10 good resolutions to be a better manager

91% of us make good resolutions at the end of the year, but 85% of us don't keep them... because they are too difficult or not well defined! So, in order to try to stick to them as much as possible, it might be better to talk about new habits to adopt, objectives to update, a new roadmap to put in place: this is undoubtedly more concrete and consistent with reality.

In any case, the month of January is a good time to take a step back. So, before choosing your good resolutions, you should start by reviewing the past year. Take a look back at your best moments of the year, the challenges you faced, the highlights. What did you miss? What helped you? Where did you fail? Why did you fail? What did you get out of the experience? What was difficult? What did you test that worked well? What skills did you learn?

Here are the 10 resolutions we want to highlight for the coming year to help managers become better leaders and support their teams.

1- Make meetings great again. Mastering the art of the running meeting is a must. Especially with the rise of teleworking, it is important to know how to drive a meeting, to control its timing and to ensure it is useful, because in front of a screen, we are less patient and less focused. Knowing that employees spend 4 years of their life in meetings, and managers almost 10 years (OpinionWay study of 2017), the objective in 2022 is to eliminate all time-consuming, unnecessary or unproductive meetings.

According to Louis Vareille, reunification specialist and author of “Stop meetings mania”, meetings are essential because they help maintain the link and engage people. There are just a few points to bear in mind:

  • A meeting must be planned and organised. The organiser must be able to answer the question "What do you want from me?", which each participant might ask. The objective of the meeting must therefore be clear to the organiser: what should the meeting produce? Ideas, a decision, a commitment? The agenda, sent to each participant, must state clearly the expected result in a concrete way and make each guest want to come prepared.
  • The duration and schedule must be fixed: the less vague it is, the less frustrating it will be.
  • The cherry on the cake is to welcome and introduce everyone at the beginning of the meeting to hear the voice of each person present. The psycho-sociologist Olivier Devillard used to say: "Make the team. The team will do the rest".
  • Do not forget to give all participants an opportunity to speak up their mind: Paul, what do you think of this idea? Sarah, what do you recommend?

Wrap up at the end of the meeting: don’t just thank participants, take the time to indicate what you particularly appreciated during the meeting.

Finally, don't forget the bonus question that Mark Zuckerberg asks at the beginning of every meeting: "Are we here to make a decision or to have a discussion?”

2. Set the right objectives for your team. Good objectives give meaning and drive results. To help you set the right objectives to your team members, you can rely on the SMART method, explained in detail here: it helps you to identify relevant objectives in order to achieve them. SMART stands for "specific", "measurable", "challenging", "realistic" and "time-bound".  The OKR method is also a management by objectives method that has been proven by top companies such as Google, Twitter, Linkedin, Netflix, Oracle, etc. It has the advantage of giving meaning to missions, making employees responsible and really executing the company's overall mission thanks to precise and measurable success indicators. Setting objectives avoids micro-management and encourages initiative and accountability.

3. Dare to say no. A well-justified "no" is better than a counter-productive "yes". Knowing how to say no, when the refusal is legitimate, saves time and energy. It shows that you know to manage expectations, prioritise your work and know your limits. "When you say no, you are only saying no to one option. When you say yes, you are saying no to every other option. No is a decision. Yes is a responsibility." James Clear, author of the New York Times bestseller Atomic Habits. So knowing how to say no is also about:

  • Knowing your priorities
  • Knowing how to evaluate a request
  • Being direct, sincere and authentic

4. Invest in your communication. Communication remains one of the most difficult soft skills to master. To avoid misunderstandings and to be more effective, you need to ensure that you :

  1. Listen actively, which means not interrupting, letting people express themselves on a subject, and creating trust.
  2. Be transparent and clear
  3. Do not avoid difficult topics
  4. Ask open questions
  5. Show empathy
  6. Use your body
  7. Give and receive feedback, even if it is negative

5. Delegate whenever necessary. Delegating does not mean getting rid of unpleasant tasks entirely, or pretending to delegate by giving small tasks and then overseeing everything. No, delegating, when done well, is one of the pillars of management. It gives greater responsibility to your team members, and therefore greater motivation in the long term. Motivation leads to greater group cohesion, which naturally leads to greater productivity.

The most difficult thing is to know what to delegate and to whom. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Does one of my team members seem comfortable in the area I want to delegate?
  • Why is this the right person to do this task?
  • Could they bring an innovative approach to the task?
  • What are their skills? Will this task allow them to deepen and enrich their skills?
  • What difficulties might they face?
  • How can I help them to succeed in this task?

If you find it difficult to delegate, choose primarily tasks that:

  • regularly take up a lot of time
  • will develop skills
  • are accessible
  • are challenging for the person doing them
  • Dare not you main area of expertise
  • allow you to refocus on your core business

Delegating does not mean losing control, on the contrary. It means having more control over your time and objectives, and being able to focus on what matters. It is also how you become a leader, as you give team members the opportunity to develop their skills.

6. Become a "neuro-friendly" manager. Neuromanagement is management based on neuroscience, which studies human behaviour in order to better understand it. Neuro-managers challenge their emotional intelligence and their ability to control their own emotions and those of others. They try to identify the emotional state of their employees so that they know how to communicate with them and motivate them. They take care of the expectations of their team members and ensure that information is organised and paced.

Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, Why it can matter more than IQ, believes that these five skills are key to the success of a career: self-awareness, control of one's emotions, motivation, empathy and the ability to relate. These skills allow for better coordination of teams' efforts, ability to negotiate and to anticipate and resolve conflicts.

Neuro-friendly managers are more optimistic. They know how to congratulate and recognize the work done and foster innovation.

7. Set up rituals and stick to them. In the overwhelming flow of day-to-day work, setting up clear and regular management rituals is critical to teams’ success. For each rituel , you must first choose it well and be sure of its relevance. Clearly defining and scheduling management rituals helps stay in control, free up time and give more autonomy to your team. On Popwork you can plan your 1:1 meetings, make sure they are well prepared with the check-in, share feedback and then easily define and follow up week after week.

8. Equip yourself with powerful tools. Salespeople have a CRM to help them, so why shouldn't managers have a tool to support them? To help you organise your work, manage projects, monitor the missions of each employee you work with and simply to manage better, don't forget that you can use digital tools. They make processes more efficient and less time-consuming.

Popwork allows you to gather in one place all your conversations and important topics with your team members. Moreover, thanks to Popwork, you can define objectives with your team and track them on a regular basis in order to give yourself the best chance of achieving them.

9. Manage your stress. 66% of French workers feel stress at work. It can be linked to the pressure of results, to disorganisation within the company or to an overload of work. All the resolutions mentioned above (delegate, get organised, use a tool, set realistic objectives) actively contribute to reducing stress. But what else can you do to avoid it? Make sure you don't send emails outside of working hours, multitask, such as checking your emails in meetings, and don't forget to take a holiday and above all... to disconnect! According to a QAPA study from 2020, 71% of French people answer work emails or calls during their holidays. So, here are our 4 tips for disconnecting during your holidays!

10. Learn and invest in yourself to upgrade your skills and confront your strengths and areas for improvement. A Chinese proverb says: "an army of a thousand soldiers is easy to build, but nothing is more difficult to find than a general to lead it!” Managing is not an easy task and good management is something that needs to be worked on: seniority and experience alone do not make a good leader. Soft skills, such as creativity, emotional intelligence, leadership, assertiveness, critical thinking, etc., are indispensable qualities to have: they are worked on during training sessions in small groups.

Among these 10 resolutions, choose those that are a priority for you. It then takes an average of 66 days to adopt a new habit. Let's catch up in two months?