Four professional individuals sitting around a conference table, while a fifth person stands and addresses the group.

How to Manage Employees

Employee management is the process of helping employees do their best possible work to achieve larger business goals. Managers may seem like a given in the modern workplace, but they remain essential to an organization’s success. 

Initially, this may seem like a lot of pressure if you’re new to the job or preparing to take on a management role. But, as with any other position, it just takes time to prepare and adjust to your new responsibilities. 

With some additional insight and knowledge, you’ll be well on your way to properly supporting your employees and helping your company reach its goals. Whether you’ve got a large global team or a small pool of local employees, here’s what you need to know to be an effective manager for your team and your organization:

  1. Identify Your Management Style

To be an effective leader for your employees, you first need to determine what kind of manager you are. Your management style will set the tone for your entire tenure, contributing to both your team’s successes and failures

Ranging from completely hands-on to mostly hands-off, there are many different kinds of management styles you can adopt. You don’t need to adhere to a single style — in fact, you can benefit from using multiple styles or changing your approach depending on the situation — but you should have an idea of what you value and want to practice as a manager.

  1. Be Open and Transparent

Honesty is always the best policy, especially when communicating with your employees. Share information about news and company updates freely and frequently. A Gallup poll discovered that open and consistent communication resulted in increased employee engagement. Further, there is a long-established connection between communication and performance outcomes in the workplace.

Of course, you can’t share everything, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Your employees need to know that you will keep information about them and their performance private. After all, if you share sensitive information about a team member with another employee, they may suspect that you will do the same to them. If someone asks a question or brings up a topic you can’t answer, simply let them know and move on.

  1. Tell Employees What You Expect From Them

Tell your employees exactly what you expect from them. Your employees will struggle to perform well when they don’t understand what they need to do.

Clearly define their role and the responsibilities that come along with it. This applies to everything, from the minute details of individual project deliverables to your employees’ attitudes and performance as a whole. 

Be direct and thorough when onboarding and training new employees, as well as when working with more tenured team members. Additionally, make sure your employees understand what you need from them. Encourage them to ask questions if they need help or something you said was unclear. 

  1. Use Technology to Your Advantage

As you get used to being a manager, the availability of new technologies is highly valuable for you and your team. From software solutions that help with employee scheduling and time off management to programs that automate rote tasks, there are now countless new kinds of technology that can benefit your team. Depending on the tools you use, you could even help boost productivity, enhance company communications, or create a more flexible work environment.

Additionally, don’t forget to provide employees with the tools they need to do their work. Look for new tools and solutions that could simplify their workflow or improve your team’s processes. Always ask your employees about areas they’re struggling with and seek out solutions to address those issues. You can also get their input on new tools or trends they’d like to try out.

  1. Make Work Fun

Do your best to make work more fun for your employees. Not only will your time at work be more enjoyable, but research indicates that happy employees are more productive than unhappy ones. This isn’t a magical cure for struggling employees, but it’s a simple way to shake up your work environment and build trust among your team.

Remember that fun shouldn’t come at the expense of work. You, your coworkers, and your employees are at work because you all have a job to do. Fun activities and conversations should ultimately supplement that work, not detract from it.

  1. Focus on Employee Development

Treat your team members as individuals. Every person you work with is unique, serves a different purpose at your organization, and needs specialized support to develop professionally. And if your employees have a chance to grow, they may be able to increase their productivity, stay more engaged with their work, and become a more valuable asset to your company.

Looking at the resources you have available, consider the best way to help each of your employees grow. This could take the form of one-on-one meetings with you or another member of your organization, seminars and webinars, shadowing other team members, or even self-guided teaching. With their input, try to develop a plan that excites your employee and allows them to learn without negatively impacting their other responsibilities. 

  1. Listen Actively

Active listening is the practice of really listening to what your employees are saying, and it’s an essential management skill that you need to master. You need to hear what your employees have to say and your employees need to feel heard when they’re talking to you. 

Asking questions and soliciting feedback from your employees is, arguably, even more important. They have valuable insight and opinions to share regarding their jobs and the company. You should also stay open to feedback about your performance as their manager, asking for areas you can improve in or things you can do differently to better support them.

Cultivate an open dialogue with your employees. This will allow both of you to open up to each other, brainstorm, address any problems, work to come to a solution, and develop a relationship.

  1. Balance Critique and Praise

Your employees need to know how they’re doing, so give them feedback regularly. 

However, do your best to find the right balance between critical and positive feedback. Your employee will benefit from hearing about some of their missteps and areas for growth, but this type of feedback shouldn’t be so frequent that it’s demoralizing or disheartening. Be sure to explain why and how they can improve so your feedback is constructive and actionable.

Don’t forget to celebrate your employees’ victories. Tell them when they’ve done a good job, focusing on what they did well and positive outcomes associated with their performance. Loop the rest of the team or company in so everyone can enjoy this success together. 

  1. Be a Role Model

As a leader, your employees will look to you. Set a good example for them. Model the behaviors and qualities you would like to see in your employees. If you focus on bringing positivity and enthusiasm to your job, your employees will be motivated to do the same.

You may be a leader, but you’re also human. There will be times when you make mistakes, like showing your stress or responding inappropriately to a situation. Your employees will likely understand that this is a small slip-up on your part, especially if you’re professional and calm otherwise.

  1. Be Consistent

Do your best to be a consistent, steady manager. Treat every employee and situation equally, giving out the same rewards and corrections for the same types of behavior. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t experiment, try new things, or change your management style as you, your team, and your company grow. Rather, you should incorporate new ideas and strive to apply the same standards to each member of your team. Doing so will help your employees succeed, as well as allow you to flourish as a manager.