It’s hard to find good managers, especially since the view on what a good manager varies based on individual contributors. In my opinion, some of the below qualities in a manager go a long way in having a successful team.
1. Recognize contributions : Every individual wants to be recognized for their work. A good manager should say ‘thank you’ as many time as possible to his/her employees for their work. Additionally, recognition should come in various other forms as well, such as monetary compensation, restricted stock units, or other perks such as comp days.
2. Focus on company goals: Macro goals set at the CEO level should trickle down in the form of micro goals for team or individuals and managers should reiterate the company goal for employees in a manner that the team feels connected to it. For instance ‘increase profits by 10%’ may be a CEO goal, however, what does that mean to a particular team? It could mean automation of a particular service so that deployment time gets reduced from a day to a few hours which will help in increasing efficiency that can lead to increased profits.
3. Provide frequent useful feedback: Employees should be on the same page as the manager with respect to their performance. A manager should let his team know about how they are doing without waiting for the annual review. Frequent and honest feedback is the best way to change direction if needed. An employee guessing as to what their manager wants leads to inconsistent results.
4. Support employees career path: Employees have different requirements when it comes to career path. Some prefer moving up in management chain, others prefer that they be compensated better while staying in the same role. Regardless of what the need is of an employee, a good manager should do his/her best to make the employee feel there is progression in their learning and career as needed.
5. Create an environment of collaboration and innovation: Divide and rule is not the hallmark of a good manager. Team members should be made to feel that their ideas are welcome and better ways of doing things should be encouraged. No single individual should be allowed to dominate meetings and a manager should set a tone of co-operation while fostering healthy internal competition.
6. Remove obstacles that hinder productivity: A manager should use his influence to remove obstacles that are in the team members path. While holding his team accountable for their work he should be a facilitating the teams work. Some employees may need more hand holding that others, and a good manager should judge his/her involvement to the extent needed in order to ensure the success of a project.
7. Give employees independence to complete their work: Micro managers are not welcome anywhere. While it is good to be involved in a team’s work, the details are best left to the individuals implementing them. Setting direction is a good goal for managers, and it’s also important for managers to be involved in discussing the merits of different directions, however responsibility should be given to employees so that they feel ownership of the task.
8. Coach team to enhance performance: When a manager sees an employee in trouble instead of switching to rescue mode the manager should try to coach the employee out of the problem. In a game of football a coach is not allowed on the field during game play, a manager who rescues an employee is in essence on the field during game play.
9. Communicate directly and openly: Employees should not have to deal with politics in dealing with their manager. An employee should have open and honest communication with their manager. Managers should be available so that an employee feels there is support for their work.
10. Make decisions in the best interest of the company: Last but not the least, decisions should be made in the interest of the company. There will be times when an individual or teams benefit may be contrary to the companies benefit, at such times chose the companies benefit. In the long term a successful company will have successful employees.
What are some of the qualities that you have found in good managers? Share your comments in this blog.