keep up-to-date with management literature. The list is endless but the following four are a good starting point for your journey:

The Effective Manager, Peter F. Drucker

The One Minute Manager, Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson

Don’t Bring it to Work, Sylvia Lafair

How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie

Time management

By being efficient with your time, actioning plans and moving ahead with pace, you’ll be leading by example. The best leaders run tight meetings which are well managed and rarely over run. Delegation is a key part of this. Effective delegation develops the skills of your team whilst helping you carve more time for planning and strategy.

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