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  • Writer's picturepeterfruin

Characteristics of effective managers

Updated: Jul 5, 2021

I have had the pleasure of working with some excellent managers during my career and the misfortune to have to deal with some very bad ones! I have also worked with less effective managers and had a hand in turning them in to excellent managers.

Over the years, I have tried to determine what the difference is between an effective manager who gets the job done and those who frankly have no clue at all !

The following attributes are present in effective managers (not all characteristics but most) and they are noticeable by their absence in poor managers:

1. Provide positive leadership and a clear vision An effective manager needs to know where the journey is headed, a clear view of the direction of travel. This isn’t just about steps or deliverables, either, but a clear vision of the department or company’s future that can be clearly articulated and communicate to employees.

2. Hold themselves and others accountable Many bosses hold their staff accountable, but the best show that they hold themselves accountable as well. This means taking responsibility for both team successes and failures. Poor managers tend to blame their staff for failures!

3. Good problem solver One key thing the best bosses seem to have in common is that they are all accomplished problem solvers. They can not only spot problems as they arise. or indeed anticipate them but brainstorm successful and innovative ways to resolve or avoid them.

4. Avoid micromanaging The best bosses understand the art of delegation. they don’t interfere in the day-to-day and minute-to-minute workflow or processes. In essence, learning to delegate instead of micro-managing is about trust in the employees for whom they are responsible.

5. Effective decision makers Effective bosses must be effective decision makers. He or she cannot vacillate over every tiny decision. Being able to make decisions quickly and decisively — and then take responsibility for the outcome (see number 2) — is an important business skill, especially when managing others.

6. Understand the needs of subordinates Effective managers understand that there must be a balance between the company or client’s needs and the needs of employees. The best bosses are willing to listen and talk about any issues an employee may be having because they understand that a happy employee is a more productive employee.

7. 360 degree management Managers are expected to manage the people below them on the corporate hierarchy, but the best managers also have ways of managing their superiors and peers on behalf of their team. This will involve effective communication, managing expectations, and requesting help in a timely manner.

8. Show Appreciation Every individual wants a pat on the back once in a while, and the best bosses understand the importance of recognizing and appreciating contributions made by individuals and the wider team. This doesn’t have to mean bonuses or bottles of champagne, but regular and meaningful expressions of appreciation. Emotional rather than pecuniary rewards!

9. Be Honest There’s nothing worse than a boss who says one thing and does another, and nothing better than one who keeps their word. Just as managers must trust their team, employees must trust their boss to have their best interests at heart.

10. Work/life balance The very best managers have a passion for the work they do; they live and breathe their jobs and strive to do the best work possible. Yet at the same time, they have lives outside of work. They understand the need to balance family and work or play and work. And they set a good example of how to do that for their employees.

These are attributes I have recognised and valued in managers who have been effective and successful, and they are my opinions.

What do you think makes an effective manager? How do you spot a bad one?

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