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How to Become a Better Manager

By: Dave Howell - Updated: 10 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Small Business Manager Owner/managers

Managing a small business requires that you become a jack-of-all-trades as owner/managers today need a myriad of skills to keep their businesses operating profitably. Some of the key skills that all managers need to develop are listed below. If you can make improvements in these areas you will become a much better manager.

Hiring and Firing

The latest research indicates that the average cost of hiring a new member of staff could be as high as £8,000. Additional research has also stated that over 70% of interviewers had poor technique that could lead to inappropriate people being hired. Also, testing has seen a marked increase within small businesses over the last few years as they attempt to speed up the recruitment process.

From an owner/managers point of view it is important to realise that the people that you hire are one of your business's most precious assets. It's very easy to simply blanket test all of your applicants with tests that can be bought cheaply off the Internet, but it's imperative that you place these results into context. Also of crucial importance are the interviews you hold. Brushing up on your own interview technique can clearly deliver results, as you're more likely to hire the right person for your vacancy.

Flexible Working

It is predicted that by 2010 an estimated 50 million employees across Europe will work remotely for a percentage of their week. With technology now available that even the smallest business can take advantage of, flexible working could help you improve the management of your business. Flexible working can offer your business:
  • Cost savings. You staff can work from home, or on the road for part of their working week.
  • Better morale. With new flexible working legislation, offering additional flexibility will show that you as a manager understand your staff's needs.
  • Improved productivity. Research has consistently shown that flexible working increases output.
  • Better management. Business leaders are now using flexible working as a management tool. They can better forward plan and manage their business's assets with a more flexible workforce.
  • Better customer relations. Flexible working has shown that managers can improve their customer service as they can optimise their staff to provide a much better services for their end customers.

Incentives and Rewards

As a manager it's important that you realise that the moral of your workforce is very important. When employees are asked about what is most important to them about their jobs, the financial rewards are low on their list of priorities. It's imperative that you realise that being a good manager means understanding what motivates your staff and rewarding their successes. One easy way to reward your staff is to use voucher schemes such as iD-points, Virgin incentive and Red Letter Days. These schemes can be cost effective to set up, but offer you as a manager a way of rewarding success.

Train to Gain

The knowledge that is locked away in the heads of your employees is an asset that you can't take for granted. Skills need updating and it's your job as a manager to realise this and ensure your staff have the skills they need to perform their duties. Research would suggest that over 1 million people go to work each day without the skills they need to perform their job efficiently. Training opportunities you can explore include:
  • Train to Gain
  • Apprenticeships
  • Retail Training

You can also contact Learn Direct who has over 800 courses on offer that cover a wide range of subjects you can use to improve the knowledge base of your employees. You can also read more about training and skills on the Learning and Skills Council [www.lsc.gov.uk] website. But don't forget training for yourself as well. Your management skills also need updating, so why not take a course or two?

Work/life Balance

As a manager you have to ensure you have enough time away from your business, as downtime is an important component of professional management. It is difficult for all small business owners to switch off when they are away from their enterprises, but being a better manager is realising when you need to break. Try and schedule regular time away from your business as in the long-term you'll find that your management skills improve.

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