A recipe for great managers

Everyone knows that great management can either make or break your team, productivity, and success. An effective manager makes the difference between an underperforming team and an empowered team. So while hiring the right people is foundational, an org’s internal policies, programs, and a culture that supports skillful leadership can also elevate great managers.

So what makes a great manager?

There are a few characteristics that can signify a manager’s potential for success:

  • Strong leadership: A leader does not make a manager (necessarily). That is to say, those with strong leadership skills must also be able to develop additional skills to succeed in a manager position. Good managers motivate everyone to ensure that the project moves forward in the right direction.
  • Fearlessness: Strong leaders aren’t afraid to move the pack in a specific direction. They do not flinch when it comes to admitting their mistakes, taking responsibility, and acknowledging personal weaknesses. Neither are they afraid to pick up new skills to enhance their abilities and knowledge.
  • Empathy and support: Empathy and compassion are necessary as they encourage better communication and collaboration. Great managers can place themselves in their employees’ shoes and understand where they may need additional support. They will also be willing to see through different viewpoints and give encouragement to see a job well done.

Are great managers born or made?

Of course, certain innate qualities can enhance any manager profile—leadership skills, strong communication, and empathy. However, companies have the power to improve these qualities by creating internal practices and policies to encourage the development of strong managerial attributes.

Creating a company culture to support great management

Even if your management is excellent, there are ways to enhance your policies, best practices, and culture to give them additional support. Here are a few fundamentals that will help your managers in leading the pack:

1) Opportunities for appreciation. Make sure that your managers have ample platforms and opportunities to show individuals appreciation. This could be 1:1 employee reviews, public platforms, or even funding to have team awards or special events.

2) Encourage team motivation. Great managers know that encouragement and inspiration are essential. Give your managers tools to motivate, including an open work environment, room for exchanging ideas, promotions based on performance, and cooperative competition.

3) Balance independence with direction. An ineffective manager may simply hand out instructions, but a great manager cultivates personal motivation and drive towards success. Encourage managers to balance freedom and creativity with stable guidance.

4) Ensure that your managers are not strapped for time. Businesses typically move at a fast pace, so it’s important that your leaders are available for concerns and questions that arise. An open-door policy and taking time to communicate with their employees when needed will go a long way.

5) Establish clear priorities and goals. Clear expectations and goals help manage teams towards a successful outcome. Vague goals without a concrete outcome make it difficult for managers to plan and organize their teams. Getting clear from the top will allow managers to execute plans and hold their teams accountable.

Establishing core values and trust 

While effective managers provide feedback, inspire, and motivate employees, bad managers give directives without explanation or context. This fails to bring an internal motivation to the individuals that make up a team.

On the other hand, they may be overbearing, afraid of criticism and feedback, or ignore suggestions. It could be that they are incompetent at organizing or communicating. As a result, they end up creating a negative environment that can zap any team of its energy and motivation. 

Thus, the key to effective management is to shift the mindset of employees. They should believe on some level that they share the values of their leaders and the company. Maintaining a positive and upbeat attitude will help motivate your employees. Studies have shown that happier teams are more productive and creative, leading to higher employee retention and more successful teams.

How much are good managers worth?

According to Gallup research, employee engagement can double when management talent is improved. The results lie in higher performance, productivity, and profits. Ultimately, creating a company culture that fosters great management is a worthy investment and can be accomplished by implementing policies that can make good management great.