How To Be A Great Manager

The prerequisites for being a great manager are:

  • Sincerely and deeply caring about your team and company.

  • Having empathy, self-awareness, organizational awareness, perspective, maturity, and security.

If you possess those characteristics, you can become a great manager in practice by doing the following:

  1. Empower your team.

    Your job is to set high expectations, invite questions, be available, and trust your team enough to let go. Your team’s job is to own their tasks, update you, and ask questions. Don’t micromanage. Get involved the minimum amount possible.

  2. Serve your team.

    Your job as a manager is to serve your team, not the other way. Put your team before yourself and you, your team, and your company will all be better off. Give credit and take blame. Stand up for them. Highlight them, their skills, and their success. You can’t succeed if they don’t.

  3. Seek and provide open, honest, and frequent communication of all kinds.

    Celebrate, discuss, and learn from successes and failures. Encourage debate. Ask for ideas. Seek and provide immediate and frequent feedback.

  4. Develop strong relationships.

    Your relationships with your team set the foundation for everything else. Strong relationships make you and your team happier, communicate better, and more successful. Take time to get personal. Once a month at your team meeting, talk about your life outside of work. Get together outside the office. Get to know the other people in their lives.

  5. Understand strengths, weaknesses, and motivations.

    Keep notes on everyone. This isn’t a list you update and glance at once a year. This is something you think about every week, in the context of every meeting and every assignment. This guides how you apply these practices to each person.

  6. Focus on career development.

    Align your team’s career goals with day-to-day tasks when possible. Push them to think about and accomplish their goals. Help them develop the skills they’ll need.

  7. Be available.

    Do one-on-ones with each person. Don’t block someone’s progress on a task. Pitch in when it makes sense. When a big project is taking long hours, be there and help out.

  8. Be positive, enthusiastic, and energetic.

    Your attitude permeates the team. If you have the right attitude, so will they. Your attitude will be in the background on everything your team does. It will make good times even better and bad times easier to push through.

  9. Explain the contribution to the whole.

    Your team wants to be part of something bigger than themselves. Talk about how team responsibilities and tasks are consistent with and contribute to the company and mission.

  10. Tailor your management.

    Every person and situation is different. Be flexible, not dogmatic. These are good practices to start with, but learn, adapt, and apply these as you see fit.

  11. Bonus point and maybe most importantly: HIRE WELL!

    No easier way to be a great manager than to hire great people who are easy to manage.

If you’re going to dedicate yourself to being a great manager, do more than read about it. Take the best ideas from every source. Make a checklist of the things you need to do. And check them off repeatedly. Your team will notice.

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@jaredcohe