What makes a good Manager?

People who are not in a management position simply do not understand how much effort, skill and knowledge is required to do the job and be a good manager at the same time. Whilst being a manager is by and large highly satisfying, it is not easy, it is filled with a huge variety of daily challenges and stresses and takes a particular type of person to do it well. So, thinking about this I decided to write out a list of all the things I could think of that a good manager does in any one day, it surprised me, and I think it will surprise you as well.

How do you rate against this list?

What it takes

Organizational awareness

· Understands and interprets the purpose of the business?

· Knows who the customers are

· Knows the stakeholders

· Understands and develops various, different relationships

· Is a chosen field subject matter expert

People management skills

· Understands that employees are the greatest asset and how you lead, motivate and inspire them has a huge impact on the success of the business

· Leads followers by example

· Inspires others

· Supports and motivates

· Shows commitment and passion

· Is accountable

· Sets individual performance goals/KPIs, develops a plan to achieve the goals/KPIs

· Empowers team members so that they can achieve their goals

· Mentors, assesses performance and makes adjustments

· Provides feedback and always give a reason why

· Has honesty and integrity

· Exudes positivity

· Knows how to effectively delegate

Manages one or more teams

· Talks to and gets to know team members

· Manages team members as individuals and accepts differences

· Works with team members to set a common goal

· Knows which people are needed and those that are not

· Understands an individual’s team roles and strengths

· Has excellent listening and communication skills

· Builds good working relationships

· Brings people together to solve problems

· Builds trust within the team

· Collaborates bringing people together to do a range of activities

· Runs meetings

· Mentors and develops team members

Manages, Organizes and Plans

· Thinks tactically and strategically

· Is at least a month ahead of their team in terms of planning

· Has good time management skills, can effectively manage time and prioritize tasks

· Is a problem solver

· Uses various Work management tools like Email, Scheduler, Diary, Team and Project Management

· Organizes own and others work

· Understands budgeting, basic accounting and financial management

· Is a good decision maker, knows the value of sleeping on it

· Arranges files and has a clean desk policy

· Manages unplanned work and surprises

· Uses various management techniques

· Establishes work procedures and processes

· Knows that you can’t manage what you can’t measure

· Establishes guidelines

Management Style

· Traditional, Progressive or Transformational — always aiming to do better

· Knows about managing upwards, downwards and sideways

· Has leadership skills

· Is consistent

· Is intelligent

· Is patient

· Is part psychologist

· Is an influencer, persuader and a parent

Common descriptions of good managers:

· They provide leadership

· Is supportive and forgiving

· Motivates and has a positive attitude

· Has an open door policy

· Is easy to talk to

· Provides challenging work

Common descriptions of poor managers:

· Incompetent

· Poor communicator

· Poor listener

· Rude, abrupt, arrogant, humiliating

· Shows no interest

Common reasons why people resign:

· Poor management

· Lack of advancement

· Insufficient remuneration

· Boredom, low job satisfaction

· Poor workplace culture, lack of respect

· Better opportunity

Common attributes of poor organizations:

· See their employees as units of labour, easily replaceable and not worth investing in.

· Inferior at training their mid-level managers, preferring instead to invest in leadership training for senior executives.

· Vests a lot of power in individual managers, allowing them to impose their form of control, rules, and regulations just as long as they achieve business goals imposed on them from above

· Managers are intimidating people in positions of power who are coercive, dictatorial and distrusting.

A research study on American employees from Gallup found that 50% resign due to bad management. The study continues to show that having a ‘bad’ boss creates unhappiness in the office, adding stress and spreading negativity to their home life and families. Finally, workers feel like they’re given little guidance as to what’s expected of them.

What do employees want?

Today’s new generation of employees unlike the Baby Boomers before them are vocal about what they want their workplace to look like, they will not accept the old-style methods of the traditional management model which they view as managing, administering, stifling, unreasonable and unwarranted. They want managers who recognize them for their efforts, who work in a collaborative, supportive and motivational manner.

They want a say in how the workplace is managed, where free-thinking, empowerment and service and community are put ahead of self-interest. Progressive management styles and High-Performance Teams are perfect for them, they fulfil their willingness and desire to work across teams, as well as their constant need for feedback, reinforcement and praise for their being tech-savvy. No matter how they are viewed, the simple truth is that the new generation looks at work dramatically different than the generation that immediately preceded them.

The effects of different management styles

The Traditional Manager

These managers jobs are to plan, organize staff, direct and control. They are largely autocratic and sometimes viewed as intimidating and can rule with compulsion, force, control and secrecy. They command respect through seniority and years of service and will in extreme circumstances use physical, psychological, and economic force. They set expectations for the employees below them who need to meet certain goals, but the manager receives the reward for achieving those goals. These managers also tend to experience a frequent turnover of employees, they do not always welcome new ideas and are often unaware of problems amongst their team members.

The Copycat Manager

These are managers who have received no supervisory or management training and who have been subjected to traditional managers as their management role models. Not knowing any better, they simply copy the traditional management style believing this is what the path to success looks like. These managers success, attitudes and approach to their employees is largely based upon their personalities. Some can be extremely effective whilst most are abnormal, they are the cause of much employee dissatisfaction.

The Reluctant Manager

There are two types, the first is the manager who is appointed based on seniority or years of service where capability can be irrelevant, it is simply a matter of who is next in line. The second are people who don’t want to be a manager but accept or apply for a promotion for the pay or prestige. These people fundamentally lack any management potential, they are usually angry and frustrated as they have great difficulty in influencing and motivating others.

The Progressive Manager

These are managers who have adopted one of the newer management styles such as Servant, Democratic, Participative or Collaborative. Progressive managers have known for decades that the traditional, hierarchical pyramid model is outdated. It does not suit today’s fast-moving environment, nor does it suit today’s employees. Its rigidity cannot support agility, speed, or engagement, and then there is the troubling aspect of vesting of too much often-abusive power in managers over their employees. A progressive management style is marked by transparency and sharing information with employees where progressive leaders empower everyone. It is a leadership style that values sharing and collaboration.

The Transformational Manager

Transformational management is a progressive style with managers who are agile and who focus their efforts on pushing their team members to ever greater accomplishments through encouragement, pushing them regularly past their comfort zones and motivating them to raise their bar for achievements. They motivate their team members to do more than they thought was possible, they work alongside their employees, inspiring them to ever greater efforts by demonstrating their work ethic. Transformational managers set challenging expectations and typically achieve higher performance outcomes from their teams. They manage people as valuable individuals, identifying and developing their talents. They are role models who are respected and trusted and they build High-Performance Teams.

So, if you are a manager, congratulate yourself every day just for getting through your day. And if you are thinking about management, it is a great job to have, highly rewarding and satisfying but as you have seen there are many demands and a lot to do.

Originally published at https://www.russellfutcher.com on April 12, 2021.

IT Change Management, High-Performance Management and Teams Specialist, Leadership Development, Team Building, Author

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