How can you become a better manager? What are the steps you need to take to get there? Whether you’ve been a manager for years or you’re in a new management role, these are valuable questions to ask.

To help you get the most out of the teams you manage, here are five management tips from Harvard Business School faculty and industry leaders who are featured in the online course Management Essentials.

5 Expert Tips for Managers

1. Have a Process


At its core, good management is all about processes. A process is a series of steps or actions that results in a particular outcome. When you look at management and decision-making as a process, it's easier to repeat desirable outcomes and avoid failure. As HBS Senior Lecturer and former CEO of Amgen Kevin Sharer explains, managers must both understand and be prepared to optimize or change the processes related to their work:

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By considering management as a set of processes, managers can pay attention not only to what work gets done, but how it gets done. They can then adjust certain aspects of each process, like decision-making and communication, so they can more effectively reach their goals.

2. Implement That Process


Developing a process is a great start, but it doesn't do you much good unless you can effectively implement it. Sharer discusses the importance of implementation and the crucial role it plays in middle management:

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The implementation process itself can be a challenge and requires strong leadership and management skills. To roll out a new strategy or managerial process effectively, you should set clear goals, delegate work, execute a plan, monitor progress, and make changes as needed. Once the output is delivered, get closure and conduct a review of the process to identify areas of improvement for the future.

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3. Assemble Your Team Wisely


Ensure you have the right person in charge and identify everyone that needs to be involved in the process and in what capacity. According to HBS Dean Nitin Nohria, the success or failure of the implementation depends on the leader and team you've chosen:

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While the manager is the driving force of implementation, it’s important to remember to leverage your team’s strengths throughout the process. Involving your team in decision-making can help you get the buy-in needed to achieve your goal, while also revealing blindspots you didn’t realize you had.

4. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate


It's vital to make sure every member of the team is informed, on the same page, and understands the reasoning behind your decision-making. To communicate effectively, you need to understand the different communication styles of the members on your team. Meghan Joyce, who previously worked at Uber and is now COO at Oscar Health, discusses why you may need to slightly adjust your message or delivery to adequately convey information to certain members of your team:

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The ability to adapt your communication style to a given situation is one of the most important communication skills for managers to have. Doing so can enable you to share information more effectively and reduce unnecessary friction in your process.

5. Make Time for Reflection


Arguably the most important step in the management process—and the one most often neglected—is reflection. Whether you've experienced a huge success or a resounding failure, it’s equally important to look back and identify what factors contributed to that result. As HBS Professor Amy Edmondson notes, reflection is key to learning and improving:

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Your past experiences are the best way to improve in the future. Reflect on your biggest successes to learn what worked well for you in certain scenarios. Also, look back to your failures to identify opportunities for improvement. Management is an ongoing process, and having the ability to continuously learn and grow is a key factor to your overall success.

How to Be a Good Manager

Whether you’re a first time manager or a seasoned professional, there’s always room to improve your management skills and become a better manager.

While there’s no single way to be a “good manager,” evaluating your strengths and weaknesses, committing to your development, and reaping the benefits of management training opportunities can set you on the path toward success.

Are you interested in elevating your managerial skills? Explore our eight-week online course Management Essentials, and learn about how you can leverage critical organizational processes as a means of getting work done and achieving results.

This post was updated on March 31, 2020. It was originally published on August 31, 2017.