Locating, keeping, and developing a great team isn't easy. Locating, keeping, and developing a great manager is even more challenging. Expectations have changed, and what employers and employees expect from managers has significantly shaped this role in the last couple of years.
A new management style has emerged, with the rise of remote working, better staff support, and the requirement for stronger soft skills. We now have to revise this role and know how to develop the best managers.
While a managerial position has its benefits, it can also be a tough nut to crack. A good manager needs to balance employees' needs and business goals as well as their aspirations and well-being. More often than not, managers have to deal with so many things simultaneously that they are under constant stress.
Usually, they are responsible for the success or the failure of the project! We will show you what to look for in a manager and how to hire the right person for this job.
Characteristics and skills of a good manager
Below, we will explore the characteristics of an effective manager, specifically five soft skills that make managers great.
Once upon a time, it was common to keep things on a need-to-know basis with your team members. But times have changed, and now employees expect complete transparency. They expect to know what's happening with their company and how they are doing. Employees want honest and direct feedback regularly, not a manager patronizing them by sugarcoating the truth.
Managers need to be excellent communicators, which means they have to maintain regular contact with all team members, offer recognition and rewards for excellent performance, and provide feedback.
Communication doesn't only happen face-to-face, but it needs to happen through body language, chat apps, and mail. Managers have to communicate with employees in a way that makes them comfortable. It all comes down to getting to know your team members and understanding their need to boost their performance.
When we hear "good communicator," we usually associate this skill to speaking and writing rather than listening. When discussing the qualities of a good manager, listening is equally important. Employees need to know that their insights and opinions are heard.
Organizations that encourage teamwork are more efficient and have better individual development than those that don't. For that very reason, managers need to support collaboration every step of the way while bypassing unhealthy competition and toxic behavior.
Reliability and consistency
Team members need to know that their leader is reliable, secure, and stable. Employees should feel comfortable approaching managers when they are struggling or need any kind of help.
What to look for when hiring a manager
Honesty. The moment team members stop believing their manager, things start falling apart. According to numerous studies, many workers believe that trusting their managers is of utmost importance for job satisfaction. When it comes to the business world, honesty is crucial; that's why when hiring a manager, look for people who understand the importance of transparency and openness.
Confidence. To keep the support of their team, managers need to sound confident when making decisions. After a tough decision has been made, managers have to be able to convince their team to move forward, even when employees would have made a different choice. Candidates who ooze with confidence are more likely to inspire other workers, including those who disagree with them.
Responsibility. Great managers understand they are in charge of an entire team of people, their performance, success, and failures. They keep tabs on all employees and help them become better workers and develop professionally. Managers who are committed to their employees and help them grow and boost their skills will keep their staff engaged.
Empathy. Managers need to be able to put themselves into their staffs' shoes and imagine what it is like to do their job. That's why it's crucial to look for a person who understands the significance of empathy.
Managers vs. leaders
It's quite tricky to be both a great manager and a great leader simultaneously, mainly because these roles demand different skill sets. For instance, great leaders don't usually make good managers because leading requires big-picture thinking and creativity, while managing requires delivering on the nitty-gritty.
Also, leaders are big-picture, future-gazing people, which doesn't go well with managers who plan everything to the final task and last penny. Leaders understand the direction of travel, while managers need to plan how that direction will be accomplished by managing people and data.
According to many, the late Steve Jobs was a remarkable visionary and leader, but an abrasive and terrible manager. A good team leader has the ability to envision future projects and lead the company into groundbreaking territories, which isn't the case with managers.
What a manager shouldn't do
Micromanage. Employees get upset when someone peeks over their shoulder. Keep in mind that team members expect a certain level of freedom, and they want managers to feel confident in their abilities and skills to perform a given job. Manipulation and intrusive behavior convey to employees that managers don't back up their capabilities, making them feel unappreciated, paranoid, and defeated.
Offer too many solutions. Great managers don't need to serve their team members everything on a silver platter. Instead, employees can develop and perfect their skills so they can resolve even the trickiest situations on their own. Some managers tend to over-provide solutions for their team, which should be avoided. Let your employees deal with their problems on their own and provide assistance only when needed.
Not define goals. Inability to define goals and poor planning can lead your team into trouble. Some managers fail to define goals for their employees, who later struggle with their tasks. Employees have no idea why they are working on something or what that work means for the organization. Remember that team members can't be productive if they don't have a clear vision ahead of them.
Have egoistic mindset. Arrogant managers believe since they are in charge of the team, they are better and more skilled than others. Such people tend to show their supremacy, which isn't great for the working environment. Many employees tend to express anguish over egoistic and arrogant managers who are unfit to lead. Eventually, these managers lose touch with their team, which further broadens the gap between both sides.
Why are good managers hard to find?
A management position requires a whole new set of skills, like business savviness, strategic thinking, organizing processes, dealing with people, etc. Those skills are difficult to acquire, assess, and measure. That's why many organizations struggle to find good managers.
What makes a good manager is their ability to understand team members, learn what motivates them and what demoralizes them. Great managers are intuitive, and that's not easy to find. More often than not, managers need to be able to present coaching skills, be meticulous, and have the tact of a diplomat.