Do you have the skills to be a good manager?

Corrine Hines
High Growth Business Coach | Business West
8th January 2014

Being a manager can be a fulfilling and rewarding role, but if you don't have the skills to manage, motivate and influence your team, then it can be really tough.

You'll find many books, courses and online information that will tell you how to do it well, but opinions vary, making it hard to define exactly what makes a good manager.  However, it is possible to identify some core behaviours that can help to be guiding principles for good management.

The list below is by no means definitive but it’s a good starting point to help you identify some of the behaviours that are common among good managers:

1.       A good communicator

It’s important that your team understand what’s happening in the business. Sharing information and encouraging feedback creates a two-way communications channel keeping everyone informed.  Communication is also about ‘actively’ listening.  Not only will you earn respect from your employees if you listen to them but you will learn useful information, hear good ideas and learn about different ways to approach and achieve things.  Successful managers use this collaborative and inclusive ‘coaching’ style approach to get the best out of their team.

2.       Honest and open

Honesty is the best policy and in the case of being a good manager this is certainly true.  It’s vitally important to be open with your staff.  Remind people that if they have any questions or concerns, you’re ready and willing to listen.  By creating an ‘open door’ approach you will earn their trust and respect and will be alert to issues so that you can fix them as soon as possible.

3.       Motivational

Understand what motivates the individuals in your team and play to their strengths by assigning tasks and responsibilities accordingly.  Money, of course, is a motivator but only to a certain point.  In today’s work environment other incentives can be more motivational.  Flexible working, training and development and job purpose – people want to feel that their work is meaningful and contributes to something bigger  – are all ways to ensure your staff are happy, engaged and perform well.

4.       Praise and recognition

Telling individuals that they are doing a good job is one of the easiest ways to boost morale among your staff.  Every employee has a contribution to make and recognising individual ideas and input, particularly when they have gone the extra mile, will pay dividends.  Remember to be honest and only give credit where credit is due, otherwise you may give underperforming employees the wrong impression.

5.       Develop your people

As a manager it’s your job to make sure you have a team of skilled and knowledgeable people with the right resources to do their job well.  Offer your people opportunities to continually learn and develop and you will not only motivate them and get the best from them but ultimately you will retain talented staff within your organisation.

6.       Delegation

You are the manager but that doesn’t mean that you have to do everything!  It’s your job to teach and empower others to do their job well.  If staff feel a sense of responsibility for their role or a task that they have been assigned they will take more care over it.  When you delegate be aware of individuals skills, strengths and weaknesses and assign tasks that, not only they can perform well, but tasks that offer a challenge, ultimately giving them the chance to further develop their experience and skills set.

7.    Connect with your staff

Take an interest in your staff at work and connect with them on a personal level by showing an interest in their lives outside of work and for their overall well-being.  Don’t be invasive though, know the boundaries.  By connecting in this way, you’ll be alerted to times when they may need extra support from you such as a family bereavement.  Be adaptable to their needs and they will feel good and reward you with their loyalty.

Do these management behaviours resonate with you and the managers in your business?  Do you agree with them or are there any you would add?  Tell us what you think?

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