How to be a good manager

10 Things Bosses and Managers Must Not Do to Save Time

How to be a good manager

Being in charge can be exhilarating, frustrating and challenging – sometimes all in the space of a single hour. But whether you’re a small business owner or working as a manager for someone else, being the one in charge is always busy. It’s understandably tempting to cut some corners so you can fit more into your busy schedule.

But be careful. Shaving some corners to save time can gouge your reputation and undermine your good management efforts.

When temptation arises, reach for this list of things you must not do to save time, no matter how time-crunched you feel.

To Be a Good Manager, Never:

Skip Breakfast
I know, I know. When it comes to saving time, skipping breakfast is natural. And who’s not in a hurry to get their day started? But skipping breakfast is a bad decision that will make you cranky, hungry and prone to making other bad choices throughout the day. If you want to be a good manager, breakfast is a must.

Set a Bad Example​
When you’re in charge, you’re in a position of leadership, whether you want to be or not, which means that people will look to you for clues as to what to think and how to behave – whether you want them to or not. So if for instance, you often come into the office late, your employees will assume that that’s acceptable to some degree. So don’t try to save time by doing (or not doing) something that sets a bad example.

Not Answer Someone’s Email Within a Reasonable Time​
I’m talking about legitimate email, of course, not spam when I say this. But not answering legitimate email is a time-wasting habit, not a time-saving one. If you’ve bothered to open and read it and you intend to answer it, all you’re doing by closing the message is make more work for yourself as you’ll have to reopen and reread the message before you reply.

What’s a reasonable timeframe? Within three business days. If this is problematical for you, remember that there is nothing wrong with an acknowledgment email that lets the recipient know you have received her message and will be responding in more detail.

Neglect to Praise Someone for ​Good Performance.

Praise is one of the most valuable management tools we have available to us. Praising people’s work provides recognition and motivation not only to the individual receiving the praise but fosters a climate of respect.

But generally, perhaps because managers are geared towards solving problems or because our culture encourages criticism rather than praise, praise is underused. If you want to be a good manager, seek out opportunities to praise your staff. It will save you time in the long run because happier employees who feel valued create fewer problems down the road.

Not Bother to Seek Input From Others​
If you don’t bother to listen to or consult with other people, you’re severely limiting your ability to be a good manager. For one thing, you close off the flow of information and ideas that are vital to making right decisions. For another, the people you are managing may view you as an autocratic leader, “controlling, bossy, and dictatorial.”

Not bothering to seek input from others is inviting because it’s so must faster than the alternative. But proper management demands seeking and being receptive to the ideas of others, too.

Not Explain or Show How to Do Something When Someone’s Asked for Help.
We all know better. But in the interests of saving time, it’s so much easier to ignore someone’s request and tell them you’ll show them or answer them later. The problem, of course, is that later never comes. Questions not answered don’t save time; they squander it.

Make your job managing staff easier by taking advantage of the teachable moment and answering the question or doing the demonstration when it comes up – or, if this isn’t possible, scheduling a definitive time to do so.

Not Bother to Properly Train Staff​
There is a simple reason never to try to save time by not properly training your staff; untrained staff cost you money. People who don’t know how to perform a task properly or where things are or what to say or do in this or that situation are going to make mistakes.

And then, to top things off, as a manager you are going to have even more fires to put out and have to spend even more of your time dealing with something that never should have happened in the first place. To be a good manager, start training staff as soon as they arrive – and keep doing it.

Put off Paperwork
I know. It’s aggravating. It’s boring. It takes away time you could be doing something that makes money. And so much of it seems completely unnecessary. But this is another one of those situations where saving time now will cost you more time later when some piece of paper you should have filled out gets lost, or some deadline is missed. Take it from a long-time piler, get it over with and save yourself future grief.

Not Bother to Keep up With Your Industry​
What happens to small business owners and managers who don’t bother to keep up with the things that are happening in their industries? Other business owners, customers, and possible promotions pass them by.

So don’t try to save time by not reading trade journals or not attending functions related to your business. You need to be aware of current trends and technologies in your field of endeavor to manage well (and to avoid looking like an idiot to those who are in the know).

Pass the Buck
Umm. who to? As a small business owner or employed manager, you’re the one it gets passed to, not the passer. Sure, some updated version of “the check’s in the mail” may save some face and buy you a little time in an immediate crisis, but no one’s really going to believe it. The time you’ve saved coming up with an excuse may have cost you a customer or client.

Is Saving Time Really the Important Thing?

Feeling a need to save time is natural; we all seem intent on cramming ever more activities into already busy lives while increasing demands are made on us. But if your work involves managing others, it’s important to resist trying to save time in ways that will diminish your management skills.

If you follow the advice on how to be a good manager presented in this article, you’ll be well on your way to being the kind of business owner or manager that employees love to work for – and that’s more important than saving time, isn’t it?

10 Things Bosses and Managers Must Not Do to Save Time

How to be a good manager

Being in charge can be exhilarating, frustrating and challenging – sometimes all in the space of a single hour. But whether you’re a small business owner or working as a manager for someone else, being the one in charge is always busy. It’s understandably tempting to cut some corners so you can fit more into your busy schedule.

But be careful. Shaving some corners to save time can gouge your reputation and undermine your good management efforts.

When temptation arises, reach for this list of things you must not do to save time, no matter how time-crunched you feel.

To Be a Good Manager, Never:

Skip Breakfast
I know, I know. When it comes to saving time, skipping breakfast is natural. And who’s not in a hurry to get their day started? But skipping breakfast is a bad decision that will make you cranky, hungry and prone to making other bad choices throughout the day. If you want to be a good manager, breakfast is a must.

Set a Bad Example​
When you’re in charge, you’re in a position of leadership, whether you want to be or not, which means that people will look to you for clues as to what to think and how to behave – whether you want them to or not. So if for instance, you often come into the office late, your employees will assume that that’s acceptable to some degree. So don’t try to save time by doing (or not doing) something that sets a bad example.

Not Answer Someone’s Email Within a Reasonable Time​
I’m talking about legitimate email, of course, not spam when I say this. But not answering legitimate email is a time-wasting habit, not a time-saving one. If you’ve bothered to open and read it and you intend to answer it, all you’re doing by closing the message is make more work for yourself as you’ll have to reopen and reread the message before you reply.

What’s a reasonable timeframe? Within three business days. If this is problematical for you, remember that there is nothing wrong with an acknowledgment email that lets the recipient know you have received her message and will be responding in more detail.

Neglect to Praise Someone for ​Good Performance.

Praise is one of the most valuable management tools we have available to us. Praising people’s work provides recognition and motivation not only to the individual receiving the praise but fosters a climate of respect.

But generally, perhaps because managers are geared towards solving problems or because our culture encourages criticism rather than praise, praise is underused. If you want to be a good manager, seek out opportunities to praise your staff. It will save you time in the long run because happier employees who feel valued create fewer problems down the road.

Not Bother to Seek Input From Others​
If you don’t bother to listen to or consult with other people, you’re severely limiting your ability to be a good manager. For one thing, you close off the flow of information and ideas that are vital to making right decisions. For another, the people you are managing may view you as an autocratic leader, “controlling, bossy, and dictatorial.”

Not bothering to seek input from others is inviting because it’s so must faster than the alternative. But proper management demands seeking and being receptive to the ideas of others, too.

Not Explain or Show How to Do Something When Someone’s Asked for Help.
We all know better. But in the interests of saving time, it’s so much easier to ignore someone’s request and tell them you’ll show them or answer them later. The problem, of course, is that later never comes. Questions not answered don’t save time; they squander it.

Make your job managing staff easier by taking advantage of the teachable moment and answering the question or doing the demonstration when it comes up – or, if this isn’t possible, scheduling a definitive time to do so.

Not Bother to Properly Train Staff​
There is a simple reason never to try to save time by not properly training your staff; untrained staff cost you money. People who don’t know how to perform a task properly or where things are or what to say or do in this or that situation are going to make mistakes.

And then, to top things off, as a manager you are going to have even more fires to put out and have to spend even more of your time dealing with something that never should have happened in the first place. To be a good manager, start training staff as soon as they arrive – and keep doing it.

Put off Paperwork
I know. It’s aggravating. It’s boring. It takes away time you could be doing something that makes money. And so much of it seems completely unnecessary. But this is another one of those situations where saving time now will cost you more time later when some piece of paper you should have filled out gets lost, or some deadline is missed. Take it from a long-time piler, get it over with and save yourself future grief.

Not Bother to Keep up With Your Industry​
What happens to small business owners and managers who don’t bother to keep up with the things that are happening in their industries? Other business owners, customers, and possible promotions pass them by.

So don’t try to save time by not reading trade journals or not attending functions related to your business. You need to be aware of current trends and technologies in your field of endeavor to manage well (and to avoid looking like an idiot to those who are in the know).

Pass the Buck
Umm. who to? As a small business owner or employed manager, you’re the one it gets passed to, not the passer. Sure, some updated version of “the check’s in the mail” may save some face and buy you a little time in an immediate crisis, but no one’s really going to believe it. The time you’ve saved coming up with an excuse may have cost you a customer or client.

Is Saving Time Really the Important Thing?

Feeling a need to save time is natural; we all seem intent on cramming ever more activities into already busy lives while increasing demands are made on us. But if your work involves managing others, it’s important to resist trying to save time in ways that will diminish your management skills.

If you follow the advice on how to be a good manager presented in this article, you’ll be well on your way to being the kind of business owner or manager that employees love to work for – and that’s more important than saving time, isn’t it?

Most businesses conduct employee evaluations on a regular basis, usually at least once a year. The evaluation typically includes a review of how the employee’s various work duties and habits compare with expectations. Often, the evaluation results are a key consideration for promotions, bonuses and raises. Regular evaluations help employees better understand what’s expected of them, improve communication between management and employees and give employees proper recognition for their work.

These topics explain how to evaluate an employee effectively and why performance evaluations are helpful leadership tools:

How to Evaluate an Employee

To evaluate an employee effectively, companies need to have a standard evaluation framework in place and review each individual employee against those standard metrics. Here’s a step-by-step guide to effectively evaluating employees:

1. Set Performance Standards

It’s important that you set clear performance standards that outline what an employee in a specific role is expected to accomplish and how the work should be done. The same standards must apply to every employee who holds the same position. All performance standards should be achievable and they should relate directly to the person’s job description.

2. Set Specific Goals

You should also set goals that are specific to each employee, unlike performance standards, which can apply to multiple workers. Goals are particular to the strengths and weaknesses of the individual employee and can help them improve their skills or learn new ones. Work with each employee to set goals that are reasonable and relevant to their position.

3. Take Notes Throughout the Year

Track the performance of your employees throughout the year. Create a performance file for each worker. Keep records of notable accomplishments or incidents, whether they’re positive or negative. Remember that you can give immediate feedback to employees when something stands out as well, you don’t have to wait until the year-end review process to give praise or constructive criticism.

4. Be Prepared

When it comes time to actually give an employee evaluation, it’s best to prepare for the meeting ahead of time. Review your documentation for the employee before the meeting and make notes of what you want to discuss with the employee. The performance review should be mostly about the positive elements of the employee’s performance, with some helpful advice on how to improve in the future. After all, if the worker’s performance was mostly negative, they probably wouldn’t still be working for you.

5. Be Honest and Specific with Criticism

When you do need to give criticism in an evaluation, be honest and straightforward about your feedback. Don’t try to sugarcoat or downplay the situation, which can create confusion for the employee. Give clear examples and then provide helpful, specific advice on how the employee can grow and improve in the future.

6. Don’t Compare Employees

The purpose of an employee evaluation is to review the performance of each staff member against a set of standard performance metrics. It’s not helpful to compare the performance of one employee to another and doing so can lead to unhealthy competition and resentment. Always circle back to your evaluation framework, not the performance of other workers.

7. Evaluate the Performance, Not the Personality

Your evaluation should focus on how well the employee performs their job, rather than their personality traits. When you make judgements about the employee’s personality, they can feel attacked and the conversation can turn hostile. So, for example, rather than giving feedback about an employee being immature or emotional, it’s more productive to instead give specific examples of the employee’s actions in the workplace that demonstrate those characteristics. Don’t make criticism personal, always tie it back to the work.

8. Have a Conversation

An employee evaluation shouldn’t be a one-way street where the manager gives feedback and the employee listens to that feedback. Instead, a productive employee evaluation should be a conversation between the two of you. Listen to your employee’s concerns and how they’d like their career to grow. Find out how you and the larger team can help the employee meet their career goals. You may also ask for an employee to provide a self-evaluation of how they think they performed at their job for the year. A performance review should allow the employee to review the workplace, their managers and themselves, as well as reflect on their own career growth.

9. Ask Specific Questions

To foster productive conversations with employees during the evaluation, it can help to enter the room with specific questions you’d like to discuss with the worker. Here are some questions you can ask employees to spark conversation and receive valuable feedback:

  • What do you hope to achieve within the company this year?
  • What resources or support do you need from the department to reach your goals?
  • What will your biggest challenges be in working to meet your business goals this year?
  • How often would you like to receive feedback?
  • How can I be a better manager to you?
  • What are your long-term career goals and how can the organization help you achieve them?
  • What new skills would you like to develop this year? Is there training we can provide to help develop those skills?

10. Give Ongoing Feedback

Ideally, employee evaluation is an ongoing process throughout the year, not a one-time task. Giving feedback throughout the year and touching base with an employee to see how they’re working toward their yearly goals can help improve worker morale and keep employees on track at work.

What is a Performance Evaluation?

An employee performance evaluation is a regular assessment and review of an employee’s performance on the job. Typically, managers conduct a full performance evaluation annually, with regular check-ins throughout the year. Performance evaluations allow an employer to set clear expectations and measure the employee’s success. The information gathered as part of a performance evaluation can help drive decisions about pay raises, promotions and layoffs.

Often, performance reviews include the manager’s evaluation of the employee’s performance as well as a self-evaluation conducted by the employee about their own review of their success. Performance evaluations should be judged against specific goals using clearly defined metrics.

What’s the Purpose of Employee Evaluation?

Employee evaluation serves a number of purposes meant to improve the individual’s performance and the company culture. Here are some of the benefits of professional employee evaluations:

  • They help employees better understand what’s expected of them
  • The manager has an opportunity to better understand the employee’s strengths and motivations
  • They give helpful feedback to employees on how they can improve their performance in the future
  • They can help the employee and manager plan for the employee’s future
  • They give objective reviews of people based on standard metrics, which can be useful for fairly evaluating promotions, raises and bonuses

How to be a good manager

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Even if your job title doesn’t include “manager,” there’s a good chance you’ll have to handle some management duty sometime in your career. And, as an entrepreneur, you’re already a manager, because almost every one of your responsibilities has some management element to it.

In short, your employees are the ones making your vision a reality, and your job is to make sure they do it efficiently.

But being an effective manager is about more than just driving your employees to work harder — or more efficiently. Forcing employees to work a certain way can breed resentment, even disloyalty, while being too soft can lead to bad habits, laziness or boredom. There’s no “right” management style, as each employee and company is going to have an individual perspective.

But there are some universally “wrong” ways to manage. Avoid them by following these 10 “golden” rules of effective management:

1. Be consistent.

This is the first rule because it applies to most of the others. Before your management approach can be effective, it must be consistent. You must reward the same behaviors every time they appear, discourage the same behaviors when they appear and treat every member of your team with an equal, level-headed view.

2. Focus on clarity, accuracy and thoroughness in communication.

How you communicate to your team can dictate your eventual success. When relaying instructions, recapping meetings or just doling out company updates, strive for the clarity, accuracy and thoroughness of your communication. This goes for any other medium, whether that means in-person communication, email or a phone call. Clarity, accuracy and thoroughness are the best way to avoid miscommunication and keep your team on the same page.

3. Set the goal of working as a team.

If you want your team members to work together, have them work for something together. Setting goals just for the department or one individual breeds a limited mentality and forces team members to remain isolated. Instead, give staffers a unified focus and purpose, to inspire them together.

4. Publicly reward and recognize hard work.

When a member of your team does something exceptional, reward him/her — with a bonus, a small trophy or even just a vocal recognition. Do this in front of the group; it will make the intended recipient feel good and show the rest of the team that hard work is rewarded. The only caveat goes back to rule one: Be consistent in your rewards so you won’t be seen as playing favorites.

5. Be the example.

As the manager and leader, you should set an example in terms of your behavior. If you show up late, your team will be less punctual. If you lose your temper easily, others will be amiss in keeping their emotions in check. Strive to be your own ideal of the perfect worker, especially in front of the team.

6. Never go with ‘one-size-fits-all.’

Your team is comprised of individuals with unique preferences, strengths, weaknesses and ideas. Never use the exact same approach to motivate, encourage or mold all of them. Focus on individuals, and customize your approach to fit each one.

7. Remain as transparent as possible.

Transparency shows your integrity as a leader, and builds trust with the individual members of your team. If you lie about something, or withhold information, you could jeopardize your relationships and the respect you command as a leader.

8. Encourage all opinions and ideas.

The more people you have actively participating in discussions and attempting to make improvements to the organization, the better. Never chastise a team member for voicing an opinion respectfully — even if it goes against your original vision or isn’t well thought out. Cutting someone down for voicing an opinion builds resentment, and discourages people from sharing their own new thoughts.

9. Help people enjoy work.

You don’t need a pool table or dress code abolition to make work fun. You can make the workday more enjoyable with such new elements as surprise lunch outings, a dedicated break room or even just casual conversations with your workers. Help your people enjoy coming to work, and they’ll do their best work for you.

10. Listen and ask questions.

If someone doesn’t agree with your management style or doesn’t like the direction of the company, don’t silence that person. Listen. And ask questions of your entire team: What do you think of this? How do you feel about that? This open dialogue makes it easier to proactively identify problems and work together to create a mutually beneficial environment. It will also make your employees feel appreciated and acknowledged.

As you’ll notice, these rules leave plenty of wiggle room to apply your own personal “brand” of leadership and management. They stand as fundamental truths, considerations and principles that govern an effective management role rather than a strict instruction manual to success. Stay true to these principles in addition to your own, and you’ll unify your team in a rewarding and enriching environment.

MARKETING • CREATIVE • DIGITAL

A hot topic that continues to pop up in every industry is how to become a better manager. Rightfully so, this is an important topic because management can have a tremendous influence on individual employees and the company as a whole. Better management skills can often equal happier, more productive and loyal employees. Additionally, recent studies have shown that improving management skills yields better financial results for an organization.

Becoming a better manager isn’t something that magically happens overnight, it’s a process that occurs by implementing simple tips and changing your current habits. It is important to remember that every industry and company has different management styles but these general tips can help improve daily interactions and relationships between employees and managers.

  1. Get to know your employees and what they want. Take the time to get to know them both on a personal level and a professional level. Know their career goals but also know their personal interests and passions.
  2. Communicate. Try to be forthcoming with your team. Let them know pertinent information and realize the effects that lack of communication can have on your staff.
  3. Listen to your employees as much as possible. If an employee comes to you with an idea or concern, try to make time and give your full attention to the issue.
  4. Be a motivator. Encourage employees to work hard and give them good reason to work hard.
  5. Be a leader, not just a manager. Provide a clear direction and goal for your team, show them how to achieve success in your organization.
  6. Improve yourself. While it’s important to improve your team, don’t forget about yourself. Examine your weaknesses and work on improving them everyday.
  7. Acknowledge success. Try and see the positives in your employees and their work. Don’t focus on what’s missing or what your team isn’t doing but rather on their successes and hard work.
  8. Be human. Just because you are a manager does not mean you are superhuman. Admit your mistakes, ask for help when needed and let your team see that you’re just as human as they are.
  9. It’s okay to be friends with your employees. Just because you are a manager does not mean you have to be cold and unfriendly. While it is important your staff knows you are the authority, chat with them, have fun with them and make your organization a great place to be.
  10. Lead by example. Make sure you operate with integrity and ethics in the workplace. Act the way that you would like your staff to act.

Although this list could be numbered to 100, these are ten seemingly obvious but very important ways that you can improve not only yourself but your employees and your business.

Are you a manager looking to hire top marketing talent in MN? Head over to our client services or contact us today!

How to be a good manager

November 12, 2020 | 3 minute read

How to be a good managerGood leadership is the foundation of a productive and engaged organization. But what actually makes a good manager? And how do you improve your own leadership skills?

Too often, managers focus on shiny “quick fix” solutions to engage their people. Initiatives like reward systems, happy hours, and perks can create a fun culture—but in order to build long-lasting engagement, managers will have to dig deeper.

Employees want motivating jobs where they can make meaningful contributions to winning teams led by inspiring managers.

Of course, developing inspiring and engaging leaders takes work and not a little introspection. Whether you’re a new manager or an old hat, there is always something you can improve.

In this article, we’ll outline the defining traits of a good manager and give you tips on how to be a better manager so you can move the needle on engagement and create happier, more productive teams.

  • What makes a good manager
  • Defining traits of a good manager
  • How to be a good manager

What makes a good manager

There is more than one way to lead effectively and good managers come in all shapes and styles. But there are several defining traits that great managers share.

Defining traits of a good manager

If you’re hiring managers or a manager yourself, focus on finding and developing these core leadership traits . Good managers are:

  • Patient
  • Empathetic
  • Trustworthy
  • Accountable
  • Approachable
  • Resilient
  • Strategic
  • Mentors
  • Effective communicators

At the end of the day, management is a people-centered job . While some work undoubtedly includes crunching numbers and tracking reports, managers are ultimately responsible for leading people. And that requires soft skills and emotional intelligence such as patience, empathy, trust, respect, and open communication.

3 tips for how to be a good manager

Having the right personality and soft skills to manage is only part of the equation. You also need to incorporate the right priorities, strategies, and best practices. Use the following tips to level up your leadership and drive employee engagement.

1. Communicate around goals.

Goal setting and performance tracking are some of the most important responsibilities a manager has. Without clear goals driving toward a specific vision, your team will (and their work) will ultimately be rudderless.

Unfortunately, too many managers drop the ball when it comes to good communication—especially around goals. In fact, according to our research, only 37.2% of employees are very involved in the individual goal-setting process and even fewer (23.4%) have full visibility into organizational goals.

Good managers know the importance of goal setting and bring their employees into the goal-setting process from the beginning.

Consistent, frequent, and open communication about goals at every level will help you

  • align your team with the organization’s strategy
  • keep your employees on the right track
  • improve performance across the board

Hold regular one-on-ones (not just annual or quarterly performance reviews) to talk with your employees about their goals, review successes and challenges, and collaborate on a plan of action. Set clear expectations for performance and help them craft realistic goals that challenge them to stretch. Have conversations individually and as a team about what the organization’s strategy and objectives are. Then connect those overarching goals to your team and employee goals.

2. Recognize good performance.

Recognition is a key driver of employee engagement. However, most employees feel under-appreciated by management. A whopping 52.5% of employees want more recognition from their manager—which leaves a lot of room for improvement.

Good managers never take their employees for granted. Create a culture of recognition on your team by building recognition into your leadership pattern. Regular, sincere employee recognition demonstrates that you (and the company) value your employees and their contributions.

Make a habit of recognizing your employees for performance milestones and efforts big and small. And acknowledge employees in both public and in private. This can be as simple as an informal thank you after an employee finishes a presentation or a more formal recognition at a team meeting or company event.

Take advantage of tools like employee recognition software to help you celebrate and motivate your employees. Recognition software facilitates manager feedback as well as peer-to-peer recognition across your team and organization. It also lets you connect recognition to employee goals and performance so your feedback is timely, relevant, and aligned with your organizational and team objectives.

3. Coach and mentor employees.

Employees want and need opportunities to grow and develop their career. Great managers invest in their employees’ development and coach them towards their personal and professional goals.

Employee development is linked to better performance and engagement. However, many employees don’t know what opportunities are available within their organization. Without that visibility and mentorship from their leaders, they can end up feeling stagnant in their position and unsure of their future with the company. This can lead to disengagement and eventual attrition.

There are multiple ways to build employee development into your leadership culture:

  • Create a formal mentorship program
  • Build a culture of feedback
  • Communicate with employees regularly on goals and review performance benchmarks
  • Offer cross-training opportunities

Check in with your employees to follow up on their personal goals and performance and share relevant opportunities with them often. As you get to know your employees and their individual aspirations and vision for their career, you will be better equipped to guide them and offer constructive feedback.

Good management isn’t always easy, but with focus and training, you can develop the skills and qualities needed to lead confidently and effectively. To begin developing the right qualities to become a better manager, download our ebook The Manager Jackpot.

How to be a good manager

November 12, 2020 | 3 minute read

How to be a good managerGood leadership is the foundation of a productive and engaged organization. But what actually makes a good manager? And how do you improve your own leadership skills?

Too often, managers focus on shiny “quick fix” solutions to engage their people. Initiatives like reward systems, happy hours, and perks can create a fun culture—but in order to build long-lasting engagement, managers will have to dig deeper.

Employees want motivating jobs where they can make meaningful contributions to winning teams led by inspiring managers.

Of course, developing inspiring and engaging leaders takes work and not a little introspection. Whether you’re a new manager or an old hat, there is always something you can improve.

In this article, we’ll outline the defining traits of a good manager and give you tips on how to be a better manager so you can move the needle on engagement and create happier, more productive teams.

  • What makes a good manager
  • Defining traits of a good manager
  • How to be a good manager

What makes a good manager

There is more than one way to lead effectively and good managers come in all shapes and styles. But there are several defining traits that great managers share.

Defining traits of a good manager

If you’re hiring managers or a manager yourself, focus on finding and developing these core leadership traits . Good managers are:

  • Patient
  • Empathetic
  • Trustworthy
  • Accountable
  • Approachable
  • Resilient
  • Strategic
  • Mentors
  • Effective communicators

At the end of the day, management is a people-centered job . While some work undoubtedly includes crunching numbers and tracking reports, managers are ultimately responsible for leading people. And that requires soft skills and emotional intelligence such as patience, empathy, trust, respect, and open communication.

3 tips for how to be a good manager

Having the right personality and soft skills to manage is only part of the equation. You also need to incorporate the right priorities, strategies, and best practices. Use the following tips to level up your leadership and drive employee engagement.

1. Communicate around goals.

Goal setting and performance tracking are some of the most important responsibilities a manager has. Without clear goals driving toward a specific vision, your team will (and their work) will ultimately be rudderless.

Unfortunately, too many managers drop the ball when it comes to good communication—especially around goals. In fact, according to our research, only 37.2% of employees are very involved in the individual goal-setting process and even fewer (23.4%) have full visibility into organizational goals.

Good managers know the importance of goal setting and bring their employees into the goal-setting process from the beginning.

Consistent, frequent, and open communication about goals at every level will help you

  • align your team with the organization’s strategy
  • keep your employees on the right track
  • improve performance across the board

Hold regular one-on-ones (not just annual or quarterly performance reviews) to talk with your employees about their goals, review successes and challenges, and collaborate on a plan of action. Set clear expectations for performance and help them craft realistic goals that challenge them to stretch. Have conversations individually and as a team about what the organization’s strategy and objectives are. Then connect those overarching goals to your team and employee goals.

2. Recognize good performance.

Recognition is a key driver of employee engagement. However, most employees feel under-appreciated by management. A whopping 52.5% of employees want more recognition from their manager—which leaves a lot of room for improvement.

Good managers never take their employees for granted. Create a culture of recognition on your team by building recognition into your leadership pattern. Regular, sincere employee recognition demonstrates that you (and the company) value your employees and their contributions.

Make a habit of recognizing your employees for performance milestones and efforts big and small. And acknowledge employees in both public and in private. This can be as simple as an informal thank you after an employee finishes a presentation or a more formal recognition at a team meeting or company event.

Take advantage of tools like employee recognition software to help you celebrate and motivate your employees. Recognition software facilitates manager feedback as well as peer-to-peer recognition across your team and organization. It also lets you connect recognition to employee goals and performance so your feedback is timely, relevant, and aligned with your organizational and team objectives.

3. Coach and mentor employees.

Employees want and need opportunities to grow and develop their career. Great managers invest in their employees’ development and coach them towards their personal and professional goals.

Employee development is linked to better performance and engagement. However, many employees don’t know what opportunities are available within their organization. Without that visibility and mentorship from their leaders, they can end up feeling stagnant in their position and unsure of their future with the company. This can lead to disengagement and eventual attrition.

There are multiple ways to build employee development into your leadership culture:

  • Create a formal mentorship program
  • Build a culture of feedback
  • Communicate with employees regularly on goals and review performance benchmarks
  • Offer cross-training opportunities

Check in with your employees to follow up on their personal goals and performance and share relevant opportunities with them often. As you get to know your employees and their individual aspirations and vision for their career, you will be better equipped to guide them and offer constructive feedback.

Good management isn’t always easy, but with focus and training, you can develop the skills and qualities needed to lead confidently and effectively. To begin developing the right qualities to become a better manager, download our ebook The Manager Jackpot.

MARKETING • CREATIVE • DIGITAL

A hot topic that continues to pop up in every industry is how to become a better manager. Rightfully so, this is an important topic because management can have a tremendous influence on individual employees and the company as a whole. Better management skills can often equal happier, more productive and loyal employees. Additionally, recent studies have shown that improving management skills yields better financial results for an organization.

Becoming a better manager isn’t something that magically happens overnight, it’s a process that occurs by implementing simple tips and changing your current habits. It is important to remember that every industry and company has different management styles but these general tips can help improve daily interactions and relationships between employees and managers.

  1. Get to know your employees and what they want. Take the time to get to know them both on a personal level and a professional level. Know their career goals but also know their personal interests and passions.
  2. Communicate. Try to be forthcoming with your team. Let them know pertinent information and realize the effects that lack of communication can have on your staff.
  3. Listen to your employees as much as possible. If an employee comes to you with an idea or concern, try to make time and give your full attention to the issue.
  4. Be a motivator. Encourage employees to work hard and give them good reason to work hard.
  5. Be a leader, not just a manager. Provide a clear direction and goal for your team, show them how to achieve success in your organization.
  6. Improve yourself. While it’s important to improve your team, don’t forget about yourself. Examine your weaknesses and work on improving them everyday.
  7. Acknowledge success. Try and see the positives in your employees and their work. Don’t focus on what’s missing or what your team isn’t doing but rather on their successes and hard work.
  8. Be human. Just because you are a manager does not mean you are superhuman. Admit your mistakes, ask for help when needed and let your team see that you’re just as human as they are.
  9. It’s okay to be friends with your employees. Just because you are a manager does not mean you have to be cold and unfriendly. While it is important your staff knows you are the authority, chat with them, have fun with them and make your organization a great place to be.
  10. Lead by example. Make sure you operate with integrity and ethics in the workplace. Act the way that you would like your staff to act.

Although this list could be numbered to 100, these are ten seemingly obvious but very important ways that you can improve not only yourself but your employees and your business.

Are you a manager looking to hire top marketing talent in MN? Head over to our client services or contact us today!