Try coaching for free  >
Try coaching for free  >Try coaching for free  >

Change your life with coaching

Your very own AI-powered coach is waiting...
Try coaching for free
No items found.

My Coaching Plan:

Our expert coaches created the following plan to help you hack your life and work:
Our expert coaches created the following plan to help 
Multiply Your Impact
Personal Power
Vital Wellbeing

My Coaching Plan:

Our expert coaches created the following plan to help you hack your life and work:
Trust Your Gut Feel
See the Big Picture
Goal Catcher
Start Fast!

Get started
 with our AI-coaching program, 
No items found.

How to improve management skills (in four smart steps)

Stats on how to improve management skills

  • Only 34% of US workers say they're 'engaged' in their work, but this is one of the highest levels it's historically been. [1]
  • Only 35% of managers themselves are engaged in their work - a concerning statistic when they have such responsibility for driving employee engagement. [2]


  • More than 90% of business leaders say that promoting wellness can affect employee productivity and performance. [3]
  • 57% of business leaders say their organizations viewed employee health programs as an 'investment in human capital'. [3]
  • One quarter of British workers are afraid to ask their manager to take the time off that they're owed. [4]

According to the World Economic Forum, people management is one of the top ten skills needed to thrive in the 'fourth industrial revolution'.

We seem to be at a turning point in history; not just the coming global post-pandemic recovery, but a world increasingly reliant on algorithms, robots, artificial intelligence and machine learning. Much of the world's economic activity operates within the realm of 'mystical' technology - things so complex and clever that they might as well be magic. It's easy to assume the future of work is almost completely digital.

But humans aren't going away anytime soon. People need to design, manufacture, operate and maintain these machines. And the global service industry makes up an increasing proportion of wealthy countries' GDP, accounting for more than 70% of employment in OECD countries.

That's an awful lot of people that need managing. And despite tech's endless march towards optimization and efficiency, people are the ones that get deals done, think creatively and make things happen.

Great people management is the key to empowering workers. It's the thing that aligns your company's big goals and visions with its day-to-day achievements. It increases your company resilience and agility in the face of shifting global markets. Badly-managed companies simply don't perform to their financial potential - which is why it's worth getting good at.

You don't have to have years of experience or go on expensive courses to be able to manage well. You just have to focus on a few key areas and do them well.

With that in mind, here are some of our favorite strategies on how to improve management skills.

Table of contents

How to improve your management skills

1) Make sure everyone knows why they're doing things

Nobody likes doing work that doesn't matter. And sometimes, even when it does matter, it's hard to see why.

So one of the most effective things a manager can do is link the what to the why - getting employees to deeply understand the connection between the efforts they put in every workday and the results they produce. Some vocations, like medical care or manufacturing, have tangible outcomes that are immediately visible; a patient that recovers, or the creation of a useful object, for example. These can be easier to link with motivation because managers don't need to explain the impact of the work that's done.

But in other cases, a more proactive approach is what works best.

It really comes down to getting people to understand core culture - the deepest, most important values the organization holds. It's what gets everyone up in the morning, excited for the day ahead. It could be a sense of honor, a commitment to creativity, a dedication to social impact, or the ability to make the lives of thousands of customers easier and more enjoyable.

These might be obvious to you as a manager, but if your team is only vaguely aware of it through mission statements and other surface-level communication, it's not going to really spark their drive to perform.

This essential core culture gets into the heads of employees through two methods: training, and exposure. The first involves direct communication, which involves documentation, messaging, and conversation. The second is indirect - it's the behavior that reflects those values, which permeates through the company over time. In short, if you act in accordance with company values, others will too.

2) Keep your people healthy

This doesn't mean you have to keep tabs on your team's blood pressure or cholesterol levels. But it does mean taking a certain level of responsibility for their wellbeing at work - both because it's the moral thing to do, and for the fact that wellbeing is so intrinsically tied to productivity.

One of the more alarming stats above is that of UK workers being afraid to ask their managers for the time off that they're owed. This points to a real cultural problem. That fear doesn't come from nowhere - it'll be cultivated by negative experiences in the past. Why are managers dissuading time off that people are perfectly entitled to? 

It's only a reasonable response when looking at busy Christmas periods when a large portion of the workforce want to take leave at the same time, which is always a delicate balance. But taking time off to rest is a crucial part of preventing burnout and improving performance, and denying it under regular circumstances isn't good for the health of your employees or that of your company's performance.

Healthy employees turn up for work much more often, too - in fact, absenteeism from workplace stress costs US companies $300bn per year. Overworking team members might cause short-term gains, but if you're burning them out, is it really worth it?

One critical part of keeping your team sane and healthy is to foster an environment of psychological safety. This involves paying attention to everyone's mental health, interpersonal connections, and ability to speak freely without fear within the workplace to ensure they're not in a state of anxious rumination all the time. Managers that promote these as a priority will end up with happier, more productive employees.

3) Operationalize your decision-making

People in positions of responsibility are decision-making machines. They have to take in large amounts of data and quickly use their unique insight to steer people in the right direction.

Decision-making is one of the most important skills you can have in business, but it's a rarely cultivated one. You can take courses to learn how to communicate better, or how to improve your interpersonal skills, but the meta-discipline of making decisions isn't a topic you'd typically try to tackle.

One way to get better at it is to first think about your thinking:

  • How do you prioritize two competing concerns?
  • How do you properly evaluate possibilities?
  • What is your decision making style
  • How much of your decisions are based on gut feel or intuition?

Understanding the processes your brain goes through when faced with challenges - your 'mental models' - will help you be much more rational and less prone to emotionally overreacting.

As explained by Farnam Street:

"There is no class called “decision making.” Making better decisions isn’t one skill but rather a series of tools and frameworks. What distinguishes consistently good decision makers from poor ones is a series of diverse mental frameworks and tools (as well as relevant specific information)."

You could try learning from others who you admire, whether that's through questioning people you know, tweeting people you don't know, or reading biographies of high achievers both in and outside of your domain.

They might not be able to explain the exact mental model they used to navigate through a critical point, but they can show their thinking. And that's something you can really benefit from.

With enough experience, making smart decisions based on logical frameworks becomes second nature. The result - employees that don't second-guess your decisions, and strategic moves that have a much better likelihood of success.

4) Make time for learning

No matter how high you climb in the corporate hierarchy, or how successful your own business is, thinking you know everything is a recipe for complacency. There are always things you can learn, and even if you're a top-level manager, you can always learn more about how to manage.

Many managers would say they already do this, or that they're open-minded enough to change direction when challenged. But it's not as common that they actually formalize the act of learning.

Performance coaching is one way of going about it, which certainly isn't unheard of in corporate circles. A coach that aligns nicely to your personality can give you a major boost in focus, clarity of purpose and overall performance, but they can also shed light on tricky management issues that might not be appropriate to share with your colleagues or subordinates. They can offer insight on techniques or thought patterns you didn't realize you had, and help you address blind spots in your people management or conflict resolution methods.

You could also go even more formal and sign up for a management training course. Most universities with business schools offer short courses in specific areas of management, led by professors and industry professionals, as well as longer part-time or full-time qualifications. If you've not considered it before, maybe it's time to see what's on offer nearby - most mid-size cities will have something on offer for management professionals looking for career development. If that doesn't work, you're sure to find something online.

Think of it like going to the gym, or having a regular therapy session. Learning can be more of an act of maintenance than training, and might refresh the knowledge that might have gotten a bit rusty. But you might also gain a serious upgrade to your skillset that helps you and your team realize your potential and climb up to the next level.

Schedule a free demo to learn how F4S can help to quickly improve management skills and wellness on your team.

Rapidly improve your work and life with fast AI coaching.

Our programs were designed by world-renown coaches, and sessions only take 5-15 minutes. Get started for free with personalized program now by chatting in the box below:

Start personal coaching for free

Loved By:

500 Startups
SAP
Atlasssian
Verizon
Canva
KPMG
Techsauce
ZOHO

My Coaching Plan:

Our expert coaches have designed hyper-effective programs that will help 

you improve your mental health, wellbeing, productivity, leadership and more.

Our expert coaches have designed hyper-effective programs that will help 

Coach Marlee (your amazing AI-powered personal coach) will analyse your unique traits and goals to let you know which program to start with (and if there are any you should skip)!

Your recommended programs include:

Multiply Your Impact

Multiply your impact by embracing the experience and genius within others. During this eight week program Coach Marlee will help you to develop a genuine appreciation for experimentation and data and a willingness to empower the opinions, feedback and insights within your team and others in your life.

5 - 15 minutes
 per session
8 weeks
Show more programs
Hide

Personal Power

In this high impact eight week program Coach Marlee will help you increase your comfort and confidence to be in positions of influence and leadership, navigate organizational politics and also help you develop greater confidence to compete and influence at the top of your industry or field.

5 - 15 minutes
 per session
8 weeks

Vital Wellbeing

In this high impact nine week program Coach Marlee will help you to increase your energy, vitality and general wellbeing while also helping you to break through self sabotage and develop life long skills for emotional resilience and self-esteem. Enjoy weekly cutting edge science backed wellbeing resources from both Marlee and our wellbeing partner Blisspot.

5 - 15 minutes
 per session
8 weeks

My Coaching Plan:

Our expert coaches have designed hyper-effective programs that will help you improve your mental health, wellbeing, productivity, leadership and more.

Coach Marlee (your amazing AI-powered personal coach) will analyse your unique traits and goals to let you know which program to start with (and if there are any you should skip)!

Your recommended programs include:

Vital Wellbeing

In this high impact nine week program Coach Marlee will help you to increase your energy, vitality and general wellbeing while also helping you to break through self sabotage and develop life long skills for emotional resilience and self-esteem. Enjoy weekly cutting edge science backed wellbeing resources from both Marlee and our wellbeing partner Blisspot.

5 - 15 minutes
 per session
2 sessions per week
Show more programs
Hide

Attention to Detail

Impress yourself and others with your attention to detail! Develop a genuine appreciation, energy and stamina for detailed thinking to execute your vision, measure performance in yourself and others while also accelerating your ability to learn and change.

5 - 15 minutes
 per session
2 sessions per week

Personal Power

In this high impact eight week program Coach Marlee will help you increase your comfort and confidence to be in positions of influence and leadership, navigate organizational politics and also help you develop greater confidence to compete and influence at the top of your industry or field.

5 - 15 minutes
 per session
2 sessions per week

Multiply Your Impact

Multiply your impact by embracing the experience and genius within others. During this eight week program Coach Marlee will help you to develop a genuine appreciation for experimentation and data and a willingness to empower the opinions, feedback and insights within your team and others in your life.

5 - 15 minutes
 per session
2 sessions per week

Trust Your Gut Feel

Explore, strengthen and stand by what you believe in at work and in life. Trust in your ‘gut feel’ and point of view is especially helpful for influencing, starting your own business, having your personal needs met and for living an authentic and meaningful life.

5 - 15 minutes
 per session
2 sessions per week

Big Picture Thinker

Inspire yourself and others to see the bigger picture! Increase your comfort and use of abstract and strategic thinking to gain a broader perspective in work and life. Big picture thinking is key in communication, leadership, businesses, selling, marketing, and situations where you need to get the gist of things quickly.

5 - 15 minutes
 per session
2 sessions per week

Reflection & Patience

Develop ‘step back’ mastery for increased self-awareness and developing mindsets and tools for constant improvement. Reflection and patience is core to consolidating learning, development, strategic thinking, recharging and living an authentic and meaningful life.

5 - 15 minutes
 per session
2 sessions per week

Start Fast

Close the gap between your great ideas and starting them. Energy and drive for starting is key for inventing new things, starting businesses, selling, marketing, socializing or in situations where you need to think on your feet.

5 - 15 minutes
 per session
2 sessions per week

Increase EQ

Explore, develop or strengthen your emotional intelligence (EQ). Awareness of your and others’ emotions is at the heart of influencing, ‘reading people’, impactful communication, deep relating and authentic connection at work and in life.

5 - 15 minutes
 per session
2 sessions per week

Goal Catcher

Inspire yourself and others to see and achieve grand visions and goals. A focus on goals is especially helpful for inspirational leaders, starting your own business, impactful communication, or for achieving awesome outcomes at work and in life.

5 - 15 minutes
 per session
2 sessions per week

Recommended program for you:

No items found.

Coach Marlee (your amazing AI-powered personal coach) will analyse your unique traits and goals to personalize the program so you see results as quickly as possible.

No items found.

Testimonials

This is some text inside of a div block.

“I learned to manage my stress about details”

This is some text inside of a div block.

“Marlee creates momentum and feels good to move ahead”

Show more testimonials
Hide
This is some text inside of a div block.

"With attention to detail program, I learned a whole new way to see and approach projects"

This is some text inside of a div block.

“I learned to manage my stress about details”

This is some text inside of a div block.

“Wow this program has totally changed my relationship to goals! Thanks so much Marlee, I miss you already”

This is some text inside of a div block.

“I found how to not give up!”

This is some text inside of a div block.

“I’ve always found it daunting to be a leader, I have never sought out to be the one in charge. The positions have always found me. I now have new confidence. I especially like the concept of leadership through context. Very empowering”.

This is some text inside of a div block.

“I learned how to set, move to take action and progress towards happiness”

Meet the world’s first A.I. Coach!

Get started for free with personal (or team) coaching.

Programs are designed by world-renowned coaches & delivered by our incredible (AI-powered) Coach Marlee.

Sessions take just a few minutes and are 100% personalized to fit your unique traits and goals.

Hack your life & work

Subscribe to our newsletter for free access to the latest research and expert tips on Mental Health, Wellbeing, Leadership, Career Skills, Team Building & more!

Bring out the best in your team

Our tools are trusted by teams like Canva to help improve:

Wellbeing
Performance
Team Dynamics
Hiring Top Talent

Hack your wellbeing, productivity and goals

. . . with personal (or team) coaching!

Programs are created by expert coaches & delivered by our incredible A.I. Coach Marlee. Sessions only take 5-15 minutes and are 100% personalized to fit your unique traits and goals.
Start personal coaching for freeStart personal coaching for freeStart personal coaching for free
^ Swipe up to chat with your AI coach!
v  CLOSE