21 Powerful Lessons from Harvard Business Review on Becoming a Successful Manager

Being a good manager is important but being a successful manager is equally so. If you are a manager or have recently become one, there are certain details you must pay attention to. No one can tell you how to become a successful manager better than Harvard Business Review. We have collected 21 of their most powerful lessons on becoming a successful manager. These lessons ranges from daily actions to long-term goals and philosophies. We hope these are of use to you and help you on your path of becoming a successful manager.

1) Create a leadership philosophy: Every manager must have a leadership philosophy they follow. Use this philosophy to guide your actions as a manager. Determine what you want out of this role.

2) Communicate Clearly: Clear Communication is a vital part of being a successful manager. The people working for you must know exactly what you want from them and at no point should they be left guessing.

3) Lead By Example: The best, most successful managers lead by example. This helps you gain the respect of their employees and encourages them to work in a manner similar to their managers. If a manager is lazy or reluctant to do certain work, he or she will never be successful.

4) Make your priorities clear: Your employees should know your priorities and the kind of work you expect from them. This plays a large role in setting expectations and allows employees to work according to your satisfaction.

5) Set Standards: The people who work for you must know that their work must meet your standards and what your standards actually are. This is why you must set common standards for all your employees.

6) Set Clear Goals: You must have clear goals for yourself, your employees and your work. Without setting goals, your work will be meaningless, as it will lead nowhere. The people in your team must also know your goals.

7) Build Confidence and Trust: Your team must be able to trust you and each other in order to function effectively. They must have confidence in your decisions and the work they are doing. As a manager, it is your responsibility to actively build trust.

8) Focus on your team’s strengths: Every successful manager knows his or her team’s strengths and weaknesses and how to leverage these effectively. Successful managers also help their teams grow in areas they lack.

9) Build a Network: You must also build an effective network for yourself and for your team. Network building allows space for leverage and can pose serious advantages professionally.

10) Allow space for vulnerability: Your team must be able to approach you in vulnerable moments and vice versa. As their manager, you can help them compose themselves as well as give advice and support if needed.

11) Do Team Building: You must do everything you can to ensure that your team functions effectively and flawlessly. As this is not inherent, you have to actively participate in team building.

12) Manage Yourself Effectively: You can often be your own greatest obstacle. If you don’t know how to manage yourself, you will find it very difficult to manage others. Figure out your strengths and areas of development and work actively towards improving the latter.

13) Demonstrate Character: Your people must know that you have their best interests at heart and that you always intend to do what is right. While you may stumble or make the wrong decision occasionally, your subordinates must be aware that it was a genuine mistake and not an attempt to make their lives miserable.

14) Emulate Competence: It is very difficult to get your subordinates to do anything if they lack respect for your abilities or believe that you are incompetent. By being competent, you take away the opportunity of anyone accusing you of doing a terrible job.

15) Show influence: Your influence comes from your competence and your ability to submit a project well done. It helps in setting high standards for your team. This also plays directly into the point about building a network.

16) Don’t misuse your position: This is the quickest way of losing the respect and the support of employees. Misusing your position in any manner also allows your subordinates to do the same. It can also cause them to harbor unrealistic expectations of you.

17) Challenge Yourself: You must jump at opportunities that involve projects far more complex than you have previously participated in. This also directly affects the growth and skill development of your team.

18) Be a Leader: Being a manager is not just another position, it is a leadership role. Ensure that your actions and your decisions are such that your subordinates actively look to you for guidance and for help.

19) Interdependency: Don’t be a one-person army or encourage any sort of rivalry. Instead, you should encourage interdependency through teamwork and equitable division of work. As we have mentioned earlier, trust and team building are vital and both of them can be built through building interdependency.

20) Make Changes: If something is stopping from allowing your team to perform its best, don’t hesitate to make changes. Especially if your team trusts you, it won’t lead to any problems and help your team function better.

21) Listen to your subordinates: Communication is a two way street. If you want and expect your subordinates to you, you must be prepared to listen to them. Rather than shutting down any disagreements or ideas, give their opinions the respect they deserve. It doesn’t matter if you agree or disagree with, that’s another issue entirely, but just knowing that they’ve been heard out creates a sense of mutual respect.

We hope that these powerful lessons from Harvard Business Review have helped and provided you with insight into how to become a successful manager.

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