What makes a good manager?
Management… what’s that all about?
There are few possible answers that come to people’s minds:
It’s about power and prestige.
Making money, duh!
Bringing changes to this world.
Aha, we’re getting somewhere with the last point. Management is about making changes.
If you want to be a great manager to any project, you need to understand the social responsibility that comes with your position.
When you start seeing your project as something that will improve our society in any aspect, everyone around you will notice the professional and personal growth that made you a better manager.
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Let’s start going step by step. Manager is still a prestigious profession, regardless of the industry we’re talking about. It gives you an ability to make changes and lead the people of your team through all sorts of challenges. But, how exactly can you become a better manager?
Good vs. Bad Managers
Imagine two managers face the same, sticky situation: the boss loses their temper and yells at them in front of the entire work team.
Believe it or not, many managers have found themselves in such position.
They are not the highest authority in the workplace, so they serve as the connecting link between the boss and employees of all ranks. That’s a great burden to carry, so sometimes they get blamed for everything that goes wrong.
Let’s get back to our mini case study.
One of the managers lets the boss speak.
He listens very carefully and responds in a calm way.
After the event, they contemplate. They try to understand where the problem originated, and they search for solutions.
Then, they go to the main office, and they explain everything to the boss.
“I understand your dissatisfaction. I realize the mistake. Here’s what we can do about it.”
Then, he gets back at the team and gives updates on the future development of the project.
The other manager approaches the situation a bit differently.
She responds to the fire and gets into a fight.
Then, she talks to the team.
“We did nothing wrong. You know how he gets from time to time. It will pass; just carry on with the work.”
If you had to pick a winner between these two managers, who would it be?
All things considered, the first example of calm, controlled behavior represents a good manager.
That’s the person we all want to be.
Examples of Exceptional Management
Are you ready for another example of exceptional management? Pep Guardiola is considered to be one of the best managers the world of football has ever seen.
He has leads different teams to the top through a playing style based on short passing play, possession football, and attack.
He considers the talent of each player, but he also pays attention to the player’s adaptability and personality.
Vince Lombardi, an American football coach, once said:
“Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.”
Pep Guardiola is a bright example of success achieved through hard work and learning. He is tactically flexible, communicative, and always in control. He is everything a good manager is supposed to be.
So What Makes a Good Manager?
Watching great managers in action is an enlightening experience.
You can see the commitment in every action they take, and you inevitably notice the respect everyone else has for such a strong personality.
Let’s sum up their behavior through actionable points that you can implement into your own management style. Are you ready?
1. Social Responsibility
We get back to an important point we mentioned at the beginning of this article: a great manager is socially responsible.
They see and anticipate the implications of their actions, and they understand that their work is not all about money and prestige.
It’s about bringing something new, powerful, and useful to the target audience and the work as a whole.
That’s the first lesson in every business: figuring who you are working for. It’s not the boss; it’s not the customer, and it’s not you.
If you manage a team working on a technology startup, society as a whole should benefit from the technological progress you make.
This product will lead to development of various projects, so the actions you undertake now will have important projections into the future.
This realization will make you more aware of the responsibility your position carries. It will make you a good manager.
When the team makes a mistake, the manager is responsible for it. When the boss is not happy with the work, the manager translates the dissatisfaction and further instructions to the team members.
Whatever happens, the manager holds themselves accountable for it. If a manager is fearless in the way they accept responsibility, you can tell you’re looking at a great one.
Accountability comes in two directions.
A good manager also knows how to hold others accountable for their actions. That’s how they take control.
Rob Liano, a best-selling author, has a smart thing to say about accountability:
“Each day you are leading by example. Whether you realize it or not or whether it’s positive or negative, you are influencing those around you.”
A good manager makes a positive influence by taking responsibility and knowing when and how to hold others responsible.
3. Recognizing the Leaders
Pep Guardiola builds the game around a conductor. Any good manager should follow that example – choosing the player who will keep the team motivated and focused on the goals.
In a way, you are the leader of your team, so you might feel slight resentment to the idea of having other leaders within.
However, you have to realize that you cannot be in control over every single situation during the working process, especially if you’re managing a large team.
That’s why you need to recognize the exceptionally skilled and motivated people in the group and give them responsibilities that show them as sub-leaders.
4. No Attitude
Are you up for another mini case study?
One manager walks into the office and greets everyone.
A single, general good morning with a smile addressed to the entire team is enough.
Another manager walks into the same situation and acts like Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada.
Who wins the ‘best manager’ contest?
A good manager is friendly to an acceptable extent.
When they enter the office in the morning, they don’t start barking at others. Instead of giving orders, they give directions. If you’re trying to think of a good example of a manager who meets this condition, Richard Branson is the answer.
5. Empathy and Humility
Everyone has an ego. We learn how to be egocentric from the youngest age, and we all want to get attention.
A good manager, however, has a well-educated ego.
They infuse the right dose of empathy and humility into their style, so other people don’t accept them as bosses, but as leaders.
The role of someone people listen to comes naturally to a good manager.
When someone’s ego is not healthy, it can lead in two directions: insecurity or ego-centrism.
None of these extremes are good for a manager. You need to understand your role as an authority, but you should also have great respect for the work that everyone does.
Here’s another quote for you:
“Don’t let your ego get too close to your position, so that if your position gets shot down, your ego doesn’t go with it,” – Colin Powell (retired general in the US army.)
Think about that quote for a moment. It’s absolutely brilliant!
Is Good Management Only for the Chosen Ones?
It’s more for the ones who make the effort to grow.
Richard Branson, Colin Powell, Pep Guardiola and Vince Lombardi – they are all examples of great leaders who didn’t take their talent for granted.
Through the way they have managed different situations, we understand what great management is all about:
- Accepting social responsibility
- Holding yourself and other people accountable
- Recognizing the leaders within the team
- Having good connection with everyone in the office
- Taming the ego
If you have what it takes, congratulations, you can call yourself a good manager.
If you still haven’t come to that point, there’s no place for despair. You’ll get there through practice and commitment.