A manager can make or break an employee’s experience. Some employees have even left their jobs to get away from their manager. On the other hand, having a strong manager is known to produce more engagement, increased productivity, and higher brand loyalty. What makes a great leader and how do you become a better manager? While this definition may vary depending on the individual, there are key qualities of a good manager that every strong leader needs to have or do.
1. Be a role model.
As a leader, it’s important to lead by example. Demonstrate the behaviors and performance standards you want your team to adopt. This is a step toward reinforcing the core values of the organization.
2. Be Trusting.
Everyone knows that trust is an important component of any strong relationship. It’s no different when it comes to the relationship between an employee and their manager. While challenging to develop, there’s a reason why trustworthiness is one of the most important traits of a good manager and is often linked to employee job satisfaction. You can build trust by listening to your staff members, giving employees the space to make mistakes, encouraging them to learn new skills, take on new challenges, or seek solutions, and not micromanage their work.
3. Be Empathetic.
Once upon a time, a manager’s only role was to play “boss”. But times have changed, and organizations today are focused on building strong relationships, to increase retention, and drive employee engagement. That’s why some of the best manager qualities include having compassion and empathy. These characteristics of a manager can facilitate productive conversations, encourage employees to be honest, and lead to a more positive culture. If you’re not naturally empathetic, don’t worry! Studies have shown that empathy can be learned. It is a muscle that has the ability to be strengthened.
4. Be Goal and Outcome Driven.
While the people management skills of leadership are incredibly important, characteristics that help move the business forward – such as being goal-driven – are crucial as well. Without the ability to propel a team toward a shared objective, managers can inadvertently lead their team in the wrong direction or waste valuable resources. Not to mention that a lack of focus will ultimately set employees up for failure, or worse, hinder their development. Processes are important and there are many ways work can be accomplished so a focus on results and outcomes is a quality of a good manager that needs to be reinforced.
5. Be Motivating.
Employees are human beings. They have good and bad days, as well as periods of high and low periods of productivity. That’s why one of the best leadership qualities is the ability to inspire and motivate others. There are various ways managers can help their employees get out of a rut or prevent employee burnout in the first place, especially giving recognition when and where deserved. Whether it’s sending a heartfelt ‘thank you’ note, providing a gift, or kinds words of praise, all of these forms of demonstrating employee appreciation will see a positive impact on engagement.
6. An Effective Communicator.
Managers, more than anyone else in an organization, need to be strong communicators to deal with the diverse situations they’re exposed to. They have the responsibility to share information up and down the organization. It is also part of their job responsibility to provide regular positive and constructive feedback to their employees. If a manager is indirect, long winded, and strikes the wrong tone during a performance review or weekly check in, it impacts employees negatively. They may walk away from a conversation unsure of the takeaways or without a clear picture of where they stand.
7. Be Composed.
Life happens. Deadlines are missed, mistakes are made, and customers complain. One of the qualities of a good manager is the ability to maintain a cool head while leading their team through obstacles. The worst thing a leader can do is panic and take out their stress on employees. This type of toxic behavior can make employees afraid to fail, come forward, or open up, which impacts rapport in the relationship and ultimately affects productivity and the bottom line.
8. Be Supportive.
A supportive manager plays a critical role in the career development of their employees. Being supportive means being able to listen to what your employee really wants (and needs, while not making assumptions), identifying how they can move in growth directions and providing the resources or guidance (mentoring) they need to succeed. With these people management skills, employees will feel a real workplace connection and that their manager genuinely cares about them as individuals, but they’re also likely to perform better if they’re doing work that matters to them. A report by Harvard Business Review also found that 9 out of 10 people are even willing to take a pay cut for meaningful work, which again demonstrates why supportive manager qualities are so important.
9. Be Open-Minded.
Managers work closely with individuals who come into the organization with diverse backgrounds and different ways of thinking and doing things. Instead of shying away from the challenges that come with working with people who differ from each other, embrace them and focus on developing one of the qualities of a good manager: the ability to learn from others and be open-minded. By welcoming new ideas to the workplace and thoughtfully considering people’s perspectives, managers will be able to connect with employees on a deeper level and the business will see additional benefits like more innovation and increased revenue.
10. Be A Critical Problem Solver.
With our ever-evolving business landscape, leaders who are able to identify problems and develop solutions are able to make better decisions and lead their employees to success and navigate the challenges of daily activities and needs of moving the operation forward.
So is this you? Do you have these qualities? How do these qualities measure up against your existing supervisor and manger base? Perhaps these qualities are not a “10” just yet, and that’s okay. The good news is that it’s never too late to start developing the skill sets. It is a new year and a good time to start strengthening them. HR Answers’ Success for Supervisors Series begins February15th and these skills, among others, will be part of the curriculum and there will be time dedicated to practicing them and looking for feedback. Click here to learn more.
Looking for previously written Advantage eNewsletters or HR ALERTS?