What are the Qualities of a Good Manager?
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Whether you are a senior leader, a manager or supervisor of people, you have the greatest job and the most difficult responsibility imaginable. People who mangers others are in a direct position to affect their performance. They can add to people’s success and that of their organizations. You hire people. You train people. You fire people. You plan projects. You delegate work, and you motivate your team.
Would you say this is so important and of such great value that companies devote significant resources to training their managers?
Wrong. It is a sad commentary that most “management training” tends to be on things, process, policy, corporate goals, etc. So what’s the problem? The problem is that successful management means getting important work done through others…it’s a people business and far to little development for managers is provided in the people side of managing.
Management success = People Skills
Most new managers are just assumed to have the people skills. They are usually selected because of their outstanding track record as an individual producer. Someone who got results doing their work, as opposed to leading others. These performers can be great managers, but they need training. There are a lot of good resources available and many that over-promise and under-deliver.
Obtaining long term management success is really a journey into people skills. New managers would do well to devote considerable thought and effort at getting better every day in this area. This involves understanding and managing others. Focus on the core people management skills that form the competencies needed to lead and manage. These skills are universal but not universally taught. Let’s explore three of the most important.
Communication: Seems obvious but advanced skills and abilities are acquired by both training and experience. Managing the people side of leadership requires the ability to delegate work by understanding how to communicate to each individual. If your company does not have focused training in the art of communication, then seek it out yourself. There are many good programs and classes but don’t fall for the quick-fix solutions. Check them out and make sure they are relevant. The manger must take the initiative. Don’t wait or ignore this critical area.
Identify and seek out experienced managers who are known for effectively communication to their people. Locate other successful managers and ask to meet to discuss your development. Be prepared with questions that focus on the basis areas of management communication such as delegating assignments and performance management a coaching.
Inquire as to, how different people might require different approaches to communication. See what communication obstacles these successful managers have faced and what solutions and methods were best suited. Where appropriate, consider asking one of these managers to “mentor” you for a period of time as you learn effective communications to lead your team. If not a true mentoring relationship, ask if you can consult with them periodically with questions.
Managers Must Really Know their People
Successful managers know their people and really understand them. They build professional work relationships by getting to know how they work, how they communicate, what they like and don’t like and whether they tend to work alone or in groups. This is a matter of frequent interaction. This does not take a lot of time, but your interest is a significant indicator to people of your commitment to helping them grow.
Why is this so critical?
This knowledge based relationship is at the heart of communication. When you manage people and delegate assignments to them, it is critical to see things through their perspective. Talk to them at their level and treat them as individuals. The feeling this elicits is a powerful motivator.
The important lesson here is that these three areas of development are high-impact. They make a difference. These are skills and abilities that every manager can pursue on their own. You don’t need to depend on anyone but yourself to provide what you really need. This holds most managers back. They think if it’s important, surely the company will provide training. Are you kidding me? The track record here is not good.
When you are, given the responsibility to manage others, the skills of communication, seeking mentors and developing a relationship with your team, these are game breakers. You need to take the initiative to find the training yourself. The pay-off over the long haul is huge. Building a reputation as a manager who leads people and can be counted on to get things done effectively holds untold power. Why would you leave that to anyone else?