What Makes a Good Manager

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Most employees would do anything to earn the opportunity to become a manager. But why? What makes them yearn to earn this tag?

Is it just the respect that comes with the title? Or is it the added responsibility that comes with it? Or, is it simply the feeling of satisfaction in achieving a career milestone?

Well, the answer is all of it. It’s the combination of all of these feelings that pushes us hard to rise above our peers and take charge of one of the most crucial positions in an organization. That said, while the managerial position does have its benefits in terms of career development, it can also be a thankless role.

The reason why I say that is because a good manager has to keep a fine balance between employees’ needs and requirements, business goals, and their well-being and aspirations. And, that’s easier said than done.

More often than not, managers have to manage so many things at the same time that they experience constant stress. They are held solely responsible for both the success and failure of projects as well as the performance of the teams they are leading. While the entire blame for project failure is placed on the manager, the credit for its success is often given to the whole team. So, if you have just earned this opportunity, you better pull your socks up and prepare yourself for challenging (as well as rewarding) times ahead.

Given below are five key qualities that separate good managers from mediocre and poor managers. The latter can take a leaf out of the book of the former to improve his/her management skills significantly.

Qualities That Make A Good Manager

1. They Align Organizational Purpose With Team Goals 

Collaborate Across Project Management Tool

These are times when businesses are undergoing a massive transformation as regulatory changes, competition, and technological innovations are regularly updated. Organizations today need to be dynamic in order to adjust and adapt to the latest developments. Good managers don’t just tell their employees to do tasks; they also tell them why they need to do what they are assigned to do.

Employees who connect their work with the mission of their organization feel their job is more important and their work holds much significance. However, the majority of employees are still unsure about how their work contributes to the “big picture”. Good managers help them understand the value of their work and how it’s vital to achieve organizational goals.

2. They Demonstrate Empathy With Their Team

A study by research firm DDI shows that empathy is one of the main drivers of overall performance amongst managers. Another study by the Center for Creative Leadership (CCI) shows that managers with an empathetic behavior toward their team are viewed as good performers by their bosses.

Empathetic managers understand the emotions of their team members. They understand how team members are feeling and this quality enables them to communicate effectively and solve problems right in the bud. As a result, their employees trust them more and managers can build rapport, which fuels team success. Being empathic towards employees equips good managers to form personal bonds with employees and foster long-term relationships with them.

3. They Delegate Tasks Effectively 

Good managers delegate tasks effectively. They demonstrate faith in their employees’ ability to perform delegated tasks and allow them to learn new skills and develop strengths that they might not otherwise know they have. Good managers don’t delegate tasks randomly; they identify potential within their teams and assign work to the right people using the right methods and tools.

Good managers delegate tasks and split responsibilities according to the potential and talent within teams. This helps to significantly improve overall organizational efficiency as well as time management. Assigning important tasks also helps team members develop confidence in their abilities, which motivates them further to put in their best efforts.

4. They Set Clear Goals And Expectations 

Point out Other People’s Potential

Clarity is the pathway to solid results, but a recent survey shows that 42% of employees have cited having unclear goals as their biggest source of stress. Good managers are quite direct and specific about their expectations from employees. They don’t give broad and vague instructions – thereby leaving no space for ambiguity. Whether it’s small daily tasks or a long-term project, good managers have a clear idea of what they expect from every employee, based on their ability and capacity.

Many good managers use the SMART goal method to define expectations. They also validate their expectations with specific reasons as to how these will positively affect you, your organization, and the employees themselves. When employees understand the reasoning behind the task, they’ll be more compliant and eager to take the required steps to meet expectations.

5. They Make Communication A Priority 

Navigate the Tough Conversations with Poise

Effective communication is the key to not only maintaining amicable relationships in the workplace but also delivering work successfully. Good managers are the first ones to recognize this, and therefore, invest their time and energy in ensuring a smooth flow of communication throughout the project.

From navigating team meetings with poise to providing people with the right direction in the project – a great project manager ensures that things never slip through the cracks. They are not afraid to take the help of the available resources like online communication tools for the same.

6. They Bring Out The Best In Their People  

Manage by Trust, Not by Fear

Only 45 percent of employees are completely satisfied with the amount of recognition they receive. Poor managers are biased, but good managers identify and understand the differences that every individual brings, evaluate performance fairly, without prejudice. Best managers always recognize good performance and give credit where it’s due. Even when they identify weaknesses or faults, they criticize constructively so as to make employees realize their mistakes and work hard to correct them.

Good managers make sure they have an effective review process in place to evaluate performance fairly. Thanking your employees for their contributions and rewarding them for the job well done goes a long way in improving their morale. Good managers respect their employees and show them that they are valuable assets to the organization. Even the smallest of achievements need to be celebrated at first. Believe in your team even if no one else does, and you will certainly bring out the best in them.

7. They Leverage The Latest Technology  

Smart managers know that technology, like project management software or online collaboration tool, is there to simplify the way they handle their teams, and their teams manage their work. They know that technology has a solution for everything  – right from efficient task management and simplified collaboration to effortless reporting and time tracking.

This is the reason they never hesitate to invest in the latest tools. In fact, they are the first ones to look for tech solutions to make life easy for their teams and make them productive. By doing so they are able to not only bring the distractions to a minimum, but also bring the best out of every team member, and that’s the reason why they are loved by everyone.

8. They Set Up The Team For Success

Motivate the Team 

Good managers don’t just inspire their teams to collaborate and work efficiently, they don’t settle until the team reaches the pinnacle of success. To ensure this, they focus on individual performances, while aligning their efforts with the overall team goal.

By bringing together all the aspects of successful team building like communication, collaboration, clarity and trust, they make sure that the team knows the purpose of their efforts. They know that success comes only with collaborative efforts, and that’s exactly what they inspire the team to perform.

9. They Inspire At Every Level

They Communicate Employee Appreciation

Most importantly, a good manager never fails to inspire others. This inspiration comes at many levels; from boosting the morale of the team when things are not going right to talking it out with individuals when they are facing problems in their personal lives.

Good managers know that their role is not limited to only making a productive environment. Rather they have a role to play in building a positive work culture so that  individuals thrive, and continue to strive for betterment at every level. When you are part of a positive work environment, innovation and creativity come out naturally. And, that’s one of the hallmarks of a great team, led by an equally able manager.

The Final Thought 

In a nutshell, being a manager is all about handling not just your work but your team with great responsibility. You are expected to deliver the goods as well as command the respect of your team. And a good manager knows how to achieve this. They cultivate happiness at work and encourage every employee to be a better version of themselves.

Good managers positively influence the lives of their team members and help them develop their skills. They groom them for senior roles in the organization in the future. That said, you can’t become a great manager overnight. You need to actively make efforts to improve and be consistent.

So, are you ready to take the steps necessary to become a good manager?

“What Makes a Good Manager (the Ultimate Guide of Dos and Don’ts).” ProofHub, 21 May 2021, https://www.proofhub.com/articles/what-makes-a-good-manager.

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