When you want your business to be as productive as possible, you need effective managers to guide the rest of your employees. Unfortunately, managers often get stuck in habits that lead to missed deadlines, poor communication, and lost time. However, by implementing a few good practices, any manager can become more effective and successful. Whether you’re a CEO trying to find ways to help your managers succeed or a manager who wants to grow this year, you should know the following five main habits of effective managers.
1. They Keep an Organized Filing and Tracking System
According to Cyril Peupion, people spend, on average, six weeks per year searching for information they already have. As a result, a manager who uses an effective filing system saves time and money. Besides keeping a manager on track and helping them avoid wasted time, an organized filing system assists with maintaining focused and productive team training sessions. Below are some tips for the most efficient filing system:
- Keep it simple and logical. Create subfolders and sort in a way consistent with the logical workflow when working on multiple projects.
- Avoid information overload by being selective and strict about the information you keep. Remember that:
- 85% of documents that are kept will never be read again.
- 15% of the worthwhile information really needed is hidden among the 85%.
- Label your files with a consistent naming convention.
2. They Are Proactive
Another key habit highly effective managers have is that they’re proactive. Whenever a manager opens an email, touches a hard document, or thinks of an idea, they need to decide what to do with it. However, the need to decide doesn’t mean you have to complete the task right at that moment. Instead, you just need to decide what you will do and when.
Being proactive is probably the most important principle regarding efficiency, as it separates the real doers and the procrastinators. As soon as you read an email or document, decide if it’s a task you can do now or reassign to someone else with a tracker of when you may need to follow up. If neither option works, schedule a time to come back to complete it.
3. They Prioritize AND Manage Their Time
If you’re a manager working on something important and one of your colleagues interrupts you, ask the person to explain what they want to talk about in 20 seconds. After they tell you, decide if what they want to focus on is worth stopping what you’re doing. If it’s not, you could, for example, set up a time with your colleague to take care of the task later.
- Rather than interrupt colleagues, or being interrupted by them, batch communications by setting up regular check-ins. For example, if you have an employee named David, create a document titled “Topic to be discussed with David.” Whenever you think of something to mention or discuss with David, simply write it down in this document, as long as it can wait till the next check-in. Ask your colleague to do the same.
- If you’re focused on a key activity for 2 hours, put the phone on silent and stop checking email. If you work in an open space environment, agree on a signal to let your colleagues know you don’t want to be interrupted (e.g., wear headphones, red flag on the computer, etc.). You can also book a room for yourself or, if it’s in the culture of your company, you can work one day per week from home.
- We have hundreds of thoughts going through our minds on any given day. To avoid feeling overwhelmed and stressed, just capture any important thoughts by writing them down on your “Work to-do list” or “Home to-do.” If required, create a reminder. By doing that, your subconscious will feel you’re in control and will not distract you again with overwhelming thoughts.
- Having a clean desk will have a huge impact on your concentration and productivity.
- Here’s an example that happens to most of us: You are working on an important project when suddenly you see a post-it on your computer that says something like “email John.” You realize you are supposed to email John but had completely forgotten. You either write the email immediately and break your concentration on your important project, or you decide to do it later but have it in the back of your mind. Just as you get back to your important project, you notice another document on the “to-do” pile. Keeping your workspace clean and clear will help prevent these distractions.
4. They Conduct Effective Meetings
Meetings should be started on time and kept on track with an agenda. If required, ask if someone wants to facilitate the meeting and ensure everyone stays on track. Some top practices for effective meetings that managers should keep in mind include:
- Important topics should be covered first before the secondary topics.
- During your meetings, make sure you note all the actions you are supposed to take.
- After your meetings, take five minutes to plan when you’ll take care of your actions. If you don’t have time to plan your listed actions, at least plan a “Debrief meeting” action later in the day.
- Be proactive in suggesting changes for regular meetings such as weekly team meetings or monthly committees. Don’t hesitate to suggest ideas to make the meeting more effective (duration, frequency, agenda, etc.).
5. They Leverage Their Resources
Many people tend to jump into a task without taking a couple of minutes to step back and identify what could be leveraged. Some questions to make sure you’re fully leveraging all the resources available to you include:
- Is there someone that could potentially help?
- Am I robbing someone of an opportunity to learn if I do not delegate this task?
- Is there a document already created? Templates are a manager’s best tool for quick, professional documents that do not require starting over.
Turn to Thinc Strategy for Business Development Consultations
Now that you know more about what it takes to be the most effective manager possible, it’s time to take your business to the next level with Thinc Strategy’s professional business services. Our team of business development consultants is ready to optimize your company’s performance, taking time to understand your business’s goals and current capabilities. Once we understand your needs, we can assist with feasibility studies, financial assessments, organizational performance, and leadership development.