Five Tips For Effective Management Success - Scott Livengood

Five Tips For Effective Management Success

Article Published by: forbes.com

The question of “how to succeed in management” has a million different answers, but only a few fundamentals. The five tips below provide a look at some of those fundamentals. As you’ll see, some of these are personal qualities that must be cultivated over time, while others involve more practical skills and disciplines. All can deliver practical results and help you succeed in your management adventure.

1. Learn as Much as You Can About the Processes You Oversee
If you have found your way into a management position — whether as a first-time leader or a seasoned veteran — it’s because you have a mind of practical knowledge, as well as sound leadership. But do you know as much about the processes you oversee as you should?

A subject matter expert is somebody who has a “bona fide expert knowledge” about a specific task or function. As a manager, you won’t be an SME on everything, but you definitely can learn everything you can.

You probably have resources at your disposal that can help you engage in ongoing learning. Effective leaders shouldn’t have to punt all of the technical questions, and the teams that report to them should know they have a sympathetic ear when it comes to process improvements.

2. Find a Leadership Mentor
It’s possible your organization offers supplemental leadership training or has a library of relevant courses and texts available. You should take advantage of resources like these. You should also go one step further by finding and befriending a leader, from your company or your community, whose approach and temperament you admire.

Mentorships and even “apprenticeships” can be as formal or as informal as both parties want. The point is to engage in a casual and instructive inter-generational exchange of information. As demographics in every workplace begin to shift, mentorships can also help ensure smooth transitions, plus leadership and knowledge continuity.

3. Remember What a Leader’s Role Is
Before you assumed a position of leadership at your organization, your role was that of “doer.” Now, you’re a “leader.” So, what has to change once you find yourself leading a team?

It starts with remembering that your team’s success is your success. Your role as a team leader is to make sure the people who report to you can do the best work possible.

This means listening to and learning from what they have to say about company processes and their role within their respective departments. As a leader, your team’s triumphs and their mistakes are yours now, too — so make sure your people are set up for success and know they can bring ideas and recommendations to you at any time.

4. Realize Being Liked Is a Secondary Objective
Don’t read this one the wrong way. There is no reason not to engage others with respect and kindness — and it’s a poor leader who lets their position go to their heads. Great leaders shouldn’t be feared, but they don’t need to be liked, either. At least, they don’t need to be liked by “everybody.”

Some friction can come with the territory, which means you need to meditate on the best way to diffuse it. You might find yourself with members of your team who test the boundaries because you value being everybody’s buddy over getting results. If your company promoted you from within the ranks, it’s possible you’ll have to work with individuals who resent your new position.

If any of these situations apply to you, it’s wise to address them openly and honestly. No law of the universe says leaders cannot also be friends with the people they lead. However, your success as a leader also rests on your ability to separate personal from professional feelings, and on your willingness to have frank conversations with your co-workers if your working relationship has changed because of a promotion.

5. Provide Timelier Feedback
As we mentioned above, the role of a leader is to create values, and a workplace in which to exercise those values, where employees can reach their goals and exceed expectations. If you want a practical way to do this, a great place to start is addressing how — and how often — you give feedback to your team members.

The younger generations are leading a push for more regular feedback mechanisms at work, in a departure from the once-per-year employee review model. Research seems to indicate this is good for the company, too, in many ways:

  • Up to 15 percent lower employee turnover in companies that give ongoing feedback
  • Engaging in feedback-related dialogue more often can help uncover improvement opportunities for the company as a whole and promote more creative thinking on the employee level
  • Employees see exchanges of feedback as an expression of trust and a source of motivation — this means it’s great for morale

You’ve probably noticed most entries on our list focus pretty heavily on communication. There’s a lesson there, too — that the best managers in the world must also be some of the best communicators. Succeeding as a manager means engaging with others openly, fairly and always with integrity, as well as knowing what it takes to set others up for success.


About Scott Livengood

Scott Livengood is the owner and CEO of Dewey’s Bakery, Inc., a commercial wholesale bakery with a respected national brand of ultra premium cookies and crackers.

Previously, Scott worked at Krispy Kreme Doughnuts for 27 years, starting as a trainee in 1977. He was appointed President of the company in 1992, then CEO and Chairman of the Board.

Scott has served on numerous boards including the Carter Center, the Calloway School of Business and the Babcock School of Management, Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County, and the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce.

He started a new business, StoryWork International, in 2016 with Richard Stone. The signature achievement to date is LivingStories, a story-based program for improved patient experiences and outcomes in partnership with Novant Health.