What makes a good manager?
There’s often an assumption that you have to have natural leadership qualities to be a good manager. While some innate characteristics can “create” a top-notch manager, many of the skills can also be learned. There is also a great deal of overlap between leader and manager. Joseph C. Rost, author of Leadership for the Twenty-First Century, criticizes those who “denigrate management to ennoble leadership.” He goes on to explain that management is about authority, and leadership is about influence. Both are important.
So what are the qualities you want in a good manager?
- Leadership – It’s easier to manage people if they trust you and want to follow your lead. It also promotes employees to “buy in” and become invested in a project.
- Good assessment skills – A good manager can quickly assess data to keep what’s needed and reject the rest.
- Communication – It’s become a cliché for sure, but effective communication is a critical component of being a good manager.
- Listening skills – Good managers gain insight and useful data by listening and being open to other viewpoints and opinions.
- Feedback – Giving and receiving feedback from line staff and higher-ups is a sign of a good manager. Acting effectively on the feedback can make you a great manager.
- Planning skills – Managers who can effectively plan both short-term and longer-term projects demonstrate flexibility and the ability to see the big picture.
- Information sharing – Good managers know the value of sharing information. The old style of using knowledge as power is not effective in our information age.
- Conflict resolution – Conflict is part of any relationship. Managers who are adept at acknowledging and resolving conflict will earn employees’ respect.
- Network utilization – A good manager knows to use both formal and informal networks within organizations to stay on top of the game.
- Crisis management – How people handle crises is often an indicator of their leadership skills. Handling a crisis in a decisive way can inspire employees to trust their own instincts in a difficult situation.
(Check out this blog post for some further insight, “Leadership vs. Management Quiz Answers”)