How To Be A Good Manager – The Key Qualities You Never Knew You Needed!

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Are you a manager or trying to become one? Knowing how to be a good manager will help you successfully manage a team and also retain employees.


It’s true that there are various management styles and personalities in teams. However, there are basic skills and qualities that some of the best managers possess. Practicing these traits will benefit the team and help to foster a collaborative environment.



Manager presenting to a team
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash



Main Managerial Functions

First things first, what exactly does being a manager entail? For the most part, a manager’s job is to oversee the smooth functioning of those on their team. It involves both managing those below you hierarchically and above you.



1. Training


You are responsible for ensuring that the members on your team know how to do their jobs. This requires training. Depending on where you work and the service you provide, the training will be different and is entirely situation-based. For example, if you are a project manager at a design studio, then you will speak to clients and filter their needs to the designers on your team. It’s your job to communicate all necessary information and ensure that your team has what they need to create the deliverable.


Training can come in the form of:

  • One-on-one training sessions
  • On-the-job training
  • Training in a team
  • Formal training programs and courses


2. Organization


Whether there are processes in place or if you are defining processes in a team, organization is key. Organization involves having the right software and tools to do work. It also means that people know who and what needs to be done and by when.



3. Motivation


One of the less black and white aspects of being a good manager is providing motivation for your team. Motivation is best when it comes from inside, but some people need an external push. As a manager, you play a large part in promoting a team culture where people feel valued and understand that their role in the business or team is vital. That way, they are motivated to do their work well.


You can also help spark motivation with:

  • Designing team competitions
  • Rewarding employees
  • Providing positive and constructive feedback
  • Setting up traditional goals and metrics


4. Communication


Communication keeps a team functioning smoothly. It’s absolutely vital to good management. As a manager, it’s up to you to keep communication lines open and model by example. This may include communicating one-on-one and in group settings. Sometimes, you may have to communicate bad news, so it’s important to be able to have tough conversations. You’ll also have to communicate day-to-day tasks. Whether you communicate through email, phone, in person, etc., you want to be clear and concise. You should also always be inviting to answer questions.



How To Be A Good Manager

Some of the best ways to be a good manager include:



1. Lead By Example


Act and communicate the way you want your team to be.



2. Continue Learning


There’s always something new to learn. Just because you’re a manager doesn’t mean you need to stop honing skills and taking on new challenges.



3. Ask For Feedback


It is good practice to ask your team for their feedback on both their jobs and your management style. You can find out what is and isn’t working as everyone has their own set of preferences.



4. Set Achievable Goals


When motivating a team, try to set realistic expectations and achievable goals. If you constantly set the bar too high, it can have the opposite effect and lead to discouragement.



5. Manage Your Time


As a manager, you’ll be balancing your workload as well as overseeing your team’s. Time management is crucial. You should master calendar management and your time.



6. Be Consistent


People thrive on routines and habits. Practice consistency in how you delegate work and monitor expectations. That way, your team will know what you expect and be able to deliver.



7. Care About Relationships


When you show genuine care for your employees, you can maintain good relationships. This is also important with clients. By practicing active listening and promoting honesty, you can build everlasting relationships.



8. Understand Your Relationships With Peers


While being a manager, you may want to get ahead of yourself. Remember to remain humble in your work and practice gratitude. This way, you can better understand and communicate with your peers. You may lean on them for advice and support or vice versa.



9. Strengthen Your Skills


Strengthening your skills as a manager comes with time and practice. There are also courses and programs you can enroll in to master these skills. Perhaps, you may even consider earning your Master of Business Administration to maximize your management skills.



Avoid These Behaviors

All too often, managers get caught up in their work and can fall into bad behaviors. Try not to do the following:

  • Don’t only give feedback during performance reviews
  • Don’t ignore questions or concerns
  • Don’t avoid the hard conversations
  • Don’t micromanage your team
  • Don’t be close-minded or unwilling to accept new ideas
  • Don’t set expectations that are unrealistic


Development Opportunities

There are several ways to continue learning as a manager while on the job. Consider these:


Team of developers working together at a table
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash



Common Problems Managers Face

No job comes without its fair share of challenges. There are common problems that managers tend to face. Here’s a look at what they are and some ideas for how to avoid/solve them if they do arise.


1. Inability To Delegate


Outline the roles of every team member. List your tasks down. If a task falls into the role of an employee, understand that you are enabling them to do their job by delegating the task.



2. Lack Of Communication


If it feels hard to communicate with your team, set up check-ins. Always over communicate rather than share too little. It may be of use to consider tools like Slack, which allow for teams to be in constant digital communication where you can organize conversations by task or client in separate channels.



3. Team Lacks Respect


If your team lacks respect, then it could be related to something you’ve done. Maybe your team doesn’t feel like you show them respect. Be sure to model by example. You must set high expectations of yourself and be authentic. Practice empathy and listen to what your team has to say.



4. Work Isn’t Being Done


If work isn’t being done, there’s an issue with either information or motivation. Let your team know what their job means to the business. Ask them if they have questions or need more resources to accomplish their tasks. Another idea is to incentivize team members with rewards — either monetary or a celebratory happy hour, for example.



5. You Don’t Like Being A Manager


The truth is that management isn’t for everyone. Some people’s personalities don’t lend well to the role. In that case, ask the people above you if there’s somewhere else you can move within the company to do work you love.



Things to Remember

Before you go, take a look at these high-line bullet points and keep them in your back pocket. They are often forgotten, so they are useful reminders to get you through the day!

  • Employees aren’t friends — set boundaries
  • You have to make tough decisions — it’s a part of the job!
  • The job is time consuming — practice time management and take breaks
  • Your team is a reflection of you — as a manager, you are a leader
  • Be poised — stay calm under pressure and lead by example
  • Keep positive — do the best you can and foster a positive problem-solving mindset on behalf of your team


The Bottom Line

Becoming a manager is a big step in one’s career. For some, it comes naturally. For others, the role takes time and patience to master. The job relies on responsibility and understanding. Good management skills can be learned over time and on the job.