As I’ve been going through motivational quotes about managers I’d like to share, I kept running into sayings that separate managers from leaders. As a manager myself, I couldn’t help but disagree with those statements. Then, I ran into this one:
Every good leader is part manager and every good manager is part leader. – Condoleezza Rice
This quote is exactly how I feel about leaders and managers. Even though leaders and managers may have a different set of skills, I think that the only way to succeed as a manager is to both lead and manage people and projects. As Marcus Buckingham says:
Great managers know and value the unique abilities and even the eccentricities of their employees, and they learn how best to integrate them into a coordinated plan of attack.
So, here’s a list of qualities I find important in a good manager.
People tend to assume a lot, which most of the time leads to miscommunication. As a manager, it is your job to make things as clear as possible. Avoid long digressions, try to be as organized as possible when you speak, and make sure to always ask at the end if there are any questions. It often takes time for people to process new information so make sure to encourage them to contact or approach you later if they have nothing to ask at the moment.
Whenever possible, share as much information as possible. Giving your team additional information can help them understand the task or the problem better. Don’t assume someone else will inform them about the issue at hand. It is better to repeat the info than not share it at all. Sharing is caring and the same goes for knowledge and information when it comes to teamwork.
BEING A GOOD LISTENER
Listening well is more than a matter of talking less. – Adam Grant
In his article for Ideas Ted, Adam Grant talks about the art of listening. He says that good listening starts with showing more interest in other people’s interests rather than just waiting on your turn to share your own opinion or prove the other person wrong.
Good managers seek their team’s opinion, especially when the team members have more knowledge on the matter at hand. Even if that’s not the case, you should hear your team out. After all, you are collaborating on a project and the more you invite them to share, the more invested they will be in the project because they will feel they are being heard.
Being a good listener is hard, but it’s an acquired skill. According to Adam Grant, 94% of managers who evaluated themselves as good listeners had been rated as the worst listeners by their employees. So, next time you are anxious to share, take a deep breath and actually try to listen first.
KNOWING HOW TO DELEGATE
More often than not, managers are good problem solvers. They have been working hard to get to the position of a manager and once they are there, they just keep going in the same rhythm. However, once you start being responsible for more people and more projects, following the same pace you had while you were climbing up the ladder is just not doable. The sooner you learn to delegate, the better. Simply put, you’ll be able to do your job better if you know how to delegate.
Knowing how to delegate not only helps you do your job better but it also helps you team. As Amanda Miller states in her article on management, “When a leader swoops in to fix every problem, they’re robbing the members of their team of the chance to learn and grow.” If you’re micromanaging, you’re not allowing your team to improve, make mistakes and learn from them. According to Amanda, you can learn to delegate by giving up some old duties and doing it openly because only when you are completely explicit will the people be encouraged to take action.
Finally, delegating tasks to your team builds trust and the team feels more motivated to do better because they know you depend on them to get the job done.
ASKING FOR FEEDBACK
This is one of the most important things for me as a manager. I tend to seek feedback whenever possible because it is the one safe way to know what you are doing well and what you need to improve. By encouraging the culture of feedback, you are letting your team know that you care about their opinion of you as their manager and that you are willing to learn and grow with their help.
By empowering your subordinates with specific requests, you’ll not only get their honest feedback but you’ll also show that you want to break your bad habits and welcome their assistance to do so. – Amanda Miller
The sooner you start asking for feedback in your career, the better. People are more willing to give you feedback early in your career, when you are not their superior. If you start early enough, you can build a reputation of a person who is genuinely interested in getting feedback and that can be very helpful later on.
As I said before, these are just some of many qualities a good manager should have, but the qualities listed here are the ones that matter the most to me. How about you? What qualities are you looking for in a manager? Which ones matter to you?
Let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you.
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