Differentiating Characteristics of Great Managers

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Nothing beats having a terrific boss. Employees who believe their bosses manage them well and fairly are more engaged, productive, and generally happier workers. Employees who believe their boss isn’t doing a good job managing them don’t perform as well and are more likely to leave their current employer. So, what distinguishes a decent manager from a great manager, and can a superior manager be simply built?

The following are seven activities and characteristics that distinguish outstanding managers from the rest:

Hiring wisely.

Surrounding yourself with the right people is the key to business success. Great managers recognize how important it is to be able to trust and have confidence in their employees’ abilities to do their tasks successfully. Therefore, they go above and beyond to guarantee that every new member of the team is the best possible candidate.

Getting to know their neighbors.

Great managers understand that in order to effectively manage people, they must first get to know their employees as individuals, study their strengths and limitations, determine what each person requires in terms of management style, and so on. Understanding what makes their team members “click” enables outstanding managers to prepare ahead of time and assign jobs and projects to those they believe will do the greatest job. This is especially crucial for groups or departments that commonly operate in pairs or groups.

Creating a good atmosphere.

Attitudes are contagious, and a manager’s attitude or manner frequently has a considerable influence on the entire team. Great managers take additional care not to express any negative feelings they may have about a certain project or assignment to their employees.

Maintaining open lines of communication.

Communication is essential for every group’s success. Employees want to feel like they have a say in their jobs or work environments, and it’s critical that every employee feels comfortable talking openly and honestly with management. Great managers go out of their way to ensure that their team members feel comfortable expressing their thoughts or concerns.

When necessary, getting down in the trenches.

It is an unavoidable fact of business that things will go wrong from time to time, despite everyone’s best efforts. A crucial piece of production-automation machinery will fail; a key employee will call in sick on your biggest day; a major customer will be furious about something – there is no shortage of potential issues. These crisis situations genuinely separate the great from the ordinary. In these instances, smart managers will step in and work right alongside their employees to help keep things moving smoothly, quickly winning their employees’ respect.

Give appropriate credit where it is due.

Employees want to feel valued by their employer almost as much as they want to have a voice. After all, if no one notices when you go above and above and it doesn’t appear to make a difference, there’s no real need to continue. Great managers make it a point to acknowledge and demonstrate their appreciation for their staff, both individually and as a group.

They are supporting their team.

Nobody enjoys being thrown under the bus, and it can feel especially betrayal when it is done by a boss to their staff. Employees who do not believe their manager would support them have little motive to speak up or be innovative, and will instead passively maintain the status quo. Great managers have the trust of their employees and will finally accept responsibility for their own faults as well as errors caused by bad management and direction.

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