Eight Elements of a Great Manager

Good managers can be hard to come by, but some do it like none other. There are eight main things that good managers do day in and day out, and they’ll forevermore have a team that will fight by their side to the end. If you’ve hired recently you’ll notice that people have choices, and if you’re the manager, they are looking closely at you.

1) Autonomy – Treat people like adults and in most cases they’ll act like one. Long gone are the days where micromanagement reigns, and wait till the next generation becomes the majority of your hires. Buckle your seat belt. You have to hire based on experience, skills, aptitude, drive, and culture fit. Once you feel that’s there you have to let someone fly.

2) Trust – From the first call with your potential team member you have to set the playing field. You establish the basic construct that they are in a safe place with you, and you make good on that. A team can brave even the worst storm so long as they’re working as a unit, and the bond you established from day one will prevail. If you show your team that you have their back, they will undoubtedly have yours, especially when you need it the most.

3) Openness to new ideas – Ideas come from everyone whether it’s the veteran that’s seen it done 100 different ways, or from the newbie that doesn’t know where the bathroom is yet. Keep an open mind, continually encourage a steady stream of dialogue and brainstorming, and don’t criticize. An idea may be generated that not only gives accolades to your team, but gets you all promoted in the end.

4) Objectivity – This runs alongside trust, but has a slight nuance. Your goal as a manager is not to form an opinion until you’ve heard all the facts, and even if your team member is in the wrong, you should believe that they had good intentions at heart. Many leaders in the heat of the moment jump to the conclusion that one side of the story is right before hearing another. Put the emotions down and listen to all sides of the story. There are at least two, and typically more.

5) Flexibility – One thing that we hear more now than ever is the desire for flexibility in the workplace. It’s imperative. Believe it or not work is not the central reason for our existence on this earth. Give your team the ability to work from home as needed; this ties in to treating people like adults, and them living up to it. Even if it’s a day every two weeks, or even them just knowing that they can gives them a feeling of freedom and empowerment. Many people that work from home actually work more than they do while on location. 

6) Treat your team as equals – Managing in a caste system fashion doesn’t work. You and your team are a unit that’s striving for the same goals. Titles don’t matter. Crossing the finish line together while miles ahead of your company’s outside competitors is where it’s at. You’ll gain far more esteem by being a tribe member versus by being King.

7) Giving and sharing rewards – People like to be rewarded in different ways. It varies from group acknowledgements, money, time off, a personal note of thanks, a card, and the list goes on. Learn how your people like to be rewarded, and do it! As a leader you may have access to executives and/or senior leaders that your team does not. If a team member goes above and beyond share it with that top echelon of leaders. Teams rise and fall together. Be one that consistently rises. 

8) Keep a good sense of humor – Levity goes a long way. Are you laughing every day and talking though tough situations while finding a way to shrug off even what seems abysmal. After all, if you’re in corporate America you’re not doing brain surgery. You should enjoy where you spend so much of your waking hours, and you might learn a few good jokes along the way if you simply ask someone to tell you one.

Truly the list goes on in terms of characteristics, behavior, and actions that make leaders great. Do these eight things though and see what happens. Your team members will stay with you through thick and thin, and you’ll be a better person for it too.

 

JD

©2012, Jennifer Davis All Rights Reserved

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