Strategies to Help You Become a Better Manager

6 Minutes Read

Here are three (plus) strategies that every busy business owner can use to help you become a better manager of your people.

Owning and operating a small business already has you doing a million things every day without having to learn new strategies to help you become a better manager.

Wouldn’t it all be so much easier if you didn’t have to manage people on top of everything else? Wouldn’t it be nice if your employees could just manage themselves and be self-sufficient?

The truth is, they need your leadership, direction, motivation, and accountability. 

So, add that to you’re already lengthy to-do list. 

If you’re going to have to manage them, you might as well get better at it so the results give you a return on your energy.


Here are three (plus) strategies that every busy business owner can use to help you become a better manager of your people.



It’s going to be a lot harder to manage your people if they have no idea where the company is headed. Without a common strategic objective, your employees could be running in different directions and none of them would be wrong for doing it.

One of the best ways to define your objectives (and those of your employees) is to write a mission and vision statement. What makes them so powerful? They help you evaluate big-picture goals in terms of how they will impact the company as a whole. It also gives everyone in your organization a common direction and focus.

Write them if you haven’t done so, and revisit them if you haven’t in a while.

This can be done on an annual basis or even quarterly. Setting objectives and then revisiting them periodically allows you to readjust as necessary in order to meet company goals.

Your goals should be set in such a way that they support your business plan and help you achieve the vision of the company.



This is where you put away your manager hat for a moment and bring out the leadership hat.

Your company mission and vision statements work well with everyone because they can be expressed simply enough that employees who might not have any business background can understand what’s expected from them without needing an MBA.

Defining these two documents helps you set specific, measurable goals for each department. This in turn, makes management easier.

For example, there are going to be results that you will need out of your marketing department that ultimately contribute to moving the company closer to your mission and vision. Set these in writing and clearly communicate them to every member of your marketing department.

It also serves as a measuring stick by which you and your team members can measure progress toward achieving those goals.

Measuring sticks in business are typically referred to as key performance indicators or KPIsand we cover those next.



(KPIs) are metrics you establish that tell you whether an employee is on track, or if they need some help. This may be part of their job description and reviews, but it’s your responsibility to hold them accountable by helping get them back on the right path. This is a part of becoming a better manager.

For example, if one of your KPIs might be to provide coaching so all employees are better equipped at handling customer service issues. Then throughout the year it’s important that each employee receives this training regularly. 

Take Time to Set and Refine Your Objectives as a Manager

It’s just as important for managers to set and revise their own objectives so that they know where they are, where they’re going, and what role each individual plays in the company’s success. You don’t want your employees trying to run before they can walk without knowing what direction they’re heading in, do you?

Great people managers are the connective tissue that binds your organization’s leadership or ownership to the employee level. The manager is right there in the middle to translate everything between ownership and employees. It’s actually more responsibility than you might first give it credit for.

Think about it. Your managers (or you if you’re an active manager in your own company, as so many of our clients are) have to completely understand ownership’s mission, vision, strategic objectives, and values. 

Managers also have to personally relate to every employee under them on the org chart. Most likely, it will be management that communicates more with anyone on the front lines of your company than ownership does.


  1. What’s my plan for the next three to six months? How am I going to get it done?
  2. What do each of my employees bring to the table? If they were gone tomorrow, how would that impact me and my fellow managers?
  3. What are the primary challenges we face every day in our business that directly affect each employee under us on the org chart?

If you can take time at least once every quarter or even annually (you decide) and answer these questions from your own perspective as a leader, then you’ll likely have better insight into what kind of help your employees need and where improvements might be necessary. This is also great management.


This is the area where many business owners fail, often because they hate it. 

The (unnecessarily) dreaded performance review.

Many organizations use a performance appraisal system to measure employee progress (or lack thereof) toward achieving certain pre-established objectives. While an individual review may help you achieve your own goals as a manager, it won’t tell you everything you need to know about your team members’ accomplishments over time.

These meetings become infinitely easier and more efficient when you use written position agreements for each spot on your org chart.

Take time out for each person to go over their goals and how they’re doing in achieving those goals, set some personal objectives that may be unrelated to work, or discuss anything going on outside of work that might affect how they do their job.

Ask employees what they need in order to be more successful. Then look at the job description from their perspective and determine if anything needs to change in order for them to function better, or if you need to coach them on any particular skills.

The key to becoming a better manager is not just knowing your employees’ names–it’s taking the time to really get to know them on a more personal level so that you can manage them effectively. It can be a part of your company culture.



Being proactive doesn’t mean doing more busy work, it means eliminating waste in order to focus on your KPIs.

You’ll need to step back and look at your business from a higher level so that you can see the patterns of where time is being wasted and what areas of the business are taking up too much of your time. 

When we take some time out, think about why a certain business process is taking place as it does, or how it was set up in the first place, brainstorm improvements for the process, and ask for feedback from others outside of management, then we’ve taken a proactive step toward better managing our business.

Remember, knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.

Also, request time with organizational leadership (partners, board members, co-founders, etc.) on a regular basis in order to get their input into how your business is functioning on a higher level.

When you analyze existing processes and make changes to improve the way things are done in the workplace, then you’re successfully managing the business process part of management as well.


  • Processes should be documented (including who does what)
  • Become aware of any missing steps in each process that have been skipped over in order to save time or money  
  • Adjust current workflow accordingly  
  • Change your performance review system to take into account how employees work together toward meeting goals (and each employee’s personal objectives for their job)  
  • Become interested in whose responsibility is it to get tasks accomplished/done and this can help you plan out

The key is stepping back from the day-to-day tasks and focusing on productivity and the people that you manage.

Are there certain things you could delegate that would free up some of your time? Could you get someone else to handle those duties or ask them if they’d like it, as a project?

Business efficiency experts say this is an important part of being a better manager so don’t overlook it!


Be honest with your employees about what’s going on with their job.

It’s easier for employees to perform well when you make sure they know exactly what performance expectations are for their position. Give them the tools they need to do their job, and then get out of their way. No one likes or needs a micromanager.


Here are some suggestions for helping your employees grow as individuals in the workplace. They will most likely require you to learn more about individual development plans (IDPs), which is basically an outline of how each employee can expect to achieve their goals over the next year or so. This means that you will have conversations with people regularly in order to help them accomplish these goals and also give them feedback on their progress from time to time (say once a quarter).  

Try using IDP software like Talent Guard, it’s user-friendly and makes documenting each employee’s progress easy and fun!


Setting clear, well-defined objectives for the company and as a manager is an essential part of being successful.

You aren’t born as a natural manager, no one is. This means learning and getting better at this stuff takes practice.

If you’re having trouble setting your own goals or reviewing performance with your team members, let us know! Our experts can help you figure out how to set key performance indicators that are measurable so they show progress in achieving desired results.

You’ll also learn some tips on conducting performance reviews so you can hone your people skills and become more proactive when it comes to managing employees.

What other topics would be helpful to address?

Let’s continue the discussion in the comments below!


Picture of Joseph Hollak

Joseph Hollak

Joseph is the Founder of Build Success™ and actively coaches, consults, and trains business owners, founders, partners, and executives. He earned his Master of Science in Organization Development from The University of San Francisco and can be bribed to do almost anything with tacos.