Good management goes beyond just making the monthly numbers. Organizations are run by people, so it’s your people skills that help determine whether you are a good manager and good leader.
Whole course are taught on this subject. I can only scratch the surface here. As one who spent many years in the “trenches” (that is, as a junior employee), I have a pretty good perspective on the qualities that make a good manager.
Most of these are common sense, but all deserve to be reviewed on occasion. Managers, like everyone else, slip into a groove at times. That’s when leadership consistency slides, and productivity drops along with morale. Review this list several times in the coming days. Do you find yourself violating any of these principles? Make the necessary changes. Your team and organization will be the better for it.
Fair to everyone – Rules and policies are enforced throughout the organization. No one should be exempt due to length of employment or other factors. A good leader is fair to everyone.
Maintain consistent expectations – Similar to the above. Everyone is expected to meet his or her goals or expectations. When I worked in the restaurant business, some 30 years ago, I would see a change in attitude from manager to manager. Some expected employees to put forth a good effort. Others allowed some slacking off. Why should I do a great job cleaning these tables, I would wonder, when a particular manager didn’t ask that of the other busboy?
Lead by example – A good manager sets the proper course for the organization. It can be something as simple as arriving on time to work and to meetings. Also, those managers who appear ready to – and sometimes do in fact – roll up their sleeves leave a good impression on employees.
Be a coach – It’s one thing to go over the responsibilities and expectations, but a good manager is also a good leader. Show them how to properly perform a task, and offer critique in a calm, professional manner. Package your comments in such a way as to be effective without harmful. Use the “sandwich” approach taught in Toastmasters: Start with compliment, point out the factor(s) that need improvement, and follow with another positive comment.
Groom your staff and help them grow professionally. Go beyond the core responsibilities. Communication skills are so important today. Pay for memberships in Toastmasters and other training programs. You are developing a well-rounded employee, and one who is much more effective and valuable to the organization.
Discipline properly – Chewing out someone in front of others is uncalled for. Mete out discipline according to policy, but do so behind closed doors.
Be friendly/approachable – I was fortunate to enjoy good relationships with my managers in every position I had. Each understood his or her role in leading the organization. But each also kept the relationship on a first-name basis. Employees know they must follow and take direction from their managers. It’s a lot easier to do when the managers are likeable and friendly. You don’t need to be a task-master to get your team to perform. That can actually backfire. A warm personality helps create an environment that is conducive to work.
You know deep down how to be a good manager, and you want to be that person. Managers, like all employees, occasionally need to be reminded of some basic principles. That is the purpose of this column.
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Thanks a lot, George. As you may have been able to tell, I was writing from the heart. I’ve faced some of those issues, and I’ve told myself to be a better manager/leader. That’s true with life in general. Experieces earlier in life shape who we become.
Great article, Tom! Having a positive attitude is instrumental in reaching one’s goals!