What Makes a Good Manager? We Discuss

To be a good manager, you have to master a lot of different skills and apply them to different areas of the business as needed. Honing those skills is vital to ensuring that your staff feels supported and that the business is thriving. Managers are an integral part of any business. 

If you are new to management or if you just want a refresher, then read on for all the information you need to improve your managerial skills. 

Important Managerial Skills

There are a few different skills that are needed in a manager’s arsenal to ensure that they can lead effectively. First and foremost, leadership managers have to be able to lead their team towards a goal. Leadership styles evolve depending on the issues at hand or the individuals on the team; however, you will still need to retain your authority in order to lead the group well.

You also need to be an effective motivator to ensure that you are getting the most out of your group. Managers are instrumental in ensuring that the individual team members are all striving to meet their goals individually as well as any collective targets. Without the proper motivation, the team is unlikely to succeed to the best of their abilities. 

Members of staff – especially your team – need to know that they can trust you and rely on you when they need to. They should also trust that any business plans or targets are effective and efficient. Occasionally, you may need to listen to complaints or issues and be able to remain impartial while also trying to implement solutions. This is where empathy and emotional intelligence come in; having a good level of both can help you to deal with disputes better and also help you to truly understand what the parties involved are feeling. 

Managers also need to be excellent communicators, which encompasses verbal, written and body language too. Otherwise, how can your staff understand what is expected of them? You will also need to be able to communicate any information that is relevant to the business. Don’t forget that communication is as much about listening as it is talking. 

As a manager, you need to lead by example; you should demonstrate the qualities you want your staff to possess. For example, if you show commitment to the goals of the team and of the business as a whole, then you can better engage your staff and encourage the same behaviour from them. Do you support your staff and help them when they are struggling? In doing so, you can encourage them to help each other more, which in turn builds a stronger team. 

Organisation is also a good skill to develop for any manager. It allows you to easily keep track of all comings and goings within the team. You will also be much more prepared for any questions or queries from staff and be able to implement strategies and plans integral to the longevity of the company. Although, arguably, organisation and knowledge go hand in hand, can you recall, off the top of your head, all information pertaining to your team and the tasks that they carry out? You are one of the only sources of information and knowledge that can easily communicate both up and down the management ladder. 

Common Problems and Their Solutions

There is no such thing as the perfect manager, even those with a lot of management experience may need a refresher every now and then. However, if you are new to management, then there are a few scenarios that you are likely to face and preparing for them in advance is highly advised. 

The first issue that you are likely to face, especially if your management role is due to a promotion, is how to switch from friend and colleague to manager. Friends who were previously on par with you now must answer to you, resulting in a big shift in the workplace dynamics. Clearing the air quickly by having a one-to-one is a great way to prevent any animosity and distrust within the team. Demonstrate your impartiality and never favour them over other members of the team.

Your success as a manager will be judged on the success of your team and their output or results. To ensure that this is as good as it can be to reflect better on yourself, you can utilise several strategies.

Firstly, set goals and provide plans to achieve those goals. Second, never punish failure; instead,help them to understand where they went wrong and how to avoid this in the future. Third, avoid micromanaging and instead trust your staff, always offer them a chance to voice their opinions or suggestions. Lastly, provide valuable feedback that they can apply in the future and reward good work.

And finally, one of the most difficult things about adjusting to management is having to deal with conflict. The best solution is prevention. You can help to limit the possibilities for conflict by ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard, team goals are clear and discouraging gossiping. You should also never bad mouth or complain about individual team members – especially to others in the team.  If conflicts do arise, then you can hold meetings and create a conflict resolution plan.

If you think that you will need more help to prepare yourself for this role, then consider the ILM Level 3 Award in Leadership and Management provided by the BCF group. It is a two-day course which aims to teach and consolidate the skills needed to be an effective manager – no experience needed. It is a widely recognised qualification that is roughly equivalent to a level 3 NVQ or BTEC, and it is something that you can put on your CV to show your current and future employers that you are invested in your professional development.

In Conclusion

Being a manager does not come naturally to everyone. It is a learning process that takes place over time; you cannot expect yourself to excel in management immediately. The above advice is a great place to start, but there is a tonne of other resources out there to help you further should you need it. If in doubt, ask your team, what do they think that you could do better, where are you excelling already? Use their advice too.

Sophia Anderson

Sophia Anderson is a blogger and a freelance writer. She is passionate about covering topics on money, business, careers, self-improvement, motivation and others. She believes in the driving force of positive attitude and constant development.