People don’t quit jobs—they quit bosses. You’ve probably heard this one a few times. You’ve also probably left a job or two because the manager was impossible to bear, even though the work was fulfilling, challenging, and well paid.
A good manager can make employees excel in the workplace, while a bad manager makes employees hate their jobs, drink excessive amounts of coffee, and use their time at work to find another job instead of being productive.
Importance of a good manager
Good managers can either make a team reach new heights of success. Employees and even entire departments can easily lose motivation, excitement, and productivity when managers aren’t good enough, which might cause them to look for new jobs.
In addition to overseeing a team’s productivity, a good manager is also tasked with helping the team members as individuals. This entails being aware of what motivates and inspires them, as well as their abilities and how to help them where they need to grow. Excellent communication skills and emotional intelligence are two of the many great traits of good managers.
How to be a good manager?
While it is extremely important for a company to hire and train people to become good managers—here are a few ways on how to become a good manager and the kind people are happy to work with.
Delegate some of your work
This is one of your go-to if you’re wondering how to be a good manager.
Although, it’s a struggle for even some of the best managers out there, because it happens without them noticing it. A good manager doesn’t do all the work himself; he/she understands the value of delegating work to their staff. However, not many managers are willing to let others handle some of their workload.
So, why don’t managers delegate?
There are a few reasons why some managers don’t want to let others take some work off their plate. The first one is simple—they don’t think the other person can do the job as well as them. However, with proper training, this is an unfounded fear.
The second reason is that the manager wants to be irreplaceable. However, everyone can be replaced—it’s just a matter of how expensive and time-consuming it is to replace them and hire someone new.
Third, managers think that it would take more time to train someone to do their work than they would save by delegating. In other words, the time saved would be minimal compared to the time invested in teaching someone to do the task. This is completely subjective and could be true, but delegation has its benefits, which we’ll discuss in a minute.
The fourth, and perhaps most legitimate, reason for not delegating is that the staff is already overworked and there’s no one to delegate to. Or, finally, the manager enjoys doing the work so much that they simply don’t want to delegate.
Why a good manager delegates work
The first and most obvious reason is to free up time. As soon as mundane and repetitive tasks are delegated, managers have more time to tackle tasks that are vitally important. Second, and equally important, employees will feel valued and know that the manager trusts them and their work once they are the ones doing it.
The final and most practical reason is that once work is delegated, the employees will know how to do it even if the manager is not around for one reason or another.
The same rules for everyone
One of the companies I worked for before I joined the wonderful team at Chanty was largely focused on sales. As you may or may not know, the fourth quarter of the year is when everyone gets crazy about selling, as it’s the time before budgets are made for the new year. Except for the managers, who could take days off whenever they wanted, no one in the company is allowed to take more than two days off at a time during this period.
Needless to say, none of the employees were too happy about it. The reason was that they had rules for everyone else and for the managers specifically. Or, in the words of George Orwell, some animals are more equal than others.
If you want to win the race on how to become a good manager, try leading by example instead of setting rules that apply only to your employees. If they see that you follow the rules you set for yourself, they will see that you practice what you preach and they will be happier with your leadership.
Every employee’s worst nightmare, and the reason why so many people would rather be punched in the stomach than have another meeting with their boss. Micromanaging happens when managers obsess over details and control every aspect of their employees’ work. This leaves employees with no freedom to think and make independent decisions. Needless to say, micromanagers are not among the most popular types in the workplace.
The first way to prevent micromanagement is to do something I already mentioned: delegate, but delegate with confidence. Leave the work to skilled employees and only tune in to check up on the results.
A great way to do this is the 95-95 rule. Simply put, try to be happy with 95% of the work for 95% of the time and you will spend 95% less time micromanaging. Although the numbers aren’t exactly scientifically proven, the message is the same: you can’t always be 100% content with the work that’s been done.
That’s why great managers focus on the results and not the processes. If you focus on every single detail of what your employees are doing, you’re losing sight of the big picture. Set goals and give timelines, then catch up with your team to see how they’re performing. This management style will leave more time for your own tasks and your team can make their own decisions and work without constraints.
By the way, if you want to find out if you’re a micromanager, here are 20 questions to ask yourself.
Try to be a good communicator
The primary reason why some people get promoted to managerial positions is their expertise and experience. However, a good manager also needs to have a broad range of soft skills, primarily the ability to communicate well.
First and foremost, communicate clearly. Many times, the reason why deadlines are missed and employees don’t deliver the results you expect is because you haven’t clearly communicated what needs to be done and by what date.
The second reason why conflicts arise and managers get a bad rap is a lack of listening. When your employees are addressing you, make sure you’re actually listening and paying attention. Often times, managers only appear to be listening while they’re merely preparing an answer in their minds without paying attention to the person on the other end and their non-verbal communication.
A good way to improve your communication skills is to become more available. While you can’t be open to communication all the time, make sure your employees have means to contact you and share their thoughts. Whether this is done physically or digitally (using a tool such as Chanty), have an open line of communication with your employees.
Tell it like it is
While words of praise are always welcome, sometimes the job isn’t done all that well. In situations like those, it’s up to you as the manager to make sure it doesn’t happen again. The way to prevent it is to openly give feedback without sugarcoating or euphemisms.
The reason is simple—it hinders communication, and if your employees don’t get proper and honest feedback, they won’t know where they need to improve. As tempting as it may be to be gentle with your employees in order to avoid being perceived as a bad manager, doing so will harm your work in the long run.
This is not to say that it’s a good idea to go to the other extreme and reprimand employees for every single mistake they make as they go through their workday. Make sure your feedback is open, constructive and related to overall goals.
A good manager is much more than handling orders and having a busy schedule. Good managers know how to delegate, communicate well, give honest feedback and stay away from the traps of micromanagement.
Do you know some other ways on how to become a good manager? Do you have any stories to share about good managers you’ve worked with? Please let us know in the comments!