What Makes A Good Manager?
The definition of manger is "A person responsible for controlling or administering all or part of a company or similar organization." The problem with this definition is that it does not define what makes a good manager, it sounds like just about anyone could fill this roll. In some cases this is true, but in most cases, it takes a specific personality type to be not just an effective manager but to be a good manager. What's the difference between a good manager and an effective manager? An effective manager delegates work evenly between employees, completes projects and tasks on time and holds the employees they manage accountable. Good managers do these things as well but in a way that builds confidence, trust and moral within their team.
Good managers don't just hold people accountable, they identify their strengths and weaknesses and play to their strengths while giving them the coaching and feedback necessary to build upon their weaknesses. Too often we see managers focus solely on an employee's weaknesses, constantly reminding or even reprimanding them for their mistakes or shortcomings.
They wont delegate tasks without taking into consideration the strengths and weaknesses we just mentioned. Good managers will analyze what needs to be done, who is best suited to do it and assign the work accordingly. This sounds like a lengthy process, and it might be for some mangers, but if they have taken the time to get to know their teams it takes no time at all.
They are able to find the delicate balance between being too hands on and not hands on enough. It is very important for managers to show their teams that they are not only able to do the tasks they're assigning but willing to as well. This balance helps build leadership and respect between managers and their team members.
They care about the success of their team members. A good manager knows that if their team succeeds, they succeed as well. It may seem like common sense but it is often overlooked or underestimated. Spending time with their teams, and individuals, showing them that they care about their success and growth in the company can go a long way.
They advocate for their people. It can be difficult for a manager to stand up to their superiors when either they or their teams are being evaluated but it is important for managers to do so, when they truly believe in themselves and their team members. It shows complete confidence and a willingness to advocate for what they believe in, which takes a lot of courage.
They encourage communication and transparency. Good managers will keep their teams informed of important decisions, project updates and changes within the organization. This helps build trust between them and their teams. Being willing to share information and address concerns or answer questions is key to managerial success.
They think outside the box. Any manager can assign work and push their teams to complete that work. A good manager will think outside the box and even take risks to accomplish their goals and the goals of the company. Nothing says 'I am confident' in my abilities like trying something new for the good of the company without having to seek approval or constant validation.
They don't take all the credit. Nothing ruins the manager / worker relationship faster than a manager taking all the credit for work their teams completed. There are many small ways to recognize their teams for the hard work they've done like sending company wide emails highlighting the team members that contributed to a projects success.
They know when to have fun. Creating a positive workplace environment is just as much a responsibility of managers as it is for the owners or executives of a company. Throwing office parties, company competitions and having spontaneous surprises, like bring your dog to work day, can make work feel less monotonous and more enjoyable.
These are a lot of qualities to find in one person. It is important to remember that being a manager, like anything else, takes practice and education. You may have a manager that exhibits some of these qualities but not all of them, that doesn't mean they're unfit to be a manager, it just means they need a little practice and training. It can be very hard to find someone that's not only a good manager but that fits into your organization but we encourage you to put in the time and effort that is needed to find that person, or people, that will ignite the growth you're looking for in your business. If you're interested in more information about what great managers do, here is a great article by the Harvard Business Review.