8 Habits of Highly Effective Managers

4 November 2016

Pete Cohen is one of the country’s leading corporate performance and  motivational business speakers , a published author and an established  media personality . He has over 15 years’ experience  coaching business leaders , executives, corporate teams and  sporting stars  to achieve their best.

Having coached teams from more than 60 of the UK’s foremost companies including IBM, Boots, EDF, Coutts and RBS, Pete has picked up a thing or two about effective management in the 21st-Century workplace.

Here, he shares his 8 habits of highly effective managers!


The definition of a manager : ‘someone who is in charge of a business’, ‘someone that directs the performance of an individual or a team and subsequently guides their professional career’

I have worked as a coach to both managers and leaders for many years and have learnt a lot along the way-  including the distinction between the productivity in a team with an efficient manager to a team with a manager that only does the minimum.

More often than not, the managers don’t go out of their way to tell you what it is that they are doing. So when it comes to people being effective, it’s often something that people don’t really know or understand.

We very rarely model excellence - just being interested in doing the basics is something that we have all been guilty of at some point in our lives. But when it comes to moulding a great manager, this mentality needs to change and questions need to be asked, such as:

Who are you modelling?

Who are you looking at for inspiration?

Who are your role models in management?

I have written fourteen books on personal and professional development and read countless books that refer to the bad habits that a person develops throughout their life. One of the best is the international best-seller ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen Covey. It truly inspired me. Several years ago, I drew influence from it and formed ‘The Habits of Highly Effective Managers’ - the most effective habits of the managers that I have worked with throughout the years!

1. Be proactive

The number one rule.

If you want the people you are managing to be proactive i.e. to take initiative, to have a positive attitude, to look for challenges rather than problems, etc, this is something that should be replicated in yourself as the manager. How can the people being managed be proactive, if, they are following in the footsteps of a manager that is not?

Lead by example.

2. Begin with the end in mind.

Any manager that is working on a project is unlikely to be doing it on their own - they will have their team  working with them. With any project that you are working on. get the team together first and think about the end goal of the project. Then, with the end in mind, ask pre-empted questions such as – How did we do this? What were the obstacles we faced on the way, and how did we overcome them?

3. Put ‘first things’ first.

Once you have established the end goal, you then need to recognise what the priority is and try not to overcrowd your mind with more than one task at a time. Multi-tasking doesn’t really exist if you look at the science around human behaviour .

4. Think 'win win'.

If you want people to follow you and be inspired by you, think about making it a win for them, not just for you. If you have the mentality of ‘I need you to do this because if you do I win’, productivity amongst staff will be extremely low. Employees will lack motivation to go above and beyond the call of duty. Instead, make it a two-sided win which the person(s) working on it can benefit from, such as giving an incentive or guaranteeing their input into the discussion of current and future projects.

You win, I win, everybody wins.

5. Listen first. Talk second.

This is key to great management, but unfortunately, it is also something that people with authority often struggle with. Everyone wants to feel as if they are a part of something, so the best way to make them feel like this is to make them feel like they have a say in the development of the business. Consult your team regularly and ask the question ‘How do you feel about this?’ to prove to them that their thoughts are being listened to.

6. Synergise.

This is a term that I use regularly in my area of work. For me, in relation to productive management, this means working with your team  to ensure they are staying on task and making sure that both you and the team are fully aligned with the goals or visions of the project that you are working on.

7. Sharpen the saw - keep learning.

This means that as a manager you should always be looking to sharpen your management skills. Don’t get lazy! Take inspiration from other great managers, past or present, and seek to emulate their enthusiasm and determination. We should never close the door on learning and should regularly ask ourselves how we can become better at what we do.

Get the right balance between work and putting your feet up

8. Lift yourself by lifting others.

Finally, look after yourself as a manager. Ensure you're thouroughly hydrated, fit, and getting your recommended amount of sleep per night. When you take on the role of a manager, you also take on the responsibility of being the role model for your team. If you want other people to be inspired, you need be in the best physical and mental shape  possible.


Follow these tips, and you'll be a better manager in no time!

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