It’s more than employees who benefit from good managers—it’s the whole company. When employees are thriving under good management, they’re more productive, less likely to quit, and more likely to provide quality service to customers. So what makes a great manager? What qualities define the best sort of leadership?
To help answer those questions, here’s a look at six qualities that define a strong manager, from affirming team members to clearly communicating expectations.
1. Affirming Your Team Members: Take a page from Charles Schwab, who said “I have yet to find the person, however great or exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth a greater effort under a spirit of approval than he would … under criticism.” What he says is true. Most employees will work better and harder for a boss who is noticing. So to motivate your staffers, call out their good work, and reward their achievements. This creates an environment where employees thrive.
2. Clearly Communicating Expectations: There’s nothing worse than a boss who expects you to do something but never says so. Don’t make that mistake. Instead, be the manager who clearly articulates what you need your employees to do. When your employees understand your expectations, they’re better equipped to meet them.
3. Providing Specific, Constructive Feedback (and Accepting It Too): The best managers know how important honest, constructive feedback is to employees. When they know what they’re missing, employees know how to improve. So make it a priority to regularly give feedback to your staff members. And likewise, find colleagues from whom you can receive it yourself.
4. Delegating Responsibilities: Trying to do everything yourself is a surefire sign of micromanaging—and that’s no good for you or your staff. Instead, delegate responsibilities as you can. Divvy up your workload. Employees often rise to responsibility, and when they do, you free yourself up to get more done.
5. Listening: You want to know the secret to earning credibility and respect from your team? Listen to them. Employees know when a manager is actually listening to concerns and when he or she is just pretending. Don’t make the mistake of just going through the motions. Take time to truly consider what your employees want to say.
6. Solving Problems Quickly: When problems arise, take them seriously. Don’t let unresolved conflicts or misunderstandings grow bigger over time; cut them off at the root. This minimizes distractions for your staff and creates a better work environment for everybody.
Look at the above list as objectively as you can, ask yourself how you’re doing. Are you a good manager? Would you want to work for yourself? If not, what can you do to change now?