Businesses need leaders. While having a team of good employees is essential, high-quality managers are what will help your business put the pieces together. Good managers have a clear impact on how your company performs and how your employees engage with each other and with the tasks at hand.
Whether you are an employer or a team manager yourself, it is important to have an overview of the qualities great managers should have. This way you can hire the best manager for your business, or improve upon your skills to become one of the best managers in your company.
In this article, we look at why great managers are vital to a business’s success. We will also take a look at the key qualities one should possess to be considered as a good manager and what skills should be worked upon to improve these qualities.
Why Great Managers Matter
Companies can’t achieve their goals without employees who are engaged and productive, and managers are the critical touchpoint. According to this Gallup survey, 50% of the workers who quit their jobs do it because of their managers. Employee dissatisfaction with their bosses has been linked to low engagement scores.
Some people are natural leaders. Others, well, are not. Having the technical skills to excel at their jobs doesn’t mean an employee has the necessary interpersonal skills or management abilities to be a good manager. Many managers become overburdening and overly critical, only to reduce workplace engagement which ultimately leads to high turnover rates.
However, even good managers will tell you that managing a team of people is never easy. Hiring or becoming a great manager requires a complex mix of strategizing, prioritizing, technical skills, interpersonal skills, and support from the whole organization to allow managers to really manage effectively.
So let’s take a look at the qualities of great managers and whether your team leaders have what it takes.
Key Qualities of Great Managers
So what characteristics and actions separate mediocre managers from their exceptional peers? Of course, there are many things that can make a difference, but the 5 attributes depicted below are often considered as the most significant qualities of great managers.
Knowing your people
Knowing why each member of your team is unique, their strengths and weaknesses, their response to stress, and their commitment to the company are essential to being a good manager.
Moreover, you need to know how to use everyone’s strengths to optimize performance and balance out their weaknesses so they have a lesser impact. It will allow your team to be more productive, and by proxy, happier. They will be able to use their skills to the best of their abilities and get rewarded for it.
Simultaneously, the business should thrive because you’ll have highly motivated employees doing work they enjoy and excel at.
Another essential manager quality is open communication. Employees need to have clear goals to be able to perform at their best. As long as the manager succeeds at conveying these goals in a clear and succinct manner, your company will already be taking a step in the right direction.
The best managers are able to get their team on the same page so that everyone works toward the same objective, and not a dozen different interpretations of that same objective. Managers need to be able to communicate both verbally and via the written word just as effectively.
Create a healthy work culture
Excellent managers always work towards creating a great work environment, which begins with building a healthy work culture. They understand how their behavior impacts the working environment and their teams.
Are they micromanaging or stressing out employees? They are able to reassess themselves and the way they interact with the workforce to be able to mend the pain points that decrease employee engagement.
Equally, they are masters of dealing with toxic employees before they can hurt other members of the team.
Request and respond to feedback
Good managers aren’t satisfied with just distributing the weekly tasks and keep track of them. Instead, they request feedback from team members. This can be particularly insightful for leaders, as it helps them to see how they may be better able to engender trust and inspire better performance from their team.
Constructive feedback is vital to employees’ ongoing development. Feedback clarifies expectations, helps people learn from their mistakes, and builds confidence.
Focus on performance development
In recent years, we’ve seen employee satisfaction being increasingly linked to their ability to grow and educate themselves in the workplace. Managers have the great responsibility of helping their team members grow and achieve their goals.
This means that you can’t just save feedback and career conversations for the annual review. Consequently, managers need to always be on the lookout when employees need or express a desire for additional training and skillset improvements.
And when additional training is not needed, they still need to be the best possible coaches for their teams. Consistent coaching helps with employee onboarding and retention, performance improvement, skill improvement, and knowledge transfer. On top of these benefits, coaching others is an effective method for reinforcing and transferring learning.
How to Improve your managerial skills
Before we wrap up our article, below are some of the best ways to improve your managerial skills.
- Strengthen your decision-making – Being an effective manager requires knowing how to analyze complex business problems and implement a plan for moving forward.
- Cultivate self-awareness – This core ability requires some emotional intelligence and an honest evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses.
- Build trust – according to research outlined in the Harvard Business Review, employees at high-trust companies report less stress, higher productivity, and better engagement.
- Find time for reflection – schedule reflection sessions shortly after the completion of a project and invite all members of your team to participate, encouraging debate.
Management skills are something you learn, not something you’re born with. Fortunately, this means that anyone in a managerial position can work on their management skills and get better at them. And discovering your own strengths as a manager will help you become the great leader you were always meant to be.