6 Areas for Managers to Develop in 2017


It’s that time of year again, the time when everything seems new and we all begin to dream of ways to plan (and accomplish) what we’ve let “slide” during the old year. For managers, New Year’s resolutions can be extremely valuable. However, many simply make broad plans to close more sales, get more done during the day or have better working relationships without considering how to accomplish those goals. Here are some basic skills you and your team can improve upon in 2017 that will have a profound, positive effect on everything else you do.


Many managers find their schedules so filled with meetings, appointments, and paperwork that they simply overlook the tremendous value employees find in being heard. When you look to improve your listening skills, keep these quick tips in mind:

  • Before speaking, ask yourself, “Is the other person finished?” This will help you avoid talking over people.
  • To eliminate distractions, close doors or move the conversation away from public places.
  • Look at the person you’re speaking with. This will prevent you from “drifting” as someone else speaks.
  • Consider the behavioral style of the person you’re talking with. Is his/her natural communication pace slow or fast? Does this person need time to process the information before speaking or would he/she rather brainstorm?



In order to understand your people, you must first understand their makeup. There are simple ways to unlock the doors to employee behavior that will free up the lines of communication and help you understand your people better.

  • Have DISC Behavioral Profiles performed for all your employees. The information you find within these amazing reports will outline the best ways to communicate with employees, motivational methods that are proven to work, and types of positions where employees can shine.



Without clear and decisive direction from management, teamwork becomes just another over-used phrase. To help your teams learn to make differences work for them and to create a vision for the heights your teams can reach, consider these tips:

  • Clearly define the phrase “teamwork” including how teams are expected to work together.
  • Provide workshops, seminars, or other means of support to help employees understand and implement foundational teamwork principles into their routines.
  • Outline values, responsibilities, and skills your teams are expected to have.



Once teamwork becomes second nature, focus on making your employees part of High Performing Teams. To create High Performing Teams:

  • Involve team members in designing the standards and characteristics of their organization.
  • Gain commitment and accountability by asking team members to take responsibility.
  • Provide an experience (workshop, seminar, outing, etc.) where the team members return to the organization prepared to make individual contributions.
  • Ensure each team member has an individual and/or departmental action plan that works in conjunction with the mission and vision of your company.



As a member of management, others look to you for leadership. However, whether you realize it or not, many also look to you for mentoring. Give serious thought to your mentoring program – or the development of a mentoring program. When you do, construct or alter your program to include these five vital areas:

  • Design – Design your mentoring program around the specific behavioral and personality traits of your employees.
  • Choice – Offer elements of choice in your program. This helps you create a mentoring arena where both leaders and learners will prosper and thrive as they reach their goals.
  • Compatibility – Make sure the mentor and mentee have similar personalities, or your program will stand a high chance of failure.
  • Creativity – Design program mechanics to deliver your desired results. With a little creativity, your program can offer an exceptional outcome.
  • Measurement – Follow-through is vital in a mentoring program. Use measurement tools that allow you to easily analyze mentoring situations so that any necessary changes or additions can be made.



Negotiation is not about getting your own way. It is about developing long-term, proactive relationships with others through mutual gains. After all, employees, vendors, and customers who feel constantly taken advantage of will eventually become weary and leave. If you feel you are lacking in the area of negotiations, consider the following:

  • Seek out the best alternatives for all parties involved.
  • Focus on interests, not individuals or positions.
  • Look for ways to incorporate mutual gain