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What Makes A Great Manager?

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Posted by Mary Beth Erskine on Feb 2, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Here are five traits of great managers, 10 reasons some bosses fail and lessons you can learn from both.

Saint-Leo-University-OnlineYou know nearly everything there is to know about your department – after all, you’ve been there more than five years.

Now that your boss has been promoted, you’re a shoe-in to be the next department manager, right? It’s something you’ve been preparing a long time for by earning an online business degree in management and taking the lead on key projects.   

It’s the natural next step in your career.

But are you suited for management? Do you have the personality traits and talents to be successful?

According to recent research from Gallup, just one in 10 people have the talents needed to be a great manager.  

That’s significant, because managers who lead a team to excellence can significantly improve a company’s bottom line.


Traits of good managers

So what are the talents of great managers? Gallup lists five:

  1. They motivate every single employee to take action and engage employees with a compelling mission and vision.

  2. They have the assertiveness to drive outcomes and the ability to overcome adversity and resistance.

  3. They create a culture of accountability.

  4. They build relationships that create trust, open dialogues and full transparency.

  5. They make decisions based on productivity, not politics.

If you’ve ever worked for a really great boss, chances are the experience will stick with you for life. Great bosses leave you feeling truly inspired, deeply engaged and willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. 


Habits of ineffective managers

Poor managers, on the other hand, can ruin your career, diminish morale and dash a department’s productivity – and unfortunately, they are all too common.

According to research by leadership consultant Robert Hogan, 75 percent of employees say their boss is the worst part of their job, and 65 percent say they’d take a new boss over a pay raise. 

So how can you spot a bad boss? Here are 10 telltale signs.

1.  They’re power hungry.
Good managers delegate tasks. They work through others to get the job done, but don’t hesitate to jump in the trenches. They solicit ideas from others and talk to all team members as equals.

2.  They can’t let it go.
Good managers embrace change. They are flexible and open to new ideas.  They are willing to shift the paradigm and move away from “the way we’ve always done it.

3.  They can’t see the forest for the trees.
Good managers set the vision. They don’t get bogged down with details. They focus on long-term goals and communicate those goals clearly and concisely.

4.  They thrive in chaos.
Good managers are detail-oriented. They organize everything, from their teams and their functions to projects, processes and expectations.

5.  They hate the spotlight.
Good managers are easily accessible and always in sight. They recruit employees, set goals, report to management and accept responsibility for the mistakes of their teams.

6.  They think subtle hints are the best way to get their message across.
Good managers have excellent written and verbal communication skills. They are clear and up front; they leave no question unanswered.

7.  They think praise is overrated.
Good managers know that praise is one of the most effective tools to boost employee productivity. They offer it generously and sincerely for a job well done.

 
8.  They are always right.
Good managers know that being in charge does not always make them right. They listen to others. They encourage ideas and give full credit where it’s due.

 
9.  They tell people what they want to hear.
Good news or bad, good managers tell it like it is. They have integrity and their teams can trust them to keep their word.

 
10They rule with an iron fist.
Good managers understand that fear is not an effective motivator. They keep their emotions in check. They are positive and consistent and earn the respect of their team.


Lessons to be learned

The good news is you can learn a lot about management from a bad boss. The most challenging managers teach you to be creative, to fly under the radar, to always do your best work and ask for what you want.

Author and executive thought leader Paul Shoemaker says, “The school of hard knocks is a great teacher, even if the tuition is very high, precisely because the lessons make such a deep imprint.”

So good boss or bad, learn all you can – the lessons will likely make you a better manager one day.

Can you offer any other ideas about what makes a good manager?

Image Credit: JD Hancock on Flickr/Creative Commons

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The American Dream -- Reinventing Herself With An Online Degree

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