Fit for Business: Characteristics of a Great Manager

manager and his team celebrating

Managers play a crucial role in a company. In small businesses, the owner can be the sole manager of a few employees. In larger companies, managers are the ones directly in touch with the rank and file on one hand and the C-suite upper executives on the other hand.

They, therefore, transmit the company goals and strategies crafted by upper management to the workforce. They also serve to relay feedback from the ground to the top. A company, therefore, needs great managers to succeed.

A Great Manager

Indeed’s Editorial team and career coach lay down the responsibilities and qualities of a manager. It is the manager’s role to set goals for each team, identify actionable and measurable tasks to achieve those goals, and assign people the responsibility to accomplish tasks within a specified period. A manager must have the expertise to do this based on the company’s goals for the year and for each specific period. It is also the manager’s responsibility to choose the right people who can best fulfill each task or identify those with the best potential for training for specific tasks.

A manager must have good communication skills to clearly put across the company goals and objectives as well as the specific tasks and expectations from each employee. A manager must have significantly strong leadership skills to be able to inspire and motivate team members to do their best in accomplishing their respective tasks. Such a manager sets a good example for diligent work, impeccable ethics, and fairness.

Flexibility and decisiveness are crucial qualities of a great manager, especially when unexpected situations arise, and quick decisions are needed. Swift pivots in the right direction can save the company from costly losses. These qualities will also be reassuring to employees who will know they are in good hands even in a crisis.

Even when the company is not in crisis, employees must feel that they can rely on their manager for support when they need it. They must know that the manager has their back and will fairly advocate for them. For instance, a manager must be able to see if more people are needed to accomplish certain tasks and communicate this to upper management. The manager must always ensure the health and well-being of employees.

What Managers Need
Manager speaking to higher ups

To keep great managers, it is vital for a company to listen to them. Research results published by Humu in December 2021 showed what managers across various industries are seeking.

The greatest challenge identified by managers, and what they want most help with, is burnout in the workforce. Managers find it difficult to balance the workload of team members. The most important task that would determine their success as a manager in their own estimation is identifying the team members that need support at certain times, and the kind of support they need. This is even more difficult with almost everyone working from home.

According to the researchers, top management must set one-on-one meetings with managers to listen to what they need and to provide the support they seek. Managers can be urged to also set one-on-one virtual meetings with employees and elicit what challenges they are facing and how the manager can help them. This will bring up specific issues and the opportunity to craft together concrete steps to address them. Top management must show empathy toward managers and so must managers toward employees.

In the survey, managers also stated that they find it challenging to help their people develop and grow. They recognize that the strengthening of existing skills and learning new skills increase employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention.

Training is a necessity. For instance, it is just logical that you must never assign an individual who is not doing any form of regular exercise to complete a rigorous Crossfit workout. The individual can end up with injuries. In the same manner, you must first ensure that an individual is properly trained before assigning him or her to a specific role in the company.

Training will be useless without immediate and regular application. The research stated that employees will forget 75 percent of their learnings in a week if these are not applied. Managers must, therefore, ensure that employees are trained specifically for tasks that they will immediately assume and do on a regular basis. This will ensure that they will gain expertise in that area before they move on to the next.

The company must also implement the same training method for managers. In the survey, 29 percent of the managers stated that they needed help when they were first promoted to the managerial position, and 22 percent stated that they would need help when promoted to a more senior leadership position.

A company that is sensitive and responsive to the needs of its managers will develop a strong managerial team that will provide great support to both upper management and the workforce. Such a company is geared for continued success.

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