The Definition of a Great Manager

Joe Weinlick
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The basic job of every leader is supervising a goal from point A to point Z. Good managers care about making performance adjustments at each step, while bad ones charge ahead toward an outcome without addressing fundamental problems. Simply getting the job done isn't enough when profit, employee turnover and client satisfaction are on the line. To build a skilled, engaged workforce, learn to identify and empower managers who have these crucial leadership qualities.

Clear Communicators

Employees look to management for directions and confirmation that they are prioritizing well on the job. A good manager sets clear standards and objectives while making sure employees understand why specific policies and techniques are in place. Barking orders without providing context creates a dysfunctional workplace where employees are expected to blindly comply and never think for themselves, says management consultant Mark Graban. The best leaders listen to employee insights and involve them in decision-making, producing two-way feedback that improves operations.

Conflict Mediators

Leaders shouldn't take sides or hide out and wait for workplace conflicts to dissolve. Both scenarios leave employees feeling ignored and undervalued, making them happy to jump ship when a better offer comes around. Good managers are observant and empathetic, able to see a conflict from many perspectives and offer solutions that acknowledge each employee's concerns. Even when employees don't get the outcomes they desire, they trust and mimic bosses who mediate fairly and handle problems before they escalate.

Resourceful Strategizers

Weak leaders stick to familiar methods rather than evaluating areas where a business can improve. Their choices may produce acceptable results, but they overlook opportunities to simplify operations and boost employee performance. On the other hand, a good manager isn't afraid to try new approaches and redefine employee roles to foster an environment where workers regularly use their strengths. Adaptability and efficiency are top priorities because forward-thinking leaders realize that what worked in the past may not provide the best results in the future.

Supportive Mentors

If leaders expect excellence, they have to be willing to reward employees for great performance. Good managers pay attention to employee strengths, weaknesses and goals, so they can provide challenges that push employees to learn and grow in their roles. They also encourage employees to set high standards for themselves and recognize when workers outgrow their positions. Employees who are continually developing add value to a business, and promotions should never be used as a last resort or withheld as a means of control.

Lifelong Learners

Skilled leaders take direction as well as they give it, even when good advice comes from subordinates. Good managers know they aren't all-knowing or faultless, and because they respect other employees as equals, they are open to ideas and constructive criticism. They can confidently step aside and validate the contributions of lower-ranking employees without feeling threatened.

Poor management influences every stage of workflow, creating problems that prevent your business from expanding. Good managers keep the workforce at peak performance and cultivate valuable leadership qualities in other employees, ensuring the continued success of the business.

Photo courtesy of Ambro at


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