7 New Year’s Resolutions to Become a Better Manager
Posted by Paige N. on December 23, 2019 in Acuity

Amazingly, 2019 is already coming to a close—which means it’s time to make those New Year’s resolutions! Regardless of whether you buy into resolutions, the change of the calendar year is a great time to reflect on the past and make plans for how to improve.


Prior to setting resolutions, spend some time reflecting on what did and didn’t go well this year. What are your weaknesses, and how can you strengthen them? What challenges did you encounter, and how could you mitigate them in the future? What are you afraid of, and what could help you conquer this fear? As a manager or leader, taking time to reflect on your team's successes and opportunities for growth is an important part of helping your team grow and improve.


Here are a few New Year’s resolutions that just about any manager could add to his or her list:


  1. Listen more, talk less. I have heard this one everywhere lately because it’s important. Becoming a better listener is an integral part of becoming a better leader and manager. In fact, you might find that the best leaders are the best listeners. Why? Because they truly understand the wants and needs of those around them, especially those of the people they directly oversee. Unsurprisingly, the first step to becoming a better listener is to be less of a talker. When communicating with others, listen to understand rather than to respond. This means not interrupting others when they are speaking, asking clarifying questions, and restating in your own words what the other has said to solidify understanding. When people feel that they are truly heard and understood, they will feel more valued and develop a stronger sense of purpose. Listening develops relationships!
  2. Build trust. A trusted team is a productive team. Contrast a micromanaged team with an autonomous team. The micromanaged team is going to second-guess their work and ultimately feel inadequate and incapable of doing their jobs. Conversely, the autonomous team feels empowered, engaged, and takes ownership over their work. Rather than engaging in destructive micromanaging, trust your team to get things done right and on time so you are constructively supervising your employees to success. Remember that part of building trust is consistently holding employees accountable for both their successes and failures.
  3. Show support. In the same lane as building trust is supporting your employees. When your team knows you have their backs, they will feel empowered to take risks and know that you will be there to support them if something goes wrong. Part of your job as a manager is to remove obstacles that are hindering your employees’ abilities to do their jobs. Analyze what obstacles exist and work to remove them in 2020. Beyond working to support the team, work to support employees by learning how each person likes to receive praise and feedback, give individuals the tools they need to accomplish their jobs, and be as flexible as you can in allowing employees to work in the way they prefer (e.g., working from home, work hours, etc.) while still getting work done. Follow the platinum rule of treating others as they would like to be treated. Also, remember that a strong leader makes decisions and does not second guess or flip-flop.
  4. Revamp recognition. Are employees recognized when they do a good job? What about when they do a great job? Because exponential growth does not happen overnight, it’s important to recognize the little victories employees achieve along their path of growth. Take the time to recognize these little victories along with the great things that employees do. In addition to recognizing your employees for their achievements, encourage teammates to recognize each other’s achievements. This is a great way to build relationships among teammates and helps you learn about the good that your employees are doing. Recognizing employees for the work they do will make them feel valued and motivated to keep working hard.
  5. Help your employees grow. Aid your employees in taking their careers to the next level by offering opportunities to grow. This is especially true for your top performers, who may require new challenges to remain engaged and motivated. Employee growth is a shared responsibility between you and your employees. Consider having regular coaching sessions with employees where both you and your employee come with ideas for professional growth. Compliment the employee’s strengths and constructively share suggestions for improvement. Help your employees grow in their current role with projects or educational opportunities that aid in specific areas of growth. Recognize who your top performers are and give them increased responsibility while not stretching them too thin. Working with your employees to help them grow in their careers shows that you value them, which boosts morale, confidence, and trust.
  6. Focus on culture. Creating an engaging, safe, and fun culture is important in retaining employees and boosting team morale. While work isn’t always fun, celebrating the little things makes work memorable and enjoyable. Foster an environment where teammates communicate openly, support one another, work hard, and have fun. This starts with you, so taking the time to get to know each of your employees on a personal level is important to fostering a positive and personable team environment. If you aren’t having fun at work, you’re not doing it right!
  7. Be the leader you would want to follow. What kind of team do you want? You set the tone for the team, so this is in your hands. Seriously think about your team’s current atmosphere and how it compares to the ideal team atmosphere. Do they match? If you were your employee, would you want to be managed by you? If not, what changes do you need to make?


What New Year’s resolutions are you setting for yourself? Keep in mind that resolutions don’t work if you just set them and forget them. You need to work on your resolutions year-round with intention for them to provide their intended value. Hold yourself accountable to your managerial New Year’s resolutions and make 2020 the best year yet for you and your team!



Paige N.
Paige N. came to Acuity in 2015 as a commercial lines underwriter. Through her time in underwriting, she worked on a wide array of accounts, many in the service industry, including: automobile repair shops, apartments, beauty shops, and everything in between. In addition to her underwriting experience, Paige worked in advertising and is studying to obtain the Associate in General Insurance (AINS) designation. Thanks to her father, Paige drives a manual transmission and finds driving a manual much more fun than an automatic!

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