Effective managers come in many shapes and sizes, but most have a few qualities in common. Here are five of the most important qualities of effective managers.
Effective Managers Recognize Talent
The best managers are not threatened by employees who are smarter than they are. Secure in their own abilities, great managers seek out the best people and surround themselves with talent. Such managers recognize their job is not to do everything, but to make sure that everything gets done. By recognizing talented employees and giving them credit for jobs well done, the effective manager earns the respect and loyalty of high-quality workers.
Effective Managers are Matchmakers
Matching skilled people with the tasks that best utilize their skills is a gift of the best managers. By recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of individual workers, an effective manager forms teams that function in harmony and get work done efficiently. Rather than accepting traditional career paths without question, managers can try to create career paths that best utilize talented individuals. For example, a brilliant engineer could be kept in engineering rather than being promoted to a management position.
Effective Managers are Teachers
The best managers recognize that ongoing education is essential in the workplace. Workers who have opportunities to learn and improve will usually do so. Mentoring younger workers, arranging in-service seminars, or accommodating an employee’s evening graduate school class are all ways to develop and retain quality employees. Effective managers do not want to lose their most talented team members to better opportunities at another firm.
Effective Managers are Communicators
Managers who can clearly define objectives and state problems make it easier for workers to achieve objectives and solve problems. While managers need not have the oratory skills of Cicero or Martin Luther King, Jr., they must have excellent interpersonal communication skills. By communicating clearly and honestly, effective managers open the door for communication from their employees as well. People who understand their common business goals can help each other achieve them.
Effective Managers Take Care of Their Team
People will put forth Herculean efforts for a manager who treats them well. The manager who praises exemplary work, fights for fair pay and good equipment for his department, and intervenes when the corporate office loses an employee’s insurance paperwork will earn the respect of his team. People will often rise to the standard set by their leader; the manager who expects excellence from all team members (including himself/herself) will probably get excellence.
These five qualities can be found in any work environment: office, factory, retail store, or international conglomerate. Managers who cultivate these qualities of character can be highly effective even without an MBA or other formal credentials.