We would all agree that good managers are essential to any organization, but what makes a good manager? To further that, what makes a great manager? I recently read a quote that said, “Bad managers tell employees what to do, good managers explain why they need to do it, but great managers involve people in decision making and improvement.”  Obviously,  there’s more to management than that, but I would say that’s a pretty good start. In my opinion, managers need to have the behaviors that inspire others to do what they otherwise might not be willing or even capable of doing, and inspire without creating psychological distress. There is a huge distinction between “motivating” and “manipulating.”  A manager who is  coachable and willing to consistently work on their skills will ultimately further your organization. However, a poor manager will ultimately cost your company a significant amount of time and resources.

When motivating an individual, focus on strengths. It is important for managers to assess each individual’s talents and skills. There is a true belief behind the term “God given talent” and that each individual brings something different to the table. Focusing on those instinctual talents instead of weaknesses will go a long way. A great manager can compensate for or manage around weaker abilities. This is not to say that managers should never help to improve an inadequate skill set, but to instead shift their emphasis to areas in which the employee already has talent and knowledge.

A great manager will select people based on talent. Many great managers have expressed that they select staff based on talent rather than experience, education or intelligence. One can never argue with the fact that individuals that possess certain talents, such as striving for achievement, discipline and person responsibility, along with the ability to relate well with others while taking charge, will achieve success in an organization. I belong to the camp that people don’t change that much. So by trying to put in what was left out, could be considered by many a waste of time. It’s more effective to draw out what was left in. Believe me, that’s hard enough.

Setting high but not unattainable standards and  expecting employees to meet them will go a long way in getting the best results from people in your charge. The best managers are not usually those who are the toughest or the nicest, but rather the ones who achieve a hardworking , productive, engaged staff that are committed to going the extra mile.

When setting those high expectations, mentioned above, be sure to establish the right outcomes. You will want your employees’ job objectives to be well conceived, clearly defined and above all, measurable. Being able to clearly measure whether objectives are met will be valuable in providing guidance for both the employee and manager. I have always subscribed to Zig Ziglar’s philosophy of “inspect what you expect.”

Communicating regularly and providing meaningful feedback, both positive and negative, is fundamental to sound management. As trite as it may sound, strong managers are excellent communicators. So make yourself available to those you manage.

As any manager knows, the workplace is a breeding ground for conflict. There is certainly no shortage of emotionally charged issues which often arise and will certainly produce employee conflict.  A great manager will not be a “conflict avoider.” Instead, he or she will address problems quickly and fairly. Don’t be fooled, employees are keen observers and will note who takes action when needed and who doesn’t. Respect and trust is key in the manager/ employee relationship.

Good managers will attract a hardworking staff. However, great managers will attract an exceptional staff that makes the organization a preferred employer, helps to increase market share and commits to completing the tasks set before them with enthusiasm, effectiveness and the energy to do more. Its the manner in which managers manage people that separates the ordinary from the good and the good from the exceptional.

 

Some excepts from Entrepreneur