There are many attributes and qualities that can be assigned to good managers, such as being a decent listener, accountable, organized, motivating and honest and having a positive outlook on life. While these are all important, they are the minimum requirements of good management.
So what makes a manager great? I have found that accomplishing these six things will help a good manager become a great manager:
- Connect through regular one-on-one meetings. The best way to build strong relationships is to have regular one-on-one meetings with each team member. Most people want to share certain aspects of their lives and appreciate when their boss takes the time to get to know them better. Use these one-on-one meetings to ask good questions, discuss professional development and performance, solve problems and review priorities. Effective one-on-one meetings will result in more effective relationships.
- Right seats on the bus. It’s not enough to have talent on your team; your employees must be in the right seats on the bus to do fantastic work. Great managers recognize their employees will be at their best when their talents and strengths are in alignment with their roles. It takes time to gain meaningful insights to what makes your employees tick, but doing so will help you create, tweak or change roles to help them do what they are best at every day. This will result in happier, more engaged team members.
- Continuous improvement. There are many ways to make an organization better, and great managers are committed to always improving. They understand the intentional pursuit of honing processes, teamwork, goals, cultural issues, communication, collaboration and quality of work product will reduce obstacles that frustrate employees and, in turn, make the organization stronger.
- Good decision-making. Leaders who make good decisions are highly regarded in most organizations. Good decision-making builds trust and credibility and creates success. While your team might not always agree with your decisions, it’s hard to argue when they turn out to be good ones. Improve your decision-making skills by slowing down, listening more and considering all possibilities. Ask questions and obtain as much input as possible. Recognize that you (and everyone else) are full of biases that cloud your judgment. The more you expose your biases, the better decisions you will make.
- Rally teams around the bigger picture by tying it to the daily picture. A job is just a paycheck when you can’t see how it’s tied to the bigger picture. Great managers understand that most of us want to be part of something bigger than ourselves and tap into that motivation by ensuring every employee understands and cares about the company strategy and vision for the future. The key is tying strategy to the work each person does every day, including departmental plans, key performance indicators, work prioritization and individual goals. Be transparent, talk about and get feedback on the vision and strategy often, engage more than just the usual suspects in vision and goal development, and celebrate small and big wins often. The more connected your team is to the bigger picture, the greater chance for success.
- Radically candid. Great managers are always candid and address performance issues in a timely manner. They show they care by being honest and compassionate. They never take the easy way out by putting off tough conversations, sugarcoating bad news or letting their desire to be liked get in the way. They understand that everyone deserves to know how they are performing, what they can do to improve and how they are perceived within the organization. You cannot be a great boss if you are not giving regular, candid feedback. Repeat this over and over. If you want to get better at giving feedback, I recommend reading “Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity” by Kim Scott. It’s a game changer.
Mastering these six points will not only help you become a better manager but will also, more importantly, help you develop good employees into great ones. And that’s the legacy all rock-star managers should want to leave behind.
For more information, contact Kerry Siggins at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read her blog, visit www.kerrysiggins.com/blog.