Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What Makes a Good Manager?

I was talking with a class last week about the best and worst jobs we have ever had. When asking why we did not enjoy that "worst job" a good portion of people agreed that the difference was our supervisor. Most of us have had that boss that made our jobs miserable, that did not support our efforts, or that were just flat-out bad managers.

Many people strive to move forward in their career, which often translates into taking on a leadership role. However, many of us are not cut out to lead people or go into those jobs unprepared. It is unpleasant to think of ourselves as our employee's "worst boss". Maybe you can use this list of traits that make a good manager to prepare yourself as you move forward in your career - and keep yourself off that bad boss list!

Confidence - A good manager does not need to know everything. However, they need to have enough confidence in themselves to believe that they will figure it out. A good manager is decisive and has confidence in their own capability of making good decisions

Dependability or Reliability - As a manger, your people must be able to count on you and trust that you will support them. Unpredictability is not a favorable trait in a leader.

Calm Under Pressure - When everything is falling apart or the going gets rough, the team needs someone at its helm who keeps their head on straight, figures out the root cause of issues, and does what it takes to get back on track.

Integrity - Leaders must always choose the right path, as opposed to the easiest path. A good manager does what they say they will do and can be counted on to enforce the rules with consistency.

Willing to Share the Load - Managers who are not willing to delegate are not only unproductive, they also never develop the skills of their team. When you delegate tasks, it demonstrates that you trust your team and believe in their ability to contribute.

Flexible Communication Style - Good leaders modify their communication style to meet their teams needs instead of expecting their team to adjust. If a manager can not express their expectations and standards clearly - both orally and in writing - their team will have no cohesion.

Listening Skills - Managers must exercise active listening skills. Ask for and value the opinions, feedback, and ideas of your team and your productivity will skyrocket.

Respect - The manager-subordinate relationship must be one of mutual respect. Running a team as a dictatorship can get results, but will not lead to a positive, collaborative work environment. Speak to your people with respect and try to see things from their point of view.

Dedicated to Their Team's Growth - People often leave a company because they feel like their manager is holding them back. It is a testament to your leaderships skills if you are constantly mentoring and promoting people out of your team. Of course you will miss your well-trained team, but it is selfish and short-sighted not to help your employees succeed.

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