What Does It Take To Be A Good Manager?

It's not easy being a manager in the real world
It’s not easy being a manager in the real world
Image Credit: Paul L Dineen

An interesting question that many of us may not have spent a lot of time thinking about is what does it take to be a good manager? All too often in today’s fast paced world of business, many people find themselves in management positions with little to no manager training and no manager skills. Additionally, they have no idea how to deal with direct reports. All too often companies no longer offer any training to those people that they are placing in management roles and they are making people managers when they are younger and they are doing it without any training. What is it going to take to make sure that we become good managers?

Learning To Be A Good Manager

If we take a step back, it turns out that there are a lot of different things that we need to know how to do as managers. These include understanding employment law, how to both hire and fire members of our team, how to deliver a performance review, and how to motivate a team. Just to make things a bit more complicated, managers also have to know how to manage people who may be the same age as their parents and understand how to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace.

When people become managers, one of the biggest surprises that they often encounter is just how much time it takes to be a good manager. Managers need to understand that how they interact with the members of their team is a critical part of how well they manage. When talking with team members, managers need to learn how to listen to what they are saying while not censuring them or upsetting them as they attempt to learn more about how the person is feeling. During discussions, managers need to learn how to use broad questions in order to get their team members to open up and share more with them.

Managers need to understand that when they are interacting with members of their team, it’s going to be up to them to determine the underlying issues that are driving their workplace behavior. Since managers spend so much time with their teams, there is a hidden danger that they have to be aware of. If they are not careful, they can find themselves being sucked into an almost therapist type of role that can easily start to take up too much of their time. Managers need to ask themselves how much of their day they are going to be willing to spend helping a single employee. Becoming a good manager allows managers to better understand what their managers have to be dealing with and allows them to become better employees also.

Good Manager Skills

So what does it take to be a good manager? Managers need to realize a number of different things when they become manager. The first of these is that things have changed. They are no longer the employee that they used to be. There is no way that they can do all of the tasks that are now being asked of them as a manager and still do all of the things that they used to do in their old job. Managers need to understand that along with their new job come new job requirements.

Communication is one of the key skills that all managers have to learn how to master. What this means is that every time that you have to make a decision, you are going to have to think about how you are going to explain it to your team before you make the decision. There is a very good chance that you may have to defend any decision that you make and this may end up making you unpopular. Any time that you have to make a difficult decision, take the time to think about how you’ll go about explaining it to other people before you make up your mind. The power of doing this that that if you take the time to think about your decisions before you make them, then you’ll be able to make better decisions.

One of the key things that a lot of managers don’t realize is that they don’t have to know everything. In fact, what they need to is to let the members of their team know what they don’t know. This provides a manager with the ability to show respect to their team for their knowledge by taking the time to ask them questions. You need to do this even in the cases where you think that you already know the answer. When people provide you with their inputs, make it a team building event and make sure that you thank them for making the effort.

What All Of This Means For You

Who ever said that being a manager was an easy thing to do? These days a lot of people are finding themselves being thrown into management positions with little or no training. The result of this is that they find themselves being called on to perform actions that they simply don’t know how to do. In order to be a good manager, you need to understand what a manager is really supposed to be doing.

Being a manager requires an individual to have lots of diverse knowledge. This runs the spectrum from understanding the law to understanding how to interact with a wide variety of people. Being a manager is something that requires a great deal of time. Managers have to master the art of talking with different people about different things. Managers spend a lot of time talking with the members of their team. They need to be careful to make sure that they don’t fall into the role of becoming a therapist for their team. When someone becomes a manager, they need to understand that they can no longer perform their old job duties and be a manager at the same time. Any time that a manager has to make a decision, they need to first make sure that they’ll be able to explain it to their team. Managers do need to know a lot, but they don’t need to know everything. They should rely on their team for information and complement the team when they provide needed inputs.

Managers are leaders. In order to become a good leader, a manager needs to have a good understanding of what is going to be required of them. They need to take the time to interact well with their team even as they assume the role of manager and leave their previous job behind. You can become a good manager, just take the time to understand what the job requires of you and then go ahead and execute!

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that managers should seek out other managers in order to get feedback on how they are doing?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

So just exactly how much change is there in your life right now? If you are like most of us you’d probably say that there is a lot of change going on. What this means is that there is probably a lot of change going on for your team also. What managers need to understand is that we all tend to deal with change differently. The members of your team will be a great example of this. Some will take to new things like a duck takes to water – they’ll dive in and learn all about it. However, others will push back and won’t want to change. When this happens, you are going to have to use your manager skills and get them to accept the change.

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