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News & Features - June 2012

What Makes a Good Manager?

Monday 18th June 2012

Manager ChairI am sure that many of you have thought about this and assessed whether their manager is a good caring professional or is simply not up to the job that is given to him/her. Managing people is not easy. You have to handle egos, stress, office politics, work load and unexpected events. A manager has the responsibility to achieve results from its team, to nurture them and to collectively engage with them through delegation processes. However most managers find all these tasks difficult and it can often cause conflicts at work.

Are you thinking of becoming management material? A good team member does not automatically make a good manager and developing skills to become a good people manager is not easy.  The good news is that you can learn new skills over time. Here are some skills and qualities that might make the difference for you:

  1. Be confident and provide clear instructions and direction - Make sure you know what you expect from your team and how they can deliver these targets. If you are unclear or you have no logic, then don’t expect others to achieve these goals. Sometimes you might have to lead by example, if you can’t then think carefully about how you want others to perform.
  2. Delegate – Look at the wider picture, monitor and assess your team’s strengths and weaknesses. Who in the team can fulfil tasks better than others? Don’t be over aggressive on your approach to this, you need to find a balance and be able to say to the team that this is the best way forward and give reasons why.
  3. Support open communication – Get your team communicating within itself - develop meetings where people can give feedback, if there is a problem this is the best way to solve any issues. Expect criticism but don’t be afraid to accept that you might have done something wrong.
  4. Invest time in people's personal development - Being a manager is not just about getting more things done.  You also need to invest time to develop your team and the overall skills of the team.  This means understanding each person’s skill level, career goals, and creating opportunities for them to learn new skills while at the same time accomplishing what the company need this team to accomplish.  This may sound like a lot of extra work, but it’s worth it.   When you care about the success of each of your team members, they will in turn care about your success and go above and beyond to perform. 
  5. Provide feedback – It is crucial to know how to provide constructive feedback.  No one is perfect and many have strengths and weaknesses.  It is your job as a manager to let each of your team know how to leverage their strengths and provide good examples of where and how to develop.
  6. Give credit to team – Be respectful to the team, let them know that you care about the work that they have achieved and any work that they will undertake. If you wander along and do little to encourage them or praise them, don’t expect good results.
  7. Define your own management style – Develop your own style, try not to copy someone else’s, it just doesn't work and your personality might not reflect this. Be strong when you have to be but also don’t abuse your power to an extreme - this works totally against you and undermines the team’s performance.

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