What Makes a Great Manager?
What makes a great manager? The truth is that any good manager will have a number of key qualities, and it’s those qualities that set them aside from the average manager.
However, contrary to what you may think, they aren’t necessarily innate talents. They come from deliberate practice; namely things like learning new skills, setting goals, and implementing strategies to achieve them. But these are just general skills that can be learned by anyone with the right attitude and time to put in the work.
The key is having the right attitude, and that can be acquired through any means. For some, it’ll be your experience as a former employee. For others, it’ll be an extensive reading of management literature. Others may have been lucky enough to have been given a great manager or have worked at a company where good management comes naturally. It’s the willingness to put the effort in, learn new skills and try out new strategies. It’s in having the confidence to pursue your goals even when everything is against you. It’s in the ability to adapt to changing conditions and not get cynical and bitter.
So what makes a great manager? We believe the following six qualities come closest to that ideal.
1. Communication Skills
Being able to communicate with your employees is key. You need to be able to convey a message clearly, so that they understand exactly what you want them to do, whether it be through words or actions through body language and tone of voice. A lot of miscommunication can arise from misunderstandings, even at the highest levels of management.
Good communication is key in any working relationship, so knowing your subordinates well enough to know what they want will help you greatly in communicating with them effectively. A manager who is a good communicator is someone their employees can count on to give them the information they need to do their jobs well, and also someone they can rely on to listen when it’s important for them to share how they are feeling about their work.
They don’t try to micromanage, but rather create an environment where people feel comfortable making decisions and sharing feedback in order to improve things. When both managers and employees communicate well with one another, problems can be addressed more quickly while ensuring everyone understands the bigger picture beyond their own little world every day.
2. Teamwork and Tenacity
This is a trait that’s central to being successful as an average manager, but it’s also one that separates truly great managers from the rest. A great manager knows how to work well with others and how to delegate responsibility in such a way that their team members are given the right amount of supervision and guidance so they can still maintain enough independence for themselves. They avoid micromanagement because it can limit initiative on the part of their employees and instead allow them to focus on their core responsibilities without feeling overwhelmed by details.
In addition, this helps keep everyone motivated and inspired, which is crucial when trying to get everyone pulling in the same direction at the same time for an ambitious project or goal. A successful manager is one who has spent some time on the job and thoroughly knows what their subordinates need, and how to deliver it (or face the consequences).
3. Speed of Decision-Making
It’s not just about the speed of actual decision-making, but of pre-decision making as well! Good managers always have a plan and procedure in mind before they need it; they don’t let things take them by surprise. This can be seen in how they react when things go wrong and how they engage their subordinates by explaining what went wrong and why.
Great managers are problem solvers. They use a variety of means to get the most out of their subordinates and ensure that their subordinates are able to deliver optimal results at all times. They don’t just stop at problem-solving, however; they also think about how to solve anticipated problems before they have even happened, and put solutions into place.
4. Knowledge of Their Subordinates
The key to being a good manager is knowing exactly who you are responsible for, and what each person’s individual short- and long-term goals should be. Not only that, but a good manager must also be able to determine how and when they can deliver results to best suit a subordinate’s needs. A great manager will also know exactly when to push them too! A great manager must have the ability to empathize with and understand the feelings of others.
A manager who is able to put themselves in their employees’ shoes, as well as their own, is someone who can recognize where they are coming from, relate to them, and help them achieve success while also making sure they are treated fairly. While this is pretty standard on most teams, it’s a vital quality that can be used to create company-wide cohesion that works towards common goals. The best managers are those who are able to understand the needs of their team and adjust their actions accordingly.
5. Personal Motivation
A great manager is someone who will motivate their team to do their best work. They do this by being a great example of someone who works hard and cares about their performance. As a result, they become synonymous with what it means to be an excellent worker in your organization. In good times they know how to lift spirits, and in lean times they know how to reinforce that the team is stronger together than divided against each other.
When workers feel supported in this way it helps them work better together as a team and consistently get great results as a result. If a manager isn’t personally motivated and invested in the company’s goals and values, there is little chance that their subordinates will be either. A manager who has no personal motivation is one who lacks vision and direction in the workplace.
6. A Will to Succeed
Any good manager is a person who has a complete and unwavering belief in their own ability to do the job and that of their subordinates. Someone who lacks that confidence in themselves may not be able to convince others to believe in them either. They possess an unshakable belief in their ability to achieve the goals that are set before them, and in the potential and ability of those around them to do the same. They have a strong will to succeed and can use this strong-willed nature as a tool for motivation with their subordinates.
A good manager is someone who possesses an innate desire to be successful and work hard to achieve success for themselves along with their teams. They have infectious enthusiasm, which draws out equally enthusiastic attitudes from those around them.
What Makes a Great Manager?
While the qualities listed above may not be the abilities that would have mattered to the average manager yesterday, they are what separates good leaders from great ones. If you want to become a better manager, and you know how much your employees tend to appreciate it when you do, then being mindful of these qualities is absolutely worth doing.
When your employees feel supported and motivated, it is likely that they will do their best work for you as a manager. A great manager sets an example for others by consistently doing what’s right instead of just trying to squeeze more out of employees than they have time for.