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4 Key Characteristics of Great Managers

You may go through your entire career and never be able to experience Great Managers. And because of that, you yourself must become a Great Manager.

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4 Key Characteristics of Great Managers

  1. 1.                 4  Key  Characteristics  of  Great  Managers     Key  Points   • Supportive:  The  difference  between  support  and  micromanagement   • Loyal:  Standing  up  for  your  team   • Transparent:  Practice  transparency;  knowledge  is  power   • Influential:  Motivation  through  education     Having  a  Great  Manager  seems  almost  an  anomaly  these  days;  great  meaning,  “a   manager  whose  entire  team  is  happy  and  engaged”.  It  seems  so  easy  for  someone  to   just  be  respectful  and  nice  to  people,  but  studies  have  shown  that  this  is  just  not   something  people  can  do.  Now,  you  are  probably  thinking  why  is  this  an  anomaly   and  why  is  it  so  difficult  for  someone  to  be  at  least  a  decent  manager.  To  those  who   have  experienced  working  for  every  bad  manager  stereotype,  we  all  know  that   finding  a  Great  Manager  seems  like  a  unicorn  sighting.     According  to  an  HBR  study  in  2014,  the  manager  accounts  for  at  least  70%  of   variance  in  employee  engagement  scores  across  business  units  (HBR,  Why  Good   Managers  are  So  Rare).  And  because  of  that,  we  know  that  the  actions  and  attitude   of  the  manager  directly  reflect  onto  their  employees.  This  study  also  reported  that   “only  30%  of  U.S.  employees  are  engaged  at  work,  and  a  staggeringly  low  13%   worldwide  are  engaged.  Worse,  over  the  past  12  years  these  low  numbers  have   barely  budged,  meaning  that  the  vast  majority  of  employees  worldwide  are  failing  to   develop  and  contribute  at  work.”     After  seeing  this,  it  makes  you  wonder  who,  if  anyone,  is  happy  or  engaged  at  work.   And  then  it  makes  you  think  about  these  companies  that  consistently  rank  as  “Best   Companies  to  Work  For”  …  Are  they  the  only  ones  who  have  happy/engaged   employees?  Obviously  there  is  no  such  magical  company  where  everyone  is  happy   (maybe?),  but  I  am  guessing  that  there  are  a  few  gems  out  there  that  have  a  higher   than  30%  average.     I  know  that  the  numbers  doesn’t  favor  the  likelihood,  but  we  have  to  have  some   optimism  and  hope  that  there  is  that  so-­‐called  “Great  Manager”  out  there.  And  if  this   Art  of  the  Wingman  for  Business  is  dedicated  to  the  businesswomen  and  businessmen  who  seek  greatness  beyond  their  own   and  find  their  successes  through  helping  others  succeed.  The  Business  Wingman  follows  the  path  of  the  selfless  person.  
  2. 2. does  feel  like  you  may  be  more  likely  to  see  a  unicorn  than  have  a  great  manager,   then  the  best  way  you  can  contribute  to  this  terrible  statistic  is  to  turn  yourself  into   that  model  Great  Manager.  Take  advice  where  possible  and  prove  us  all  wrong.   Become  that  Great  Manager  and  prove  that  there  is  hope.             1) Supportive:  The  difference  between  support  and  micromanagement   Of  the  4  characteristics  of  a  Great  Manager,  this  one  seems  like  the  most  common   characteristic  missing  from  managers.  When  a  manager  is  supportive,  they  are  more   likely  to:  encourage  you  to  succeed,  be  helpful  when  you  need  help,  care  about  your   working  hours  and  support  a  strong  work-­‐life  balance,  and  most  of  all  trust  you  to   be  able  to  do  the  work  you  were  hired  for  and  not  worry  that  it  won’t  get  done.    
  3. 3. And  of  all  of  these  “bad”  characteristics,  I  think  we  should  focus  a  little  more  on  the   trust  part.  I  have  had  my  fair  share  of  bad  managers  and  I  am  certain  that  each   manager  all  had  something  in  common  whether  they  were  a  bully,  a  micromanager,   incompetent,  or  unavailable;  I  feel  that  each  one  of  them  was  filled  with  FEAR.  This   type  of  fear  comes  from  a  manager  either  insecure  about  their  abilities,  unable  to   comprehend  the  work  that  you  do,  or  fear  that  you  may  one  day  get  promoted  over   them.  This  type  of  fear  causes  mistrust,  micro-­‐management  and  a  lack  of  any   support  that  a  manager  should  give  you.       2) Loyal:  Standing  up  for  your  team   Loyalty  can  be  interpreted  in  many  ways,  so  let’s  just  simplify  this  characteristic  and   define  it  as  “standing  up  for  your  team  and  your  employees;  being  loyal  to  your   team”.  It’s  important  to  tell  your  team  and  demonstrate  to  them  that  you  will   support  them  in  their  decisions  and  actions.  Having  this  type  of  relationship  with   your  employees  only  helps  to  build  trust  and  engagement….  especially  when  times   get  tough.       For  every  manager,  you  will  for  sure  have  one  of  those  days  when  someone  on  your   team  makes  a  very  big  (and  noticeable)  mistake  and  then  you  get  a  call  from   Management  and  have  to  explain  what  happened….  then  someone  has  to  be  blamed.   We  will  not  go  into  the  details  of  how  to  deal  with  a  situation  like  this  in  this  article,   but  what  you  need  to  know  is  that  everyone  makes  mistakes  and  if  it  was  from  a   member  of  your  team,  you  need  to  decide  how  to  approach  the  situation  and  not  use   your  employee  as  the  scapegoat  and  throw  them  under  the  bus.  As  the  manager,  you   will  have  to  be  responsible  for  your  team’s  actions  too.     So  yes,  every  employee  will  make  a  mistake,  and  although  it  is  their  doing,  you  are   the  team  manager  and  it  is  up  to  you  to  take  responsibility,  and  yes,  you  must  clearly   communicate  the  mistake  to  that  team  member  and  educate  them  on  the  how  they   can  prevent  this  from  happening  again.  This  is  what  comes  with  having  a   management  role.     Also,  there  definitely  will  be  times  that  you  completely  disagree  with  your  employee   and  you  may  get  upset  by  their  decision.  It’s  up  to  you  to  stay  poised,  professional   and  composed  when  you  communicate  this  to  the  employee.  They  will  be  able  to   sense  any  kind  of  ill  feelings  and  things  could  escalate  really  fast.  Don’t  let  this   happen.  If  you  have  to  take  quick  break,  step  out  of  the  office  or  take  a  quick  power   nap  in  order  to  calm  down…then  do  it.  A  bad  conversation  can  make  a  lasting   impression.     3) Transparent:  Practice  transparency;  knowledge  is  power   Transparency  is  all  about  giving  your  employees  the  knowledge  and  information  to   make  the  right  decisions.  This  all  comes  with  trust.  Once  you  feel  that  you  can  trust   your  employees  to  do  the  right  thing,  it’s  only  best  to  then  empower  them  with   information.  As  we  all  know,  knowledge  is  power.  Enabling  your  team  to  drive   decisions  without  you  having  to  be  there  is  maybe  the  smartest  thing  that  you’ll  ever  
  4. 4. do  as  a  manager.  The  benefits  of  this  type  of  enablement  allows  you  to  grow  your   business,  scale  your  programs,  build  efficiencies,  identify  change  opportunities,  and   overall  just  have  a  happy  and  engaged  team.       And  remember,  obviously  there’re  things  that  must  stay  private  when  you  are  a   manager.    So,  just  be  smart  about  it.       4) Influential:  Motivation  through  education   Being  influential  is  a  tremendous  opportunity  in  your  role  as  a  manager.  Like  most   people,  you  have  a  set  of  criteria  that  you  look  for  in  a  manager.  Basically,  you’re   saying  that  I  will  only  work  for  this  person  if  this  or  if  that.     One  of  my  personal  criteria  that  I  look  for  a  manager  is  whether  or  not  they  are   influential  and  can  teach  me  something.  I  look  for  a  manager  who  can  both  motivate   me  to  work  harder  and  to  be  a  better  employee…  somebody  that  can  educate  me   and  teach  me  about  my  role  and  about  my  industry.  I  recall  having  a  manager  where   every  single  time  I  asked  a  question,  he  made  it  a  point  to  always  give  me  the  big   picture  answer.  He  made  sure  to  let  me  know  that  this  specific  tactic  that  I  needed  to   accomplish  was  a  part  of  a  bigger  project  and  he  was  always  available  to  explain   how  it  related  to  the  bigger  project.  Because  of  this  type  of  information  it  made  me  a   smarter  employee  and  allowed  me  to  really  grow  into  my  position  and  excel   throughout  the  years.       In  conclusion   There’s  no  such  thing  as  a  perfect  manager,  but  I  truly  believe  that  there  is  such  a   thing  as  a  Great  Manager.  From  the  research  above,  the  likelihood  of  you  having  one   of  those  Great  Managers  may  be  slim  to  none.  For  most,  you  may  go  through  your   entire  career  and  never  be  able  to  experience  what  it’s  like  to  have  a  Great  Manager.   And  because  of  that,  I  ask  you  to  do  one  thing.  Go  against  the  grain.    Do  the   uncommon  thing  and  you  yourself  become  a  Great  Manager.  Prove  everybody   wrong,  and  show  everybody  that  there  is  hope.       Visit  our  blog  at  http://www.artofthewingman.com.