What Makes a Good Manager


Smiling professional business man and womanIf you are a manager, you probably know it’s not an easy job, and if you work in a team with a manager at the top you may wonder if that manager is a good one or not. Either way, a quick review of the main qualities that make for a good manager could give you a clearer picture of what to build on, if you’re one, or what to expect from your manager.

Without question, the central skill a good manager has is being a good communicator. However, communication skills do not just come from being able to convey a message efficiently, they also involve listening and, says marketing expert Avi Dan, being able to ask questions and listen to their team. Managers who have perfected the skill of asking questions and listening to the answers are a blessing for the team because they encourage free thinking, initiative and creativity and avoid imposing their own take on a situation on those below them in the corporate hierarchy. Naturally, such teams are more productive.

Another pillar on which great management rests is organizational skills and proper prioritizing. Drawing schedules, planning activities and making sure they are followed is the most obvious illustration. Identifying the strong points of each of the members of your team and assigning the most appropriate responsibility is another facet of efficient management. Yet a third one is the ability to think about the job at hand while also keeping an eye on the future. Dealing with existing issues is, of course, the immediate responsibility of a manager, but some planning for the future is advisable to ensure these issues (tight budgets, staff shortage and the like, to mention but few) don’t multiply or become long-term ones.

The ability to build trust within the team is also essential for the smooth work of this team. Internal competition could impede that, so a good manager would watch how things are going in the team and take care of any possible unevenness in individual performance that could threaten the work of the whole team. Being able to motivate every team member is also one of the marks of the good manager. Although it sounds simple enough, motivation means something different for the different people and the team manager should be aware of these differences and act accordingly, showing the team members that their individual concerns and ideas are heard, at least, if not taken into account. One further element of navigating a team is treating everyone in an equal manner, not picking out favorites and making others feel marginal. Needless to say, this could have a devastating effect on morale.

So, are you a good manager who does all these things? Is your manager a good one? The best thing about being good in this job is that everything can be learned and existing skills can be honed in a way that would benefit all parties concerned. It takes a bit of effort and a bit of listening to see what’s the state of the team’s morale and, if it could be improved, asking the team members for their help in this without concern that you’re compromising your position as manager.