How to be a good manager? Is an important question that executives must ask themselves in order so that they can retain and hone in the best talent for their business. Executive managers should also think about some of the reasons for why do employees quit or take up another job?
Can it be Better Salary?
Or a Good Opportunity?
Did they want a Promotion?
Maybe, but in most cases, it is because of a lack of good leadership or management. So as a leader or a manager, how can you provide good leadership for your team to increase retention?
Or, in other words, “how can you be a good manager?”
“A good manager finds satisfaction in helping others be productive, not being the most productive person in the room” – Paul Glen.
Before we get into tips and tricks for being a good manager, let us look at the manager’s role and what his daily responsibilities are.
The Manager’s Role
In all organizations, the role of employees is set in a hierarchy. The general top-down structure includes the CEO, Director, Vice President, then senior manager, managers, and the rest of the team. ( For the sake of this article, we are including both senior manager and manager roles.) Managers act as the node for connecting all employees to the management part of the organization.
The managers act as a bridge between high-level business goals and the daily operations of the business. They are responsible for converting the organization’s revenue goals into daily activities and goals of the team. They are responsible for tracking daily activities at regular intervals and modifying individual and team goals for reaching revenue targets. They need to manage transparency in the workplace so everyone feels valued and respected. This can be difficult, so using appropriate tools is important.
Depending on the department they are working in, the responsibilities of managers vary, that is the type of manager they are:
Types of Managers and How to be a Good Manager 101
As we just said, managers’ responsibility varies depending on their department. But what remains the same is a translation of business goals to the department goals and activities. Based on the department, managers can be:
- Accounting Manager
- Sales Manager
- Marketing Manager
- Product Manager
- Delivery Manager
- Customer Support Manager/ Team Leader
- HR Manager
There might be more types based on the organization’s structure.
Responsibilities tips How to be a good manager
You already know by now that managers’ responsibilities differ, but their general responsibilities pretty much stay the same.
Have you ever gone to an orchestra?
Or have you seen one on TV?
You must have observed the orchestra conductor waving his baton to guide orchestras in adjusting tempo, phrasing, and repetitions and relaying the performers’ vision to the mesmerized audience.
That is pretty much the role of a manager in an organization and a little more. Let us list it down for you:
- Hiring new employees
- Training new employees
- Coaching existing employees
- Tracking performance
- Detecting early business and performance crisis
- Decision making and problem resolution
- Translating business goals into functional and operational individual and team goals
- Monitoring expenses and budget
- Planning and future goal setting
- Tracking and reporting team progress and needs
Apart from this, in many teams, especially sales, marketing, and product, managers are also responsible for interacting with customers and exploring future opportunities for the business. But their day-to-day activities are mostly focused on daily interactions with management, team, and customers for the most part.
When it comes to the authority of a manager, in most companies, they are responsible for hiring and firing employees with the assistance of the HR team and higher management. But in a bigger organization, they may just have the power of suggesting such changes. They even are responsible for approving or disapproving any new addition of monetary resources like tech based on the business requirement and budget allotment.
Now that we know the responsibilities of a manager, you must be wondering how you can be a good manager, or better still, be a great manager?
For that, let us look at some skills that a manager should have for effectively leading and supporting his team.
Skills of a Good Manager
Managers are not just translators of business goals, but they also need to provide the right guidance, support and create a sense of comradeship to their team apart from being good orators for engaging with the team and customers. And in this digital era, managers are literally the brand ambassadors of a company, and for that need to stay updated and learn new skills.
This is as a skill requirement is given. A good manager should be able to inspire an optimum level of work from their team. They even need to set priorities for everyone and motivate the team to achieve them. And in case your team is not able to achieve the targets, managers are responsible for diagnosing the problem and providing solutions in terms of training and coaching to the team.
One of the main responsibilities is engaging with customers, teams, and management regularly, which is why effective and engaging communication skill is essential for managers. They need to engage clearly and with articulation.
“Executives need to recognize two-way communication as a more effective approach than the traditional top-down management style – NEOMA Business School in France.
Understanding customers’ and employees’ needs, delegating tasks, conflict management, and relationship building become easy for managers who are strong communicators.
In fact, Edelman’s 2021 benchmark barometer on trust found that employees ranked “good employee communication” 44 points higher than in the previous year.
How can you be a good communicator?
You can be a good communicator by actually listening and understanding the conversation.
As a manager, your key responsibility is providing support to your team. And that is not possible without actually knowing their challenges and struggles.
Listen to your team; their problems, challenges, needs, opinions, ideas, and any additional support they require. Don’t let anyone in your team feel that they don’t have a voice or their opinion is not heard.
As we saw earlier, managers also oversee the hiring and firing of the team along with investing in any other resources required by the team. Being indecisive at this point can cost the team and the company substantial revenue.
Managers should be able to make quick and profitable decisions for the business, project, issue resolution, choosing a tech stack and its investment, and drive the team towards the goal achievement.
Once you are a manager, do you think your learning graph is over?
We are here to tell you; it is not!
A good manager never leaves his learning graph at a standstill. They keep learning about new techniques, tools, methods along with personal skills. The real competence of tomorrow is not knowing about the latest tools and technologies and their optimum use for the company’s processes.
That is why a good manager learns to reflect on his learnings and technology, and resources. They must also have the faculty to reflect, give feedback, and combine action with reflection, not just for themselves but also for their team.
A manager is one of the most lonely people in any organization, as they act as the link between the management and employees. They need to handle management pressure, team goals pressure, organization structure change pressure, and pressure bought on by changing customer buying behaviour and market trends.
Managers need to stay calm and composed in any high-pressure situation and navigate the team through it. They should stay positive and help their team to stay motivated and positive.
We saw earlier, managers have a hundred tasks in a day literally, so how can they successfully complete these tasks while also exploring new revenue channels for the company?
The answer is simple- by proper time management or managing their time effectively.
A good manager breaks down big projects into smaller tasks and phases and sets milestone goals to track the progress of the project. But it is not just about planning and tracking. A manager also modifies the plan as per the needs and challenges.
Managers are literally the glue holding down the whole team. It is easy to build a team, but ensuring that the team functions as a well-oiled machine is another task.
A good manager explores individual and team strengths and weaknesses for better task management and instils team-building exercises to work hormonally and seek help for their weaknesses or problems from other team members.
Almost every engagement done by a manager involves some degree of negotiation. May it be hiring, buying new technology, or just engaging with customers and sponsors every day, especially when it comes to project managers.
If the managers can effectively negotiate with everyone, the chances of adhering to the budget increase.
Managers are also responsible for training and coaching new hires as well as aiding in the skill development of existing employees. They are the first point of contact for new employees. That is, the manager must coach them with clarity about their daily tasks, responsibilities, KPIs, and organization culture.
For coaching and training, it is first essential to uncover coaching opportunities. Or, in other words, exploring areas that the employees need help with. A good manager runs regular review and feedback sessions to uncover learning opportunities for his existing employees and provide them with coaching or coaching tools that might help them achieve their goals faster.
How to be a good manager ? – Care for the team
A good manager does not mean just helping the team with their daily tasks. But it means actually caring for the individual team members professionally and personally, i.e., building relationships with the employees.
A good manager understands their team’s personal challenges, aims, and ambitions. A good manager helps the team and individuals in overcoming their challenges and achieving their personal goals. They understand and support the team through thick and thin.
A good manager is, as we saw is responsible for many things in any organization; they are also accountable for most of these tasks, such as:
- Team’s goals
- Team performance, etc.
It is essential that they are accountable and can create detailed reports for their every decision. Or use tools that would create a sense of accountability in the whole organization, like a CRM.
A good manager should literally act like a surgeon removing the disease-ridden organ from the body. They should be able to uncover problems and challenges bought on by team, organization, changing market and provide effective solutions for navigating through the problem.
A good manager translates the problems into smaller more manageable tasks for the team so they can focus on small milestones, and he or she can focus on the big picture and find the effective road for reaching the destination.
Being tech-savvy is another skill that has come in high demand, especially after the pandemic. A good manager should be able to uncover the optimum use cases of the new techs hitting the market every day and be able to customize the product for the team’s prime uses. They should have the knowledge of tools that would help them automate their most repetitive tasks.
They should also be able to communicate and coach the team for tools working and use cases so everyone can work better together.
Now that you know how you can be a good manager let us tell you about a few mistakes that every manager makes and cut short their journey of being a great manager.
Mistakes a good manager should avoid
A good position, authority over others, and so many responsibilities are sometimes enough to break a manager. Other times, in trying to impress the upper management, a new manager ends up being just goal-oriented and forgets about his own team’s strengths and weaknesses.
There is nothing wrong with being goal-oriented. It is one of the key skill requirements for any manager, but at the same time, knowing the employee’s strengths and weaknesses is also very important.
Like above, there are many more mistakes a manager makes. Let us look at them, so you can avoid them with your team.
Being a dictator
Harry E. Chambers, in his survey of My Way or the Highway The Micromanagement Survival Guide, saw that 79% of respondents have suffered from micromanagement.
Micromanagement decreases confidence in your team and also creates a sense of being caged. You might want to be on top of all things, but it is not possible. Remember, you are just one person, and you have hired a whole team to precisely help you with these tasks, utilize them.
Doing their tasks makes a micro managing manager
We understand that you feel, for any task to be completed effectively, your hand is required. But it is not the truth.
Don’t spoon-feed your team solutions for the problems, or try completing the task yourself.
Remember, you are responsible for the overall skill development of the team, and if you do their task or spoon feed them answers, they would never learn or gain confidence over their job.
Arrogant managers or the bad managers, because of whom the employees leave the company, think they are the most intelligent and skilled people in the room, and that is why they are responsible for leading the team. In contrast, a good manager knows his strength and weakness and relies on his team, organization, and community for support.
You might have a favorite in your team, does not mean you show it.
Like a mother never differentiates between her children, a manager is not supposed to show favoritism or always take one employee’s side.
A good manager should be fair in dealing with his team and give them equal tasks and opportunities based on their caliber.
Not defining clear goals
Not defining clear goals, responsibilities and KPIs can leave your team in a state of chaos. Not defining clear goals leaves unproductive and with a lack of vision towards their and organization goals. It again leads to a team that is unable to prioritize their tasks and finish the task in the required team.
At the same time, setting up unattainable goals can leave your team feeling demotivated, stressed, and anxious, and none of these promotes a healthy work environment.
Using performance management and automation tools can help you track the current team’s progress and set up attainable goals.
Final Thoughts on How to be a Good Manager
To understand if you are a good manager or a bad manager, one of the easiest ways is to regularly evaluate a manager’s performance. The performance evaluation should be not just focused on goal completion but on the overall development of the manager. But before that, self-evaluate yourself.
Do you possess all the skills and tools required to be a good manager? Or are you repeating the same mistakes repeatedly, which leads to your team saying bye to you earlier than you expected?
This blog was written by Radhika Mohan Singh Roy who is the Head of Marketing at EngageBay.