Managers are often considered the backbone of a company. They help their team stay motivated and complete the necessary tasks while also encouraging them to improve their skills. But what makes a great manager?
Managers and leaders may seem the same, but they do have their core differences. For example, leaders are usually charismatic, positive, and focused on making sure their vision is understood and embraced. On the other hand, managers may seem more simple: either you agree with their vision or get out.
However, this does not mean they are mutually exclusive. Since a manager is tasked with leading their team to success, having leadership skills is a necessity at times. But a leader may not necessarily have managerial skills since their main task is to lead the company as a whole.
Some of the best managers are able to discover the potential of their team members, develop said potential and give each of them tasks that fit their goals and skill set. In a corporate setting, managers usually act as the intermediary between the company leaders and their employees.
Now that we’ve learned what a great manager is, let’s take a closer look at what qualities they should have.
Qualities a great manager should have
What makes a great manager? A question anyone that started their managerial career probably asked themselves at least once. Still, becoming a manager takes tremendous competence, understanding of their field, as well as patience to guide the team to their potential. Do you have what it takes to be one? Let’s find out!
Be a good coach
Being a manager means taking care of those under your supervision, so having good coaching skills is essential. Aside from getting the work done, the best coaches put an emphasis on helping their team grow and further develop their skills. In other words, they know when to push and when to support them to slow down.
One suitable method you can use is to hold frequent regular meetings with your team members and make sure that they are the ones coming up with the solutions. Your role is to lead them and help them come up with those.
In addition, to deliver quality work, it is important to set certain objectives, Key performance indicators (KPIs), and Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). Also, motivating your staff to be more engaged can help them further showcase their creativity at work.
However, keep in mind that some research indicates that employees are more burned out than ever. And to keep your team healthy, it is important to get to know each of your staff well enough so as to recognise when they need a break and when they can be pushed.
Help the team with career development
A manager that genuinely cares about an employee’s career development would recognise growth rather than merely their deliverables. They take the time to discuss their team members’ long-term career goals and give them advice on possible career pathways inside (and maybe even beyond) the company.
Motivating and empowering their teams is one of the core tasks managers have. However, when you are responsible for a project’s success, sometimes it’s difficult not to try and resist the urge to manage every aspect of a project. Therefore, be careful not to micromanage your team. If you do so, your team members may experience burnout, lack of confidence in their abilities, decreased trust and increased annoyance.
Instead, it is best to macromanage. In other words, practice distributing responsibilities among your team members and encourage them to confidently share their ideas and decisions. Learn your team’s strengths and shortcomings in order to delegate effectively.
Consider assigning tasks that fit your team members’ abilities and objectives. Once you find a way to align their interests with the team’s goals, it will be easier for them to effectively execute their tasks.
Being in a role with so much responsibility can take a toll on anyone. But what makes a great manager is their ability to showcase confidence in any situation. Showing confidence can set the tone for the team, as after seeing how reliable you are, the members are more likely to follow suit.
To be a great manager, you must be confident in your skills, knowledge, and decisions. Although, don’t be mistaken. This does not mean you should act arrogantly or consider yourself superior to your subordinates. But since you have been put in charge for a reason, you should be proud of yourself and set a good example for your staff.
If you’re new and unsure how to build up your confidence, try recognising the tasks you are good at and keeping a log of your accomplishments. During times, you don’t feel as confident, you can encourage yourself by reflecting on those prior achievements.
Recognising that you’re in a difficult situation can also help. When you succeed in overcoming it, be proud of yourself. Use it as a confidence booster and learning opportunity moving forward.
Express interest in team members’ success and personal well-being
Showing care for both the professional growth and personal development of your team can further solidify your relationship with your staff.
Since a manager is someone that the team looks up to, if you do not appreciate them, stress can build up. So keep in mind their time and abilities, be open to hearing from and interacting with them, and show your reliability as a trusted source of information.
Everyone starts from zero, and you may make mistakes along the way, but it will help you learn helpful tips and tricks on how to manage your team and yourself. And as you continue to work hard and grow your skills, it will help the company atmosphere become healthier with stronger and more engaged employees.
Have a clear vision and strategy
Each company has a vision and strategy for its future. One of the responsibilities of a manager is to make sure that the team has access to an actionable version of that vision. They assist their subordinates in understanding how their work affects and contributes to the prosperity of the company.
When setting the goals for your team, you can use the SMART format, which stands for “specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.” Having goals that adhere to this format makes it clear and trackable for your staff. And it makes it easier to assess when they are complete or even missed.
In addition, make sure the tasks you allocate to each team member are within their capacity and development goals. Showing fair treatment will help build an inclusive team that is not afraid to raise diverse ideas.
To monitor your team’s progress toward project objectives, you can also employ goal-setting software that allows you to plan milestones and generates project progress reports. Such software can also help your team work together asynchronously and complete their assignments.
Have important technical skills
Aside from interpersonal skills, being technically proficient can also greatly benefit your team. Having technical skills can come especially in hand when the deadline is very close or another technician is not available to assist.
In addition, experiencing the problems your team might be facing can give you a better idea of what method can be used to help them solve the issue. Knowing that the manager understands their troubles will help team members feel heard and incentivised to move forward without giving up.
Be wise and well-educated
Experiences can be obtained through various methods. Some people may prefer learning through practice, while others may instead want to focus on the basics at an institution first and then put their knowledge to practice.
Whichever way you choose, you might need some advice before starting. For example, when applying for a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA), you would typically first go to MBA admissions consulting before deciding which school to choose. So before you start your managerial journey, it is best to do some research on the company or school you wish to attend and make an informed decision.
Be very productive/results-orientated
Results help you evaluate the performance of your team and check for any shortcomings that can be changed. Being a results-oriented manager ensures that the quality of work is maintained. You can use team meetings to discuss your team’s recent performance and mention what worked and what needs improvement.
In addition, to keep up with the rising demands of clients, it is also important that the manager gets a good rest in order to be more productive. Therefore, think again the next time you think there’s too much work for you to do and it cannot be distributed among your team members. To get the best results in the future, sometimes it is best to relax and take a break.
Furthermore, to avoid miscommunication that can hinder your team’s performance, it is important to clearly set expectations and timelines in advance. You can then preserve everything in a single place so that anybody may check it whenever they need. By planning ahead, the team can better manage their workload and stay on schedule. Remember to also account for emergencies by adding extra time to your project calendar.
Be a good communicator
Managers with good listening skills often develop great communication skills. They give others a chance to speak. They relay the company’s vision to the employees and answer any questions you might have regarding it. And, of course, they inform their colleagues about developments inside the company.
One of the biggest issues a company can face is poor communication. Productivity and task completion can be greatly affected if the communication in the office is subpar. Knowing what has to be done is only the first part. As a good leader and coach, you need to properly communicate and convey the messages/goals to the appropriate departments.
What makes a great manager is their ability to present vital details in an organised and easy-to-understand way. With the internet, you can communicate with your team through staff meetings, chats, or even calls. And interactions can be done using different methods as well, like writing via email or online chat.
Managers play an important structural role in a company. They are the bridge between the top of the company and regular employees.
Their qualifications may differ depending on the department the manager will be in charge of,. However, generally, the following traits are associated with what makes a great manager:
- Being a good coach;
- Helping the team with career development;
- Being confident;
- Expressing interest in team members’ success and personal well-being;
- Having a clear vision and strategy;
- Having important technical skills;
- Being wise and well-educated;
- Being very productive/results-orientated;
- Being a good communicator.
As shown, a great manager often has great interpersonal and technical skills, is patient with the staff, and is willing to put in the necessary time to help them reach their full potential.
About the Author
Lidia S. Hovhan is a Digital Marketing expert and SEO guru. She contributes articles about how to integrate digital marketing strategies with traditional marketing to help companies to meet their business goals. You can find really professional insights in her writings.