I’ve seen good and bad managers over the years as I analyzed organizations, managements, and their performance in a competitive marketplace. What I have found is that there is a direct correlation between organizational success and the quality of its management. Ineffective management produces ineffective results.
So the question is, “What constitutes a great manager?” If one assumes a manager is essentially competent and is in a viable business, the answer from my perspective comes down to five basic requirements: A great manager:
- Gives clear goals, objectives, direction, expectations and performance appraisals – Clarity of purpose, strategy and results are the cornerstone of a great manager. Without knowing what the goals and expectations are, subordinates are walking a random path. Organizational goals cannot be achieved unless the workforce has a clear understanding of the outcome desired and their responsibilities in helping to achieve them.
- Provides for a high degree of trust and confidence in their leadership. – If you don’t trust your manager, you have a problem: And visa-versa. So much of what goes on in a boss-subordinate relationship is directly related to the level of trust and confidence one has with its leadership and co-workers. A trusting work group has got to be at least 50% more successful, if not more.
- They are fair, listens to all input, and then make good decisions based on all the facts. – A manager who listens to their people has a greater chance of making the best decision than those who don’t. It’s usually the lower levels of the organization who are closest to the problem to be solved. The higher up the organization one goes, the least likely to understand the real issue rather than the perceived issue.
- Provides support and coaching, builds confidence and develops skills in all staff members. – If your manager isn’t preparing you for the future, helping you develop new skills and creating self-confidence in your abilities, then they are not fulfilling their responsibilities as a manager. A manager should be a builder of talent, not a maintainer of the status quo.
- Invests in and empowers staff, inspires teamwork, and helps to make work enjoyable. – Managers must invest part of their time to empower staff to work as a team and create an environment of cooperative engagement toward results. Managers are team-leaders and coaches who are there to provide the support, training and encouragement to succeed, both as an individual and as a team member.
As I look back over my career, the great managers who helped me succeed had these qualities. Who are the managers that you can identify that helped you to become the most productive and successful? If you can name two, you are very fortunate and lucky. If you can name one, you’re fortunate. If none, maybe your mentor-manager is the next one.
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