Which Employees are Your Best Managers?
Think about your favorite manager. Now think about what made them your favorite. Was it the success you earned while working with them? Your employer may have evaluated them based on metrics like team productivity or turnover rates. Great managers are usually good at leading productive, low-turnover teams, but those aren’t the things their employees remember.
So what about them left such an indelible mark on you? Perhaps this manager was easily approachable and worthy of your trust. Perhaps they effectively led your team through a major change and had your back the whole way. Perhaps they were always laser-focused on developing their team—on developing you.
In our view, the success of a manager is defined by the success of the people they lead. We rate a manager’s performance based largely on how their team is doing.
Identifying Bad Management Practices
Unfortunately, the terrible manager remains a popular character in our collective consciousness—and for good reason. There’s no shortage of managers unwisely promoted into the role or given insufficient training to manage people well.
You’ve got the micromanager, the bully, the leader who plays favorites, and the boss who emails subordinates in the middle of the night only to not be available for clarification or responses during the workday. You’ve likely met or heard about the manager who frequently blows off meetings, neglects to give needed details on a project, or takes credit for the work of others. Horror stories abound in review sites, online communities, and conversations across the land.
With bad management practices so rampant, it’s easy for people to forget that there are lots of managers who do their job well. Many do it exceptionally well. That’s why we want to look at the characteristics of the best managers and what businesses can do to hire, promote, and develop these leaders.
Qualities of the Best Managers
- They work hard to improve the work lives of their team members.
- They set and communicate clear expectations.
- Good managers focus on performance, so their people get better at what they do. This includes empowering employees to identify development areas that matter the most to them.
- They facilitate cooperation so that their reports work better together and better with other teams.
- They also recognize and advocate for their people. They listen carefully to know what their people need to be successful, and they aim to deliver it.
- These managers are empathetic, understanding, and supportive.
- They listen to their people and have a keen understanding of what motivates and inspires them.
- They’re available to troubleshoot problems, brainstorm ideas, and provide guidance on projects.
- They communicate effectively and correct mistakes in ways that build people up rather than tear them down.
- They teach what they know and always seek to learn.
- They have an eye for equity.