Editing Skills for Managers

Cover image
business woman sitting at her desk applying editing skills for managers

If you want to hone your employees’ writing skills and encourage them to be self sufficient, you need to know how to be a good editor. Let’s take a look at ways you can do this.

Honestly Assess Your Own Skills

How confident are you in your writing? If you’re feeling at all rusty, take a class or find some resources to review. As a manager or leader, you want to make sure that you are correct when you ask someone to fix their punctuation or agreement. There are times when employees have been correct, and the manager didn’t know how to use punctuation properly.

Perhaps you have someone on staff who has writing credentials. You could appoint them as the editing coach to review documents. Using the “track changes” feature for documents is a very helpful way to review a document so that the editor can highlight issues and the writer can see what has been or needs to be corrected.

Let Your Employees Do the Re-Writing

This can be a tough one. As managers, we often see what needs to be done to make a document better, and we think it will take less time to do the re-writing ourselves. Don’t fall into this trap!

If you want your employees to learn and not become overly dependent on you or another editor, let them do the work. (It can also hurt their morale if you don’t trust them to do their own work.) Employees won’t get better if they never have to fix and polish their own writing. While providing specific feedback and letting them do the work may take more time in the short run, in the long run, everyone will be better off, and you will spend less time on writing tasks that aren’t your own.

Meet with the Writer

To help your employees improve their writing, don’t just send back their drafts with your comments attached. Meet with them to discuss their writing. This will allow you to explain your reasoning for the changes you’d like to see. It also allows employees to ask clarifying questions. Remember to also provide positive feedback, so employees will know what they’ve done well. This also helps morale.

Have Employees Take Charge of Their Writing

Writing is a skill, and like any skill, the more you study it and practice it, the better you become.

Post and Share Good Writing Examples

While we all need to know our weaknesses to improve, effective managers acknowledge and celebrate strengths to help keep their team members motivated. They also allow employees to compare their work to good writing, so they know what to keep doing and what might need improving.

Being a good editor will help your employees flourish as writers and reduce your own work burden.

Marie Antaya avatar

By Marie Antaya, CTDP

Author of The Eclectic Writing Series.