Highly Effective Leaders Say These 25 Habits Help Them Manage People Well

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AnnaMarie Houlis
AnnaMarie Houlis4.87k
Journalist & travel blogger

Knowing how to manage people doesn't necessarily come naturally to everyone. For some people, management skills are innate. But, for others, managing people takes practice. Whether you're a natural-born people leader or you require more hands-on experience, however, there's always room for improvement. And where better to find advice than from successful leaders?

25 tips on how to effectively manage people, from successful leaders

Take it from the leaders who've been successful already. Here are 25 tips to effectively manage the people on your team.

1. Don't keep things from your employees.

"Your team can tell if you're hiding something. It makes them uncertain or suspicious, both of which you don't want. Lay out the rules of the game as you see them with your team. Let the team know where they are; work on a plan to go forward. Keep individuals up to date on their status as it relates to the group. All this forces you to have and share your vision, which is what makes you a great leader in the first place." — Tony Scherba, president and founder of Yeti, via Inc
Honesty is always the best policy! Keep a line of open communication, and make sure that it actually flows both ways.

2. Remember why you're there.

"My best leadership tip is to think of leadership as a responsibility as much as an opportunity. Effective leaders understand that they are responsible for everyone that they are leading, and consider that responsibility as the main concern of their position. If you ever lose empathy for, and dedication to, the people you are leading, you are not being a leader." — Michael Talve, founder and managing director of The Expert Institute, via Inc
Remember that you are in your role to lead your team — that is your job. This means taking into consideration every single person on your team, including their individual goals, strengths, and challenges.

3. Have some character to you.

"Leaders with character are highly effective. They have no need to pull rank or resort to command and control to get results. Instead, they're effective because they're knowledgeable, admired, trusted, and respected. This helps them secure buy-in automatically, without requiring egregious rules or strong oversight designed to force compliance." — Frank Sonnenberg, author of the book Follow Your Conscience, via Inc
It's important to have a little passion. After all, your job is partially boiled down to inciting excitement and motivation  in your team members.

4. Get to know your employees.

"At the very least, you should know your employees first names. This is irrespective of the size of your company. You should also know about their personal interests outside of the workplace. Getting to know your employees is important because this gives you a better insight about how they perform their job. Additionally, showing an appropriate level of interest also helps to make your employees feel valued." — via Deputy

5. Surround yourself with inspiring people.

"Leaders find success when they create teams composed of people who are experts in their areas, and many times, smarter than the leader who's hiring them. Great leaders give them room to grow and innovate. These are the leaders who people want to work for. Unlike the micromanager leader whose insecurity leads them to create teams that include people 'just like them.' These teams may make the leader feel comfortable, versus challenged for the purposes of creating the best work." — Tatiana Lyons, principal and owner of Your Creativity Leads, via Inc
As a leader, it's your job to ensure that your team is made up of the best possible people for every job needed — and it's your job to support them in their roles. Don't just hire people who seem like you. Hire people who challenge you, who inspire you, who will bring more and diverse ideas to the table.

6. Offer regular feedback.

"Most of your employees will be keen to know about their performance, including areas that require improvement. Make yourself available to provide feedback after a piece of work has been completed. You should identify areas of growth and provide training and development to fill any gaps in knowledge." — via Deputy

7. Publicly recognize good work.

"When a member of your team does something exceptional, reward him/her — with a bonus, a small trophy or even just a vocal recognition. Do this in front of the group; it will make the intended recipient feel good and show the rest of the team that hard work is rewarded. The only caveat goes back to rule one: Be consistent in your rewards so you won't be seen as playing favorites."  — via Entrepreneur

8. Treat your team members like human beings.

"Getting to know your employees will give you the opportunity to treat them as individuals. Your employees’ unique strengths, preferences and developmental areas should dictate the approach you adopt. Effectively managing people means that you concentrate on individual employees and tailor your approach to meet their needs." — via Deputy 

9. Create a shared vision.

"Be as transparent as you can with all of your team members. The more they know, the more you all are part of the same dream and vision and you'll all work harder to get where you need to go as a team. If you're keeping information from your team members, they'll lose trust and start to feel like they're not contributing to the bigger picture. That's when they look elsewhere." — John Hingley, co-founder of startup Dasheroo, via Inc
A shared vision is critical to the success of the team. Every individual on your team should be worked toward the same common goals.

10. Celebrate wins.

"It is recommended that you celebrate with your employees when they have over-delivered on a task or have exceeded their targets. Celebrating wins show that you appreciate your team. This approach will be beneficial to your company, since employee appreciation has a host of advantages, including lower employee turnover rates and higher productivity." — via Deputy

11. Stay curious.

"When we are curious with others, we learn, we collaboration, and we innovate. When leaders aren't curious, they tend to judge, tell, blame, and even shame without realizing it. This creates conflict, frustration, narrows perspectives and opportunities, and prohibits collaboration, innovation, and understanding. Based on our 10 years working with leaders, we know that they know they need a new language to be successful; however, they don't know how to access it. Curiosity allows you to access that language to meet the leadership needs of the 21st century." — Kirsten Siggins, co-founder of Institute of Curiosity and a certified executive coach, via Inc
Being curious is a good thing! Ask questions. Engage. Listen. All of these things will help you better manage your people.

12. Practice empathy.

"It can be difficult to see things through your employees’ perspective, especially if they are displaying challenging behavior. There could be a number of issues affecting the way that an employee is now approaching their work. It is likely that the employee is experiencing issues outside of work. Employees may also be displaying negative attitudes towards you, based on a type of behavior that you are displaying. An effective manager will put themselves in their employees’ shoes and listen to their concerns." — via Deputy

13. Be consistent.

"This is the first rule because it applies to most of the others. Before your management approach can be effective, it must be consistent. You must reward the same behaviors every time they appear, discourage the same behaviors when they appear and treat every member of your team with an equal, level-headed view." — via Entrepreneur

14. Be a clear communicator.

"Know what your future looks like, feels like, and acts like. It has to be a compelling vision that gets your people excited and focused. Latch onto that picture as though it has already happened. Transport yourself into the future so you can see it with picture clarity. Share it with your team so they can see it and do what it takes to achieve it." — Brian Scudamore, the founder and CEO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, WOW 1 DAY PAINTING and You Move Me, via Inc
Know what you want out of the people you are leading, and make sure that they know, too. Create a picture of the future toward which you're all striving, and clearly communicate it with your team. It's vital that you're all on the same page.

15. Delegate.

"When you ask a team member or colleague to help you with something you are empowering them. This allows you to free up your time on other, more pressing matters meanwhile, allows the other party to feel a sense of satisfaction and empowerment."  — Sarah and Tony Zolecki

16. Have some fun!

"Your team, customers and even prospects love a good time. Avoid being serious all the time. Sharing a good belly laugh never hurt anyone!" — Sarah and Tony Zolecki

17. Be adaptive.

"People come with all sorts of learning styles, right? Be mindful of how you communicate with one person may not benefit another. An individualized approach when it comes to interactions with others is key. Some of the best leaders are also viewed as chameleons." — Sarah and Tony Zolecki

18. Remember that it's not about you.

"Repeat the words, 'It's not about me!' every day, multiple times a day. Don't make your leadership about being in charge, being right, getting promoted, or looking the best. Make leadership about the cause of the organization, serving the legitimate needs of those you're leading, and not taking yourself so darn seriously. You'll have people lining up to work for and with you and the results will follow." — Jeff Harmon, author of The Anatomy of the Principled Leader and founder of Brilliance Within Coaching and Consulting, via Inc
Just because you're the leader doesn't mean that you're always right or that it's ever about you. Listen to your team. Your job is to make the best decisions on behalf of the group (i.e. not on your own personal behalf).

19. Understand your employees' purposes.

"To communicate with employees and empathize with them, you have to understand what draws them to their role and what joy they derive from their work; i.e., their purpose. Purpose is a huge part of what keeps people satisfied at work and what drives them to succeed and push themselves professionally. Knowing why an employee feels connected to their role and why they're inspired to be an individual contributor to the business through it helps you as a manager understand how to help them succeed in a way that also benefits the company."  — via Lattice

20. Prioritize problems.

"Employees are going to have problems and you are going to have to help solve them. But not all problems are created equal. The root causes of workplace problems often fall into two categories: personal and organizational. They may manifest the same way when talking to one or a few employees, but understanding the difference will save you from a disproportionate response. Treating an organizational problem like a personal one is like putting a bandaid on a broken window. Similarly, treating a personal problem like an organizational one is like remodeling your kitchen to become a better cook." — via Lattice

21. Focus, focus, focus.

"Are you familiar with the 80:20 Rule? Focus the bulk of your time on 20% of those you are leading and, projects that will generate 80% of your results. These 20% of people will be easy to identify. They are more than likely ones that you see many leadership qualities in already — help them level up." — Sarah and Tony Zolecki

22. Be aware of your body language.

"Your posture and body language needs to be intentional and consistent. Always be aware of your posture when you are sitting, standing and walking. Roll shoulders up, back, and down. Straighten your spine; leaders don't slouch. Nor do they intimidate with off-putting body language such as crossed arms, puffed out chest and finger waving. Align your appearance, head-to-toe, with how you wish to be known. Aligning your appearance also means dressing the part head-to-toe. This includes wardrobe, haircut, eyeglasses and even shoes. Leaders look the part — not like they just rolled out of bed. A pressed dress shirt or wool sweater, well-fitting trousers, leather shoes and belt is a good uniform to adopt. A tie and/or sport jacket give extra bonus points for executive presence. Update your eyeglasses every other year and get a good haircut. Dress, head-to-toe, as the leader you want to be." — Marian Rothschild, a certified personal image consultant and best-selling author, via Inc
How you carry yourself says a lot about you. It'll also affect how others perceive you. So talk and walk with conviction.

23. Say thank you.

"People will always remember how you make them feel. And, feeling appreciated is one one of the best management tips for great leaders. Simple things like a thank-you note or a friendly phone call — go a long way." — Sarah and Tony Zolecki

24. Ask your employees if they have anything to share.

"Whether it's a quarterly performance review or prep for a client meeting, you should always end every important conversation with, 'Is there anything else?'" — according to David Hauser, founder of Grasshopper, in his 2017 SaaSFest talk via Lattice

25. Regularly check in.

"Meeting once a week is ideal, but even biweekly meetings will help. Running a 1:1 doesn't have to be complicated, either — especially when things are smooth sailing, they can be a place to check in on goals and get to know your employees. And you'll be more likely to put out fires before they threaten to engulf a project or client relationship, too." — via Lattice


AnnaMarie Houlis is a multimedia journalist and an adventure aficionado with a keen cultural curiosity and an affinity for solo travel. She's an editor by day and a travel blogger at HerReport.org by night.