What Makes a Good Manager - Peter Boolkah

In the vast sea of business operations, the manager stands as the lighthouse, guiding the vessel toward success. A manager’s role is as challenging as it is rewarding – it’s a dance, a balancing act of sorts, between maintaining operations, inspiring the team, and driving growth. But what truly sets a good manager apart from the rest? Is it an innate ability, or can it be developed over time?

In this article, we’ll explore the fundamental qualities of a good manager. We’ll delve into the skills and attributes that can turn an ordinary manager into a great leader. Whether you’re a seasoned or new manager, prepare to unlock your management potential and lead your team towards unprecedented success.

What makes a good manager - Peter Boolkah

Why Is Good Management So Important?

Good management is the bedrock of a successful organisation. It is the driving force that transforms a group of individuals into a cohesive, high-performing team. A good manager fosters an environment of open communication, mutual respect, and shared goals. This cultivates a positive workplace culture wherein employees feel valued, motivated, and engaged.

Furthermore, a good manager is essential for strategic planning and decision-making. A great manager provides clear direction, sets realistic goals, and monitors progress, ensuring the team stays on track and achieves its objectives. They possess the ability to make sound decisions under pressure, considering both the short-term and long-term implications for the organisation.

16 Traits of a Good Manager

1. Inclusive

An inclusive manager recognises and values the diverse experiences and perspectives that each teammate brings to the table. They create an environment where all voices are heard and considered, ensuring that no one feels sidelined or undervalued. Inclusivity is about more than just fairness; it can also drive innovation and lead to better decision-making skills.

By creating a diverse and inclusive work culture, the manager can foster a more creative and dynamic team. They understand that different viewpoints can lead to more robust discussions and ultimately, better solutions. Moreover, an inclusive manager is skilled at managing conflicts and disagreements in a respectful and constructive manner. They ensure that everyone feels safe to express their ideas and opinions, fostering a culture of open dialogue and mutual respect.

2. Caring

Good managers make sure to prioritize their team’s well-being. They acknowledge the team as individuals rather than just employees, demonstrating empathy and understanding. They’re attuned to the needs and challenges of the team, offering support when necessary.

It’s not just about work-related matters; a caring manager also shows interest in the personal lives of their team, building a stronger, more trusting relationship. This doesn’t mean crossing professional boundaries, but rather signalling that people are valued for who they are, not just the work they do. This caring nature fuels a supportive and encouraging environment, enhancing job satisfaction and overall team morale.

3. Honest

A good manager knows the importance of integrity. They are always speaking the truth and standing up for what’s right. They are transparent in their actions and decisions, fostering an environment of trust and reliability.

Their openness encourages employees to voice concerns without fear, fostering a culture of transparency. This straightforward, trustworthy nature is a cornerstone of a good leader, promoting a sense of security and loyalty among members of the team. Honesty also leads to clarity in expectations and objectives, avoiding any miscommunication or misunderstanding.

4. Empowering and motivating

A good manager empowers their team, fostering a culture of autonomy and responsibility. They delegate effectively, entrust tasks, and provide the necessary resources for success. They’re motivators, inspiring their team by highlighting the impact of their work and celebrating achievements.

An empowering manager cultivates an environment where teammates feel confident to take initiative, learn, and grow, fuelling productivity and innovation. This sense of empowerment and motivation not only boosts individual performance but also elevates the entire team, paving the way for organisational success.

5. Decisive

Good managers are aware of the importance of being decisive, striking a balance between careful consideration and timely action, to effectively lead their teams. They gather and analyse relevant information, weigh the pros and cons, and then make firm, informed decisions. This decisiveness prevents stagnation and drives progress.

Importantly, a decisive manager also takes responsibility for their choices, demonstrating leadership and fostering trust within the team. This decisive trait is pivotal to steering the team confidently through uncertain situations, reinforcing a sense of security and purpose among members of the team.

6. Confident

A confident manager and leader exudes self-assuredness without seeming arrogant. They have a clear understanding of their own abilities and leverage them to inspire and lead their team effectively. A confident manager makes informed decisions, stands by them, and is not afraid to take calculated risks.

Despite inevitable setbacks, their unwavering conviction instils a sense of trust and optimism within the team, which can be incredibly motivating. In essence, a manager’s confidence acts as an anchor, providing stability and direction in a sea of business uncertainties.

7. Enable Employee Development

Good managers should focus on understanding the professional aspirations of their team members and actively promote employee development. They create opportunities for career development by providing meaningful feedback, encouraging skill acquisition, and offering mentorship, exemplifying exceptional management.

By investing in their team’s development, a manager not only enhances the capabilities within the team but also motivates individuals, fostering a sense of value and commitment. Such a nurturing environment bolsters efficiency, innovation, and overall team performance, while also retaining top talent within the organisation.

Empower The Team

8. Empower Their Team

An excellent manager empowers their team, fostering a sense of autonomy and ownership. This entails trusting members of the team with meaningful tasks, providing them with the necessary tools and resources, and believing in their capabilities. It’s about creating a supportive environment where individuals feel confident to take initiative and make decisions.

An empowered team is more likely to be engaged, creative, and committed, driving efficiency and innovation. In essence, a manager who empowers their team not only elevates individual performance but also strengthens the collective success of the organisation.

9. Provide Coaching

Good managers serves as a coach, guiding their team towards improving skills and achieving their full potential. This entails offering constructive feedback, sharing expertise, and encouraging continuous learning.

They identify areas for growth and provide opportunities for professional development. They help to cultivate a growth mindset within the team, sparking motivation and innovation. Ultimately, a manager who champions coaching not only betters individual performance but also contributes to the overall success of the organisation.

10. Active Listening

If you want to excel as a manager, you need to develop active listening skills. It involves fully engaging with and understanding a speaker, beyond just hearing their words. It’s about attentiveness, empathy, and responding appropriately. This practice fosters respect, validates team members’ ideas, and promotes open workplace communication.

An active listener addresses concerns effectively, resolves conflicts, and makes everyone feel valued. This skill significantly enhances team relationships, fostering a truly collaborative and supportive work environment.

11. Organizational Skills

Organisational skills are crucial for an exceptionally good manager and an effective leader. These skills extend beyond just keeping a tidy desk; they involve effectively managing time, resources, and workload. A well-organised manager efficiently delegates tasks, establishes realistic deadlines, and ensures all team members are clear about their roles and responsibilities.

They have a strategic approach to prioritise important tasks and are adept at multitasking without compromising on quality. Moreover, they maintain comprehensive records, which allow for transparency, accountability, and informed decision-making. These organisational competencies contribute to a smooth workflow, improved efficiency, and a stress-free work environment.

12. Develop Adaptability

Adaptability is a defining trait of an excellent manager. It is the ability to pivot and adjust to new challenges, unexpected developments, and shifting business landscapes. An adaptable manager is not straitjacketed by tradition or rigid plans but instead welcomes change with an open mind and a flexible approach.

They are solution-oriented, capable of thinking on their feet and devising innovative strategies to navigate unforeseen circumstances. This agility allows them to lead their team through transitions smoothly, minimising disruption and maintaining productivity. Moreover, an adaptable manager encourages their team to embrace change and nurtures a culture of resilience and flexibility within the workspace. In a rapidly evolving business world, adaptability is not just an asset; it’s a necessity. It fosters resilience, encourages innovation, and ultimately, drives the sustained success of the organisation.

13. Establish Good Communication Norms

Good communication is the lifeblood of effective management. A good manager must establish this norm within the team, setting the standard for clarity, openness, and respect. This involves ensuring that every team member feels comfortable expressing their views, questions, and concerns without fear of judgment or backlash. It’s about promoting active listening, constructive feedback, and meaningful dialogue.

Established communication norms should also encourage regular updates and transparent sharing of information, thus eliminating ambiguity and fostering a sense of unity and shared purpose. When adhered to consistently, these norms help prevent misunderstandings, resolve conflicts, and align the team toward common goals. Therefore, a manager’s ability to establish good communication norms is instrumental in creating a harmonious and efficient work environment, ultimately leading to the organisation’s success.

14. Fair Treatment

Good managers understand how important fair treatment is. This principle extends beyond mere compliance with equality and non-discrimination laws; it encapsulates a broader ethos of respect, equity, and justice. Such a manager ensures that every team member, regardless of their role, experience, or background, is given equal opportunities for growth, recognized for their contributions, and treated with dignity.

Decisions regarding promotions, rewards, or assignments are made objectively, based on merit rather than favouritism or bias. This sense of fairness fosters trust, promotes a sense of belonging, and enhances team morale. When team members feel they are treated fairly, they are more likely to be engaged, motivated, and committed to the organisation’s success.

15. Technical Capability

Technical capability is a cornerstone of effective leadership and management. A proficient manager is well-versed in the technical aspects of the job, possessing the knowledge and skills necessary to guide their team. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are the foremost expert in every facet of the work, but they should have a solid understanding of the tasks, processes, and challenges their team faces.

Furthermore, they should be capable of using relevant project management software and other collaboration tools and technology, interpreting data, and applying technical knowledge to solve problems and make informed decisions. The technical capability of the manager allows them to provide practical help and advice to their team, assess performance accurately, and lead by example. This expertise also commands respect, fosters trust, and facilitates effective communication, paving the way for a harmonious and efficient work environment.

16. Hold Themselves Accountable

Accountability is a key characteristic of a good manager qualities. It pertains to their willingness to take ownership of their decisions, actions, and ultimately, the performance of their team. An accountable manager does not shy away from taking responsibility for the outcomes, be they successful or less so. They recognise that as a leader, they set the tone for the rest of the team.

When things go well, they give credit where it’s due; and when things go awry, they don’t play the blame game, but instead, analyse the situation objectively, learn from it, and devise strategies for improvement. This sense of accountability fosters a culture of transparency, trust, and mutual respect within the team. Moreover, it sets a powerful example for team members, encouraging them to also take responsibility for their work.

Lead Your Team Better

How to Lead Your Team Better & Become a More Successful Manager

Delegate vs Micromanagement

Understanding what delegation and micromanagement entail is important if you want to become a good manager. Delegation empowers team members, fostering a sense of trust, autonomy, and ownership over their work. This not only boosts their confidence and motivation but also encourages personal growth and development. Managers who delegate effectively are able to focus their time and energy on strategic matters, rather than getting entangled in the nitty-gritty of daily operations. To do it effectively, ‌you must first understand the strengths and weaknesses of your team. Try to delegate in a way that plays to your team’s strengths—and their goals.

On the other hand, micromanagement, where a manager excessively controls or scrutinises an employee’s work, can create a stifling workplace. It can erode trust, dampen morale, and stifle innovation and creativity. Despite the manager’s intention to ensure quality and prevent mistakes, micromanagement often leads to low employee engagement, high turnover rates, and ultimately, reduced efficiency.

Hence, the key lies in finding the golden mean. A great manager provides clear direction and support, sets expectations, but also steps back to give their team the space to take charge and learn from their experiences.

Set Clear Goals and Expectations

Establishing clear goals and expectations is a fundamental management skill. A proficient manager aligns their team with the company’s vision and objectives, breaking down these into manageable tasks and setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals for each team member.

Additionally, setting clear expectations about work processes, quality standards, and behavioural norms is equally important. These expectations provide a framework that guides day-to-day operations and interactions, facilitating harmonious working relationships and consistent high-quality outputs.

When team members are clear about what is expected of them, they are more likely to feel confident, stay motivated, and perform effectively. A great manager takes the time to communicate expectations clearly, regularly review progress, provide constructive feedback, and recognise achievements. In doing so, they foster a culture of transparency, accountability, and shared commitment to success.

Make Use of Collaborative Tools

In the modern digital business environment, making use of collaborative tools is essential for effective management. These tools facilitate communication, coordination, and cooperation amongst teams, allowing for seamless sharing of ideas, information, and resources. A good manager leverages a range of collaborative tools to manage projects, track progress, and streamline workflows.

Tools like Microsoft Teams, Slack, Asana, Trello, and Google Workspace, to name a few, offer functionalities that support real-time communication, document collaboration, task management, and video conferencing. These features foster a sense of teamwork and unity, even in remote working setups, and ensure everyone is on the same page.

Regular Team Building

Regular team building is a crucial aspect of successful management. It facilitates the development of stronger relationships within the team, fosters better communication, and enhances overall team performance.

Team building activities can range from simple ice-breaker games to complex problem-solving tasks, all designed to encourage individuals to work together, understand each other better, and appreciate diverse perspectives. Regularly conducting such activities helps to build a cohesive, cooperative, and high-performing team.

Moreover, team building can also uncover hidden skills and talents among team members, promote a sense of belonging, and boost morale. It provides a platform for team members to interact outside the usual work context, helping to reduce conflicts and improve mutual understanding.

Foster Innovation

Good managers always strive to create an environment that nurtures innovation. Innovation serves as the lifeblood of a thriving business, propelling growth, competitive advantage, and long-term sustainability. It extends beyond the mere creation of new products or services, encompassing the quest for process improvement, enhanced efficiency, and elevated customer experiences.

A skilled manager fosters a work culture of creative thinking, values diverse perspectives, and embraces calculated risks. They acknowledge that exceptional ideas can emerge from any level of the organization, thus promoting open communication, collaboration, and knowledge sharing. They also recognize the significance of failure within the innovation process, reframing mistakes as invaluable learning opportunities. This mindset cultivates a culture of experimentation and continuous enhancement.

Furthermore, forward-thinking managers invest in training and development initiatives to equip their team with the latest skills and knowledge. They implement systems to capture and evaluate ideas, empowering their team members to think outside the box and contribute to the organization’s innovation objectives.

Help Increase Team Productivity

Good managers keep their team on the right track and aim to increase team efficiency. In essence, it’s about creating an environment that enables team members to perform at their best. This begins with understanding each individual’s strengths, weaknesses, motivations, and work style, and leveraging these to allocate tasks effectively. It involves setting clear and realistic company goals, providing the necessary resources, and removing any obstacles that may hinder productivity.

Moreover, a good manager is proactive in identifying and addressing efficiency killers such as unnecessary meetings, excessive emails, and inefficient processes. They streamline workflows, promote effective time management, and implement tools to automate routine tasks. This not only saves time but also reduces stress and allows the team to focus on high-value activities.

Additionally, a good manager recognises the importance of a healthy work-life balance. They understand that overwork can lead to burnout, which can severely impact efficiency. Thus, they encourage regular breaks, flexible working hours, and respect personal time, thereby promoting well-being and sustained efficiency.

Give and Receive Feedback

Good managers use feedback in a manner that motivates and encourages, rather than demotivates or discourages. They focus on the behaviour or the action, not the person, and provide specific, actionable recommendations. They also ensure that positive feedback is part of the mix, recognising the job well done and reinforcing positive behaviours. This balance creates a supportive atmosphere, builds confidence, and drives continuous improvement.

Receiving feedback is equally important. A good manager values the opinions and insights of their team and is open to receiving feedback about their own performance. They understand that this two-way process builds trust, enhances mutual respect, and fosters a company culture of learning and development. By actively seeking and acting upon feedback, managers not only improve their own performance and leadership skills but also show their team the value of being open to suggestions and continuous learning. Thus, giving and receiving feedback is critical to maintaining a dynamic, transparent, and high-performing workplace.

Summary

Effective management is an art that requires a delicate balance between various dimensions. It involves fostering innovation, enhancing productivity, providing and receiving feedback, and promoting a healthy work-life balance. A successful manager needs to be a leader, but also a mentor, facilitator, and team player.

They empower their team to reach their fullest potential. The quality of management significantly impacts the workplace, team morale, and overall organizational success. Therefore, investing in the development of good management skills can yield remarkable dividends for individuals and organizations alike.

FAQs

What are the 4 types of managers?

There are generally four types of managers, each with distinct styles and roles within an organisation:

  • The Autocratic Manager: This type of manager takes a top-down approach to management, making decisions without consulting their team or considering their feedback. They value obedience and control over their team and make most of the decisions unilaterally.
  • The Democratic Manager: Also known as the participative manager, they value the input and feedback from their team, often involving them in decision-making. This style promotes collaboration and fosters a sense of ownership and engagement in the team.
  • The Laissez-faire Manager: This hands-off approach to management allows employees to make their own decisions with minimal guidance. This style is generally effective in creative or highly skilled environments where employees are self-motivated and capable of independent work.
  • The Transactional Manager: This type of manager focuses on the role of supervision, organisation, and performance of a group. They are mainly concerned with maintaining routine by managing day-to-day operations and tasks.

What is the most effective manager?

The most effective manager is often considered to be the transformational manager. Unlike transactional management, which focuses primarily on supervising, organising, and performance measures, transformational management seeks to inspire employees, stimulating and motivating them to exceed their roles.

By doing so, this style of manager promotes a culture of innovation, continuous improvement, and personal development. They are forward-thinking and strive for the overall betterment and success of their team, rather than just focusing on task completion. However, it’s important to note that the most effective management style can vary depending on the organisational context and the individual characteristics of the team.

How can a team member become manager?

A team member can become a manager by demonstrating a great leadership style, such as effective communication, strategic thinking, and the ability to motivate and inspire others. Earning a management position often involves gaining experience in various roles within the team to understand its dynamics, strengths, and areas for improvement. It’s also beneficial to pursue professional development opportunities, like management training courses or workshops, to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge.

Proactively seeking feedback and using it for self-improvement can also show one’s commitment to personal growth and leadership. Lastly, it can be useful to find a mentor on leadership development, perhaps a current or former manager, who can provide guidance, share their experiences, and offer insights into the responsibilities and challenges of a managerial role.

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