Strong management skills are essential for helping any business succeed. Entrepreneurs should take every opportunity to sharpen these skills in order to run their companies as effectively as possible.

Some ways to improve management skills include the following:

  1. Define your vision and announce it – Under old management practices, employees were paid to work and not to think. Today, every member of an organization is expected to exercise sound judgment and contribute to the company as a whole. An entrepreneur or manager can engage employees by communicating his or her vision for the company and soliciting input from workers at every level on how to achieve that vision.
  2. Get personal to get engagement – Managers should not treat employees as numbers or statistics. Every employee is a distinct person and should be respected as one.
  3. Recognize the power of influence through personal branding – You can impact your employees’ way of thinking if they know you and the kind of person you are. You will get your employees’ trust if they can interface with you and see what you are doing to benefit the company and its workers. That personal touch will also shine through your employees and please your customers.
  4. Maintain communication – Communicate clearly. Do not make your employees guess what your policies are. Be clear about what you expect, set specific deadlines, and follow up.
  5. Understand the power of gratitude – Showing your gratitude goes a long way in establishing employee trust. Employees work hard to support a leader they trust.
  6. Make work more fun – Some of the most successful companies in the world have a knack for mixing work with fun. When employees enjoy working for their company, they are likely to stay longer, in the process developing a deep-seated loyalty to the organization. This also increases productivity by avoiding wasted training and re-training due to turnover.
  7. Handle toxic employees – Where difficult employees are concerned, start by going deep into the source of the behavior. Sometimes employees just need you to listen. Set fair boundaries. Be compassionate but strict.
  8. Admit your mistakes – It takes strong character to admit mistakes. Your employees will appreciate your willingness to apologize and accept blame when appropriate.
  9. Learn how to manage former co-workers – It can be touchy to manage employees that were once at your own level. Now you walk the tightrope between being a boss and a friend. Be humble so that your former co-workers will still feel you are one of them but firm enough to lay down and enforce clear expectations to maintain progress.

Improving your management skills is an ongoing process. Seek opportunities to learn more about effective management. Realize that you won’t get it all perfect at once, but as you keep trying, you will gain the skills necessary to grow your company while fostering an empowered, loyal work force.


Damon Burton is an entrepreneur, consultant and President of SEO National and UtahSites who writes extensively about leadership and career advancement.