The Business Dictionary defines a manager as ‘an individual who is in charge of a certain group of tasks or a certain subset of a company.’
Sounds simple, huh?
In the quote Manners Maketh Man, ‘manners’ mean your mannerisms and behavioural characteristics, the traits that make you who you are. And this is equally true of a manager; an excellent one must exhibit behaviours that inspire their teams to work hard, strive for their goals and enjoy the process along the way.
Why are good managers essential?
Gallup research shows that ‘managers have the greatest impact on employee engagement’ and that ‘one in two employees have left their job to get away from their manager at some point in their career.’
One in two! That’s a huge statistic and does bear out the old mantra that people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers.
According to research by A Great Place to Work two of the top qualities of a great manager are active listening, and open communication. This goes to show how vital the interpersonal skills of managers are. It’s an area that organisations really should focus on in their training and development programmes.
Other personal skills such as honesty, fairness, trust and approachability also rank highly. Employees react positively to these types of characteristics that all go to contribute to a trusting relationship between the manager and their teams. This is crucial because trust is a major factor in how engaged workers are, and research shows that ‘engaged workforces are 8% more productive, have a 16% great profit margin and 19% greater operating income that disengaged workforces in low trust cultures.’
So it seems clear that the ‘manners’ of your managers impacts directly on the success of your organisation.
What about their behaviours?
If we look at the behaviours of the best managers, we see that they manage all areas of their jobs well.
In managing their team, they ….
- Seek and value input from everyone
- Empower their team to take decisions and support them when things go wrong
- Coach and mentor individuals in the team
- Get to know their staff as individuals and are concerned for their wellbeing
- Ask for feedback
- Set clear objectives and agree them with their team, ensuring tools are in place to achieve them
In managing their activities, they …
- are able to manage change
- co-ordinate and prioritise their team’s activity
- manage crises as they arise
- take a keen interest in clients
- know how to run effective meetings
- conduct meetings efficiently
- have good time management skills
- are great problem solvers
And finally, when managing themselves they
- Take pride in achieving great results
- Are assertive and positive
- Are decisive
- Recognise the need for constant learning
- Spend time on their self-development
- Grasp opportunities to stretch themselves
In summary, we’ll refer to a wonderful quote taken directly from the Harvard Business Review:-
“Average managers play checkers, while great managers play chess. The difference? In checkers, all the pieces are uniform and move in the same way; they are interchangeable. You need to plan and coordinate their movements, certainly, but they all move at the same pace, on parallel paths. In chess, each type of piece moves in a different way, and you can’t play if you don’t know how each piece moves.”
Share this article