What makes a good manager?
Management is the practice of handling and organizing tasks and people. Good managers implement management strategies that benefit the entire business, including executives, employees and customers. Good management involves individualizing every employee to maximize their potential and best utilize their unique skills. Good managers can improve employee satisfaction and development by getting to know the employees personally, consequently promoting greater success and productivity with the rest of the company. Good managers provide employees with the support and resources not only to perform well but to exceed expectations.
Good managers may adjust a particular employee’s workload or task list to help them perform at their highest potential. However, they must also ensure that the employee still meets their required objectives and that the change doesn’t negatively affect the rest of the team. The ability to benefit a company by connecting with individual employees is the fundamental sign of good management.
Related: How to Hire a Manager
Good management practices for any business
There are several practices and methods that effective managers utilize. Below, we’ll go into detail about how to be a good manager for both the employees and the business.
Be aware of strengths and weaknesses
Most managers discover strengths and weaknesses through conversation and observation. For example, talking to individual employees about their skills and their goals often helps managers understand the areas in which they excel. Similarly, observing a team while its members work on a project can reveal to management which employees struggle with collaboration or following instructions. Once a manager is aware of each employee’s strengths and weaknesses, they can distribute tasks, assign responsibilities, and form teams to promote productivity and eliminate conflict, boredom, or demoralization.
Tailor to individual learning styles
Managers are responsible for providing orientation, guidance and ongoing development and training to employees during their career at the business. However, this development should be individualized according to each employee rather than following a generic development plan.
Good management means being able to adjust one’s teaching style to suit how each employee learns. For example, some employees learn best through spoken instruction or written directions. Others learn skills through practice and need time to perform well. Good managers can adapt these learning styles to each employee’s needs.
Listen to and connect with employees
A good manager encourages employees to speak up when they have insight, concerns or questions. If a manager neglects to listen to either positive or negative feedback from their employees, they may inhibit their own decision-making abilities. Listening to the input of employees can help managers make more informed decisions about the business, and it can also provide affirmation for employees and help them feel more valued. When employees feel like their insights are more valued, they tend to become more confident and perform higher quality work.
Plan ahead and anticipate employee growth
If you’re tailoring job roles and training to an individual’s skill set, then you should anticipate that they’ll eventually outgrow their current role. While your team may be functioning efficiently and productively now, that will inevitably change as your employees gain new skills and interests. You may, for example, hire an employee for a customer service role and then later identify them as a good candidate for a supervisory role. Consider how you might expand their current responsibilities to prepare them for a potential transition to another role.
Show appreciation and recognize achievements
It’s important to recognize the success of employees. If an employee has a relatively meaningful achievement, an employer can recognize their success with tokens of appreciation such as verbal recognition, bonuses and other rewards. When employees feel recognized and appreciated, they become more confident and enthusiastic about their work. Just as you wouldn’t demoralize employees with too much criticism, don’t constantly praise as your appreciation won’t deliver the same impact. Appreciation should also be shown promptly and in a way that best matches the individual, such as a bonus for a financially motivated employee or an office award for an employee that enjoys public recognition.
Pursue and share knowledge
Employees should trust that their manager has the best information and knowledge to lead a successful team. Managers can instill confidence and spread knowledge to their team by maintaining their knowledge regarding the industry and business. Equipped with relevant and important information, managers can demonstrate their expertise and authority by passing on their knowledge to employees.
Provide employees with the necessary skills, knowledge and support
A good manager wouldn’t assign a task to an employee without ensuring they have the proper skills and knowledge to complete it. Without the right tools to do the job, an employee may become demoralized and unmotivated. Instead, managers should support an employee’s success by providing ongoing training in relevant areas. This training should include skills and knowledge for their current position and roles they might grow into.
Know when and how to delegate responsibilities
The best management practices focus on individual strengths, which should include those of managers. As a manager, it’s your job to make sure everything runs smoothly, but that doesn’t mean that you do it all yourself. It’s important to know when a task needs your specific attention or when it might be more efficiently handled if delegated to an employee. Giving certain tasks of higher responsibilities to employees also helps employees feel more trusted and confident while offloading work from management so that they can focus on more critical tasks.
Determine the best methods for motivation
Motivating employees to perform well and achieve their goals is an important task for a manager. One of the overarching goals of good management is to instill employees with the ability to work autonomously and take ownership in their roles. Employees often have unique motivational drivers, so it’s important to individualize your motivation approach. Some are driven by a desire for recognition and may benefit from rewards like employee of the month or employee sales competitions. Others may be driven by financial stability and respond best to monetary motivators or promotions, while others may be driven by self-improvement and like to be recognized for their progress and development.
Create a consistent culture
Whether overseeing an office, department, team or project, a manager’s responsibility is to make sure everyone in the workplace is satisfied with their role and is productive and operating effectively within the team. To ensure a positive and productive workplace, managers can implement and maintain a workplace culture within their own offices or teams. A team’s culture refers to the dynamics and atmosphere of the workplace, including how the manager treats the employees, the team’s dynamics and how the team interacts with the rest of the company.
Some team cultures may be informal and relaxed. The primary focus may be on building relationships and the manager may prioritize open communication. Other cultures may be more rigid and fast-paced. The focus could be on meeting strategic goals and the manager may be mostly concerned with enforcing deadlines. It’s important to know what kind of culture suits your business and employees best.
Consider the individual
The fundamental truth at the center of good management is that effective managers work at an individual level. Rather than focusing on the team as a whole or the company as an entity, good managers take the time to get to know employees individually and to adjust their management style to suit their individual team. When managers make an effort to understand each individual employee, employees feel taken care of and listened to. This helps to reinforce an employee’s loyalty and enthusiasm for the business. When each employee feels important, they can promote greater success and productivity for the overall business.
FAQs about good management practices
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions concerning good management in business:
What skills does a good manager have?
A good manager exhibits several important skills, including:
- Communication skills: A good manager can provide instructions, give feedback and offer advice effectively to all employees.
- Organizational skills: Good managers can balance multiple tasks and meet deadlines consistently.
- Leadership skills: Good managers are not always good leaders and vice versa. However, managers with good leadership skills can boldly take the initiative and handle issues with confidence.
- Teamwork skills: Good managers are valuable assets to their teams. They can collaborate, negotiate and delegate efficiently.
What are some signs of inefficient management?
Some workplaces suffer because of inefficient or misguided management. Management is inefficient when it hinders productivity instead of promoting it. Poor management practices include favoritism, lack of communication and indecisive leadership. Inefficient managers are often unaware of how their management style affects their team members and may need guidance to adopt more effective strategies.