Do you want to learn the traits of a great manager? Are you new to management or an experienced manager wanting to improve team performance?
The best managers have the ability to harness the group think of their teams to enable the very best decisions to be made. Great decision making leads to success. They are polite and respectful yet firm. They are able to lead from the front and their team will follow because they know they are all on the right path.
Which Traits are the Most Important for a Manager to Have?
1. The Ability To Support And Protect The Team.
An integral foundation of a well-running team is that they should feel they are operating in a safe space. This means, in your team meetings they can speak openly and honestly. If your team is a pressured environment where they are engaging with customers or other teams or functions in the broader organization there will be times when they come under attack or face criticism.
These are the important times where you need to protect the team.
2. Promote A Success Mentality
The simple fact is, the reason there is a team is because the amount of work related to a specific function requires more than one person and more than one type of skill. So for that process to function, or the goal of the team to be achieved, all the team members need to work together. The level of success of the team is directly related to how well the team works TOGETHER.
Believe it or not, you will never be a successful manager if you cannot deliver results. You cannot deliver results if your team cannot deliver results.
As the three musketeers once said “its all for one and one for all”.
3. Understand The Business Objectives
If you haven’t already learned, understanding the goals of the business are critical to being a successful manager. The business might be in fast growth mode and you need to ramp up as many salespeople as possible.
The business might be launching a new product and you need to attend industry exhibitions. The company might be facing severe competition and you might need to be finding efficiencies and productivity improvements.
You might be battling unions or going on hiring drives as the manager you take on the challenges and drive forward no matter what, with integrity and ethical respect.
4. Know Your Numbers
If you do not know your numbers you could be in trouble. Here we are talking about the financial aspects of your function such as:
- How many people do you have?
- What is your salary bill?
- What are your sales targets?
- What is your customer support turn around time?
- What is your customer satisfaction rating?
- What percentage of your projects are complete?
- How are you doing against your balanced scorecard?
A myriad of questions that you need to be able to answer.
5. Be Polite, Respectful & Don’t Get Too Close
It can be tempting when you land your first team leader role to let the power go to your head and start to show dominance or authority over your new team members or “show them who is boss”.
To outwardly try to demean or belittle people in a professional environment is deeply disrespectful. Not only that, but other people outside of your team will begin to detest you. No one likes a bully and everyone dislikes someone who preys on the week.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, you do not want to get to close. A manager to tries to be the best friend of every member of the team is simply trying too hard and will, as a result, lose the respect of the team.
Keep your team relationships professional at all times
6. Show Patience of a Saint & the Understanding of Buddha
Patience and understanding are not just words they are a mindset that is integrated within politeness and respect.
Not all team members operate at the same levels of intensity and achievement. Some people learn faster, some slower. Some people need the same message multiple times until they understand, some people get it immediately.
The art of patience needs to be used for those people who require the extra effort, new members to the team and those less experienced and those who learn a little slower.
When you get impatient with someone it shows in your voice, actions, and mannerisms and it can be very stressful for the person receiving those signals, this creates a bad working environment.
To develop patience is learning to understand a person’s situation.
7. Be Positive & Optimistic
Is it so hard to smile and speak with energy and purpose?
Apparently, it is.
I have seen many leaders who walk around with a miserable face who talk in monotone and fail to even raise a single smile in an interaction with another human. That is extremely soul-sapping for the team they manage.
8. Communicate Clearly
It took me a while to work this out and I learned this from my staff in our year-end performance reviews.
When I asked for 360-degree feedback about myself and my performance, many people said that I was such a great communicator.
When I probed further, they meant I spoke at a steady rhythm and that I spoke very clearly and pronounced.
Clarity of voice is everything. If you feel your accent is too strong, or you do not annunciate your words clearly you need to work on it.
Toastmasters International is a great not for profit organization where you can work on confident communication and public speaking techniques. It is the single best way to learn the art of communication for a tiny price and make friends at the same time.
9. Set Great Goals Not Tasks
Micromanagement is the scourge of high performing teams. It is also very difficult to do with a virtual team spread out across different locations. So do not try to do it. Do not focus on the task, focus on the goal. This means you have to develop very clear and simple goals that are tied to your assigned business objectives. Therefore, their goals are also your goals.
Become Goal Focused By Assigning SMART Goals
Honestly, I have heard the S.M.A.R.T. goals mantra so many times over my career it makes me cringe.
Set a maximum of 3 or 4 big goals for the year per person, this will enable them to be focused.
Measurable – set a number on the goal.
- Dollars in new sales generated
- Customer Satisfaction Feedback Above 8
- How many doughnuts you can fit in your mouth at once 🙂
They need to be able to actually achieve the goal. If you set the bar too high they will be stressed out all year and ultimately fail.
Is it realistic that this goal can be attained?
Finally, we have time-based goals. This simply means there needs to be a date for the goals to be achieved.
So now we have SMART goals.
10. Resolving Conflicts Quickly
Do you cause conflict, avoid conflict or try to resolve conflict?
Conflict can take many forms, most common are conflicting opinions and conflicting personalities. The main thing is not to let differences in people values and ideas turn into real conflicts such as wars of worlds or even actions.
Conflicts get worse over time if not remediated by the parties themselves or a third party. This will impact the team.
11. Have Regular One On One Meetings To Connect With Employees
Holding a great One On One meeting means you will have a highly motivated and energized employee. Repeat the process over and over again with your employees to have a high performing team.
What Is A One On One Meeting?
A “one on one” meeting, also known as a “one to one” (121 meeting) is a way for a manager or team leader to stay personally and professionally connected to a team member. It is also a great way for the team member to stay connected to their manager.
In my experience, an average or poor manager will neglect to have regular one on one meetings because they are “too busy” or they have more important priorities.
If you want to be an average leader of an average team, then ignore One to One meetings at your peril
How Common are these Traits Among Leaders in America?
Having managed teams and managers across the globe, I have found that the U.S. managers generally have higher levels of politics and in-fighting within their teams.
Perhaps due to the competitive and aggressive nature of business in the U.S.A. Compared to teams in Canada, the Philippines and India where there is a much more peaceful existence between team members.
How has your Best Manager Impacted your Work?
The best manager I ever had supported me no matter what. This enabled me to thrive under pressure because I knew I was operating in a safe and positive space and where mistakes were allowed.
Even more important, we were always part of the same team. I would always have his back and he mine.
How did he achieve that?
Ethical and moral integrity at all times.
When you as a manager foster a great culture of understanding, respect, direction, and integrity, people are proud to be in your team and perform at their best.
Trust and a mutual professional relationship is everything in this race of rats.