What makes a great manager

What makes a great manager

Good managers are key when it comes to building a successful business. They represent your culture and ethics, aid the delivery of your KPIs, ensure standards are maintained and set the tone for how employees interact with colleagues, customers and clients.

We’ve already looked into some of the traits of bad managers and the knock on effects they can have, so now it’s time to see what makes a truly great manager.

To help us on our quest, we’ve teamed with our very own HR Business Partner, Jenny Ware, to share some tried and tested tips.

1. Good practice

Behind every good manager is a set of well-distilled tools and behaviours, like:

Tools Behaviours
Setting effective goals Blending a variety of skills and behaviours
Measuring performance Encouraging team comradery
Holding people to account Promoting teamwork
Managing team workload Inspiring effective working practices

Strong managers need to be approachable (all of the time!) and able to communicate well across all levels – including the team, the wider business, customers, clients and more senior members of staff. Whether it’s email, face-to-face or over the phone, clear, honest and easy-to-understand communication is needed around the clock.

2. Great communicator

On the flip side, great managers need to be great listeners too. Without this, they run the risk of missing important information and losing buy-in from those around them.

3. Development of others

Good managers should have the best interest of those under their wing at all times. The benefits of employee progression are twofold:

  • Employees will feel valued and motivated – thus reducing turnover.
  • Your team and the wider business will be better equipped – helping the business’ overarching objectives.

4. Effective relationships

Most businesses are built with formal structures and processes, and while they’re good and absolutely necessary, it’s often through the informal networks that things actually get done. It’s therefore important that managers are able to build and maintain a good rapport with clients, colleagues and suppliers (to name just a few).

From discounted prices to quicker turnaround times, you’d be surprised by how far solid external relationships can get you!

5. Adaptable

Within teams, inevitably, there are going to be different characters. Effective managers should be able to adapt their style to meet these different needs, as well as different situations.

For example, an employee might need a more directive style of instruction when undertaking new tasks, but a more supportive/coaching style for tasks they complete on a regular basis. The key, as a manager, is gauging which style to use – and when, to get the most out of their team at any given time.

6. Effective use of feedback

Feedback should be given immediately and constructively. When given correctly, it can be transformational. A good manager will focus on the elements employees are doing well, mixed in with some constructive feedback to help them improve and deliver the best performance results.

The strongest managers are open to feedback from team members, colleagues and their own manager, to assist with the progression of their own performance.

7. Open and fair culture

The best managers are those that have a team who feel comfortable approaching them, and can talk openly and honestly to them. They’ll have the ability to spot and resolve problems in the business quickly, therefore reducing any ill impacts.

It’s not just us saying it

We ran a straw poll to find out what traits employees say make a great manager, and the results are in:

Ask yourself, do the words given reflect your managers?

Management coaching is our forte

Here at Citation, we take our management values seriously, and we practise what we preach – which is why we’ve featured in the Times Top 100 Best Companies to Work For every year since 2015.

If you need help with management, HR or Employment Law – or all three! – get in touch with our friendly and experienced team by giving us a call on 0345 844 1111, or getting in touch online.


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