There are good managers. And then, there are great ones.
Managers who are successful in their respective fields leading large teams need to bounce between daily activities with various team members and then to the global responsibilities of the organization.
While some best practices to obtain qualities of a good manager are inherited over the years (starting with the way families raise their children), the evolution of management builds on top of “hard skills” in the corresponding business segment, interpersonal communication, mastering psychology techniques for handling conflicts and getting to know each team and the business objectives separately.
But yes, great managers commonly grow within a business.
Many of them started from low-paid, intense jobs as regular employees. They evolved because they were excellent in their tasks, delivered good results, and went through many promotions until they were offered senior management roles.
This growth process is what sets experienced managers apart and the reason why many MBA graduates find it difficult to land a job that is relevant to their field. What they learned in theory does not comprehensively cover the actual day-to-day tasks of managing projects and teams.
It’s an iterative process and some managers are better at certain activities than others – but following this guide will help you master the most important skills that all top managers possess.
Let’s dive into each of the following skills and discuss what makes them paramount to becoming a respectable manager at work.
Effective managers are driven. They have a clear sense of purpose and a strong work ethic.
These are the managers who are constantly looking for ways to improve themselves and their teams and are willing to put in the time and effort needed to achieve their goals.
They set high standards for themselves and their team, and are not satisfied with “so-so”.
Willing to push themselves and their team to new levels of success, managers who are driven are focused and determined to take on any challenges—the most challenging of which, sometimes, is to stay driven.
Here are some tips that work if you want to stay driven as a manager.
- Set clear goals: Establish definite, quantifiable, and unambiguous goals. This will help you stay motivated and focused. Track your progress as you divide large goals into more manageable, shorter chores.
- Stay organized: Create a strategy that works for you to keep organized, set priorities, and efficiently manage your time.
- Prioritize self-care: Emphasize self-care activities like getting adequate sleep, eating a nutritious diet, exercising, and taking breaks. To prevent burnout, recharge your batteries and keep in mind effective stress management techniques.
- Celebrate successes: Acknowledge your accomplishments and appreciate all of your successes, no matter how small.
Time is a precious resource that many easily waste.
When managers manage their time efficiently, they can prioritize tasks, meet deadlines, and make the most of the limited time available.
The following are some of the productivity frameworks I have tried and tested to improve time management:
- The Eisenhower Matrix
- The Pomodoro Technique
- The Getting Things Done (GTD) Method
- The Agile Methodology
- The Kanban System
- The SMART Goal Framework
- The OKR (Objectives and Key Results) Framework
Pomodoro Technique: This technique entails segmenting your workday into 25-minute blocks, with a 5-minute break in between. Consider taking a lengthier pause of 15-20 minutes after every fourth pomodoro. Working in concentrated sprints is the idea, which can increase output.
Eisenhower Matrix: By classifying tasks according to their importance and urgency, this framework aids in task prioritization. The matrix is divided into four quadrants: important and urgent, urgent but not important, urgent but not urgent, and neither important nor urgent. This might assist you in choosing which things to prioritize first.
GTD (Getting Things Done): productivity method entails categorizing and recording all of your chores and ideas in a reliable system, followed by routine evaluation and action. The goal is to clarify
Set concrete, measurable, attainable, pertinent, and time-bound goals using the SMART framework. You may more effectively track progress and complete more tasks in less time by adopting SMART goals.
The ability to set clear goals, reduce distractions, and assign jobs skillfully are indicators that one is a great manager.
A goal-oriented manager concentrates on attaining the objectives of the business, the team, and the individual workers. They develop a goal for their group and work to achieve it.
Goal-oriented managers can inspire their staff to work together towards a single goal, which boosts productivity, employee engagement, and job happiness.
Several goal-oriented systems exist.
Business frameworks like EOS or 4DX present opportunities for managers to establish goals and KPIs.
OKRs are among my favorite.
Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) provide a framework for setting high-level goals along with some actionable measurables in place.
Metrics must be SMART – simple, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.
Devising a clear flow facilitates that and keeps everyone on the same page.
About 95% of US individuals who use OKRs think they comprehend how their work fits into the company’s bigger strategic objectives. According to the survey, only 79% of those who do not use OKRs think they have the same comprehension.
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A key characteristic that distinguishes outstanding managers from average ones is resourcefulness. Not only are resourceful managers adept at fixing problems, but they can also come up with original solutions to problems.
They are skilled at maximizing the advantages offered by the resources at their disposal. They are able to adjust to shifting circumstances, get beyond challenges, and seize opportunities.
Managerial resourcefulness is the capacity of a manager to handle issues and overcome obstacles in a challenging and unpredictably changing work environment. It requires having a range of general skills that enable adaptable responses to shifting circumstances, like the capacity for critical thought, effective communication, and teamwork.
Resourceful managers are also adept at determining the strengths and limitations of their team members. They are skilled at making the most of each individual’s special skills and capabilities in order to accomplish the team’s objectives.
As a result, the team becomes stronger and more effective and is better able to overcome obstacles and produce desired results.
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Excellent team managers are individuals people who can relate to their team members on a personal level. They listen well, are friendly, and have empathy. For advice on how to be relational, read on:
- Demonstrate that you genuinely care about each person of your team.
- Actively listen to them and acknowledge their feelings
- Provide regular comments and praise for accomplishments
- Encourage collaboration and encourage open communication
- Be encouraging and personable to foster a healthy work atmosphere.
A great manager needs a variety of abilities and qualities, including determination, time management skills, resourcefulness, and people skills. Managers that possess these traits can successfully lead their teams and accomplish their objectives.
It is crucial to remember that these characteristics can be created via self-awareness, practice, and ongoing learning and that they are not fixed. Managers may improve their effectiveness in their positions and have a positive effect on their team and organization by developing these abilities.
In a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 72% of respondents indicated that assertiveness was a critical quality in a manager.
According to Folkman (2013), those with good judgment but lack assertiveness are still ineffective. Those who are high in assertiveness but lack sound judgment are viewed as better leaders.
One must strike a balance between being assertive and having good judgment.
It’s crucial to remember that being overly pushy can have unfavorable effects. Managers must maintain a healthy balance between assertiveness and humility and to handle aggressive communication in a positive and courteous manner.
To embody just the right kind of assertiveness in managing people, observe the following tips:
- Speak clearly and authoritatively: To effectively convey your message, be clear in your speech and adopt an authoritative demeanor.
- Actively listening to the other person’s perspective and considering their needs is important while conversing with others.
- Be respectful: Always be polite and professional in your interactions, even when you disagree with someone.
- Practice conflict resolution: To effectively manage conflicts and preserve strong working relationships, learn and put into practice effective conflict resolution skills including active listening, compromise, and bargaining.
I’ve written about the 4 Ps in conflict management on my blog. This is how the framework looks:
To stay ahead of potential issues and take preventative measures before they become major problems, great managers must be proactive.
Managers can ultimately save time and resources by recognizing and resolving possible difficulties in the early stages. Also, being proactive aids managers in identifying areas for improvement and putting changes into practice that may increase productivity and efficiency.
It is insufficient for managers in the fast-paced business climate of today to only respond to issues as they emerge. To succeed and remain competitive, they must take initiative.
This entails having the ability to plan ahead, spot prospective problems, and take appropriate action to solve them before they become significant hurdles. growth and improvement through time.
Great managers must be communicative to influence decision-making processes, effectively communicate ideas and information, and build strong relationships with their team members and other stakeholders.
Furthermore, managers can promote an open communication culture, obtain support for their projects, and establish trust and credibility with their team members by being able to communicate clearly and persuasively.
This particular trait of a manager is also important in inspiring and motivating team members. Managers can rally their team around a common objective and motivate them to work toward it with excitement and determination when they can establish a clear vision and convey it effectively.
Also, being able to give clear, compassionate feedback and direction can help team members perform better, advance their careers, and feel appreciated and supported.
A flexible manager can adjust to various circumstances, shifting priorities, and changing conditions. This equates with one’s willingness to change plans and strategies as necessary, and openness to new ideas and viewpoints.
Managers who are flexible are adaptable so they can easily respond to unforeseen obstacles and spot opportunities.
Flexible managers may collaborate with a variety of personalities and working methods. They may adapt their management style to each team member’s needs, identify and play to their strengths, and offer assistance where it is required.
This quality enables managers to establish a welcoming and motivating workplace, which is crucial in creating a cohesive and effective team.
10. Critical Thinker
In order to solve complex problems, make strategic decisions, and identify opportunities, a manager has to be a critical thinker who is able to analyze data, evaluate options, and make sound judgments based on evidence and reason.
One must aspire to develop critical thinking skills and constantly level up.
Managers who are critical thinkers have the ability to:
- examine many possibilities
- understand difficult situations
- reach well-informed judgments supported by facts and logic
- recognize biases and assumptions that may influence their decision-making process
- take action to lessen those effects
- predict future issues
- create backup plans
- reduce risks
- foresee the effects of decisions and action
- assess evidence
- make accurate judgments
Note that being able to recognize and question biases and preconceptions that may distort judgment is another aspect of critical thinking.
11. Creative Thinker
Are you willing to take risks, think outside the box, and explore new ideas?
Creative thinking enables you to develop innovative strategies, products, and services that can give your team and the entire organization a competitive advantage.
Managers who are creative can develop fresh goods, services, and procedures through the use of creative thinking, which can help their team and organization grow and succeed.
A culture of innovation and continuous improvement can be fostered by creative thinkers since they can motivate their team members to think creatively as well. Additionally, managers may stay competitive by using innovative thinking to spot areas for improvement and growth.
Great managers must be able to foster innovation in their team members in addition to having new ideas themselves. They must provide a supportive environment where team members feel free to take chances and voice their thoughts. Here’s a guide I have created to improve your creative thinking skills.
Take a look at some tips below:
Indeed, the ability to integrate seemingly unconnected thoughts and concepts as well as the capacity to view things from various angles are additional characteristics of creative thinking.
Managers may promote a culture of continuous improvement and a team that is constantly striving for excellence by promoting creative thinking.
Great Managers Move Mountains
Great managers are great because they have developed skills that are valuable to the business.
Common management problems were the reason I compiled the extensive list of business challenges across both small and massive corporations out there. Even if you manage a single department, you can potentially grow further, step into a director role, a VP, or even join the C-suite.
In order to climb up the career ladder, you must understand the dynamics of running a business, how different departments work together, what problems stakeholders deal with, and how to act on each of them. My article covers a list of 30+ challenges and I continuously write about business problems for executives and managers.
And if you want to get a detailed breakdown across different industries, make sure you enroll in my free business accelerator course.
You can have a support group to grow with you at The Growth Shuttle Community I have built for executives, entrepreneurs, and managers. Join us ASAP and be prepared to take off in no time toward a successful career.