Ask anyone who loves their job or the company they work for why that is, and they’ll probably tell you it’s because they love their boss and the working environment they have created. The person at the helm is who they look to for guidance, job security, company culture, and overall enjoyment.

That’s a lot of responsibility – and such an integral part of the success or failure of a business. Are you dealing with that responsibility in the best way?

Are you the best manager you can be?

Chances are you became a manager or business owner after years of being good at doing the doing. In creative and consulting agencies, the promotion from worker to manager often happens without formal training.

A designer gets good at what they do, they take on more work, they start subcontracting or hiring staff to help out … and next thing you know, they’re running an agency while figuring it all out as they go.

So here are our 7 simple things you can do right now to become a better manager.

1. Start being a leader

Regardless of what your business card says, think of yourself as a leader – not an owner or manager. You don’t own or manage your people. Your role is to lead by example, inspire, motivate, guide the business and the team towards your vision.

2. Be a communicator

The more you communicate and share information, the more your people will trust you. Remember that communication is a two-way street, so be prepared to listen and receive feedback, good and bad. And figure out which methods of communication work best – people all respond differently to emails, phone calls, memos, and meetings. Often a little extra effort is worth it to get this right. Especially if that means getting out from behind your desk and moving around to see how your team members are doing.

3. Figure out how to motivate people

Just as there are individual preferences around communication, there are also different challenges, incentives, and rewards that will motivate your team. What works for some may not work for all. Figure out how best to motivate and inspire people, and you’ll get greater engagement and commitment from them.

4. Stop stressing

We know, we know … it’s easier said than done. But take stock of what you worry about. Are you managing your time and prioritizing the important stuff? Are you delegating enough? Are you sweating the small stuff too much? (Have a look at another blog of ours on this topic.)

5. Focus on yourself too

It’s not just about building the team; it’s about building you too. So while you’re looking for ways to alleviate some of your stress, make sure you’re also exploring what motivates and inspires you. What, other than the money, keeps you going every day? How can you make sure running a business stays fun and rewarding for you too?

6. Celebrate successes

Don’t just focus on what needs fixing or improving. Make time to celebrate the wins – even the seemingly small ones. A bit of praise and recognition can go a long way. Celebrate every step that takes you in the right direction, and the hard miles will seem even easier.

7. Find a mentor

Find someone you can learn from and bounce ideas around with. If you’ve learned how to run a business with the ‘we’ll just figure it out as we go’ approach, then sitting through a business course is probably something you’re not going to make time for. Having a mentor, however, can help take your business to new levels.

Running a better business is about more than just the financial statements and the tools you use. Work on being a better manager and you’ll reap the benefits of happier staff and clients.

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