How would you define the term "manager?" According to Google’s manager definition, it’s "a person responsible for controlling or administering all or part of a company or similar organization." That sounds easy enough, right? 🤔
In practice, it’s not always so simple and straightforward. Being a manager can be an incredibly demanding job that requires a lot of time, effort, and responsibility—but it’s an important one. So, the more important question here isn’t “what does a manager do?” but “what makes a good manager?”
What Makes a Good Manager?
Effective management is an essential component of any thriving business. A good manager can make all the difference in how happy and productive their team is, which contributes to the overall success of the business! 👏 So, it’s important that you have the management skills and traits necessary to help each member of your team achieve their greatest potential. Here are some characteristics of a good manager.
8 Traits of a Good Manager
There are some characteristics of a good manager that you can add to your repertoire if you want to become a better leader!
So, if you're wondering how to be a good manager, here are just a few key manager qualities and traits that are essential for success:
1. Patience ⏱️
Learning how to control your emotions and being able to take a step back before deciding how to react to a situation are key traits of a good manager. Instead of pointing fingers or getting worked up when a mistake occurs, a good manager will take the time to determine what went wrong, why it happened, what to do about it, and how to prevent the same issue from occurring again. This approach will make it easier to solve problems and fix errors quickly and efficiently—without flustering the rest of the team.
2. Strong decision-making skills 📈
One of the most important qualities of a good manager is the ability to pull information from multiple sources, make a strategic decision, and put a plan in place to actually carry it out. Any manager will have to make multiple decisions on a daily basis, and also have to make quick choices (often while under pressure) when unique circumstances or a problem arises.
3. Approachability 👋
Being welcoming, accessible, and easy to talk to is what makes a good manager. If your team members don’t feel comfortable going to you with questions, comments, or concerns (or can never actually get a hold of them to do so), it will negatively affect both the success and morale of the team. Every good manager should have an open door policy and actually take a genuine interest in what their team has to say.
4. Emotional intelligence ❤️
Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. Why is this important for managers? How a manager behaves and interacts with their team in challenging circumstances, both throughout the day and in high pressure situations, can have a significant impact on their team members. A good manager should be emotionally resilient and cognizant of how their mood and attitude affects others, be able to cope well with change, and remain calm under pressure.
5. Trustworthiness 🤝
Every team member needs to be able to trust their manager’s words and actions. So, it’s vital that you openly and honestly communicate with your team with a high level of transparency. However, this is a two-way street—effective managers also need to be able to trust their team and not micromanage everything.
6. Accountability 🔐
It’s important that you don’t just talk the talk as a manager, but actually walk the walk, too. Avoid making promises you can’t keep. You should actually follow through on what you say you’re going to do. If you don’t, your team members will become skeptical of everything you tell them—and this fear of being manipulated or misinformed will negatively affect both their job performance and engagement.
7. Positivity 😄
Your employees will look to you as a manager to set the tone and attitude for the entire team. Positivity can be contagious, and it’s up to leaders to set the example and maintain a positive atmosphere in the office to keep team morale high. This will help keep people happy, engaged, and highly productive.
8. Motivational skills 🏃♂️
Success will mean something different to different employees, but a good manager should know exactly what this means for each of their team members. For example, some employees find recognition motivating, while others don’t need praise but are instead fueled by incentives or perks (such as a bonus or extra time off). So, a major key to being a good manager is knowing what it takes to get each team member to succeed as an individual—while also supporting the success of the team and the business as a whole.
Effective Development for Managers
Where can you find the best new managers to lead your business to future success? Instead of hiring someone externally, promoting a current employee to a management position can be a great idea and is often done in small to medium sized businesses. But they (you) may not have all the expertise to be an effective manager right away. That’s why managers should be continuous learners, always striving to become better leaders, improve their skills, and take the time to grow both personally and professionally!
If you want to improve as a manager, it’s important to understand where you currently stand and where you feel you need more support or training. How can you find this information out? Feedback from your team members is a good start. You could consider sending out a manager effectiveness survey where your team members can provide anonymous feedback to help you understand what you’re doing right now and where improvements can be made.
You could also consider attending local management seminars, taking an online training course, talking to other managers you know in different companies and industries to get ideas or insight you may not have thought about, or leveraging resources such as podcasts, blogs, and books!
Our Recent Book Favorites to Get You Going as a Manager…
At Strety, we’ve learned what makes a great manager based on 15+ years of experience managing teams and people. But, we also learned from others who have shared their knowledge in blogs and books—so we wanted to pass along some recent book gems that really gave us great perspective on how to be a great manager. We think you’ll enjoy them as much as we did...
The Making of a Manager
Written by Julie Zhuo, The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You is a Wall Street Journal bestseller is designed to help leaders understand that great managers are made, not born—then give them the tools and insights to grow into a truly successful manager. Whether you're new to the job, have been a team leader for years, or looking to be promoted to a management role in the future, this is the handbook you need to be the kind of manager that makes a true impact!
Nine Lies About Work
Written by bestselling author Marcus Buckingham, Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World challenges the status quo about “work” that we encounter every day when we show up to our jobs. It teaches how freethinking leaders recognize the power and beauty of the individual uniqueness of each member of their team, and how this contributes to the overall success of the team as a whole.
Measure What Matters
Written by legendary venture capitalist John Doerr, Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs, uncovers how the goal-setting system of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) has helped tech giants from Intel to Google achieve exponential growth—and how you can apply this system in your own organization to reach new levels of success!
Become a Better Manager with Strety
Even with all these tips, tools, and resources, it isn’t always clear what you need to do to become a better manager for your teams, but don't worry—you don’t have to figure it all out on your own anymore. 😍
Strety offers practical features that team leaders can actually use throughout the week to get their jobs done and become a better manager by making it possible to:
- Conduct more effective team and 1:1 meetings
- Set and track employee goals
- Send and store team announcements for improved communication and team building
- Ask recurring questions and set automated reminders for more streamlined project management
- And much more!
Ready to gain access to the tools and data insights you need to improve your management skills and be a better leader to your team members? Contact us today! 📞