What Makes an Effective Manager?
Bosses are often the primary reason for people either loving or leaving their jobs. A boss, as Joan Lloyd writes, is the umbilical cord that connects employees to an organisation, and if that cord is damaged, the employees will eventually leave. If you are one of the lucky employees who has a great boss, don’t take that relationship for granted.
So, what makes an effective manager? Here are few characteristics of a great boss that separate them from just an okay boss:
1. Sets Clear Expectations
A great boss sits down with a new employee right from the beginning and identifies priorities. They discuss the performance review, and how they define “excellent performance.” They hold discussions regularly in regard to expectations from that point on.
An effective boss doesn’t tell employees how to get the work done. They talk about outcomes and results with them, and the employees are entrusted to execute the details and the process in the way they see fit.
Expectations are set in different ways—sometimes in a formal planning session, other times in an informal conversation about a specific issue.
A great boss views her position as both a leader and a coach, someone who educates and encourages the players, who leads the team by example.
An effective manager doesn’t assume employees know what to do and how to do it. Like a good coach, they call the plays from the sidelines. Often a boss might be tempted to run in the game and play it, while their employees don’t learn a thing.
A great boss recognises that success in coaching is found in the balance of control—that fine line between being over-controlling and under-controlling—to be enough of a presence as a source of help, but not so much as to overshadow their players.
3. Gives Feedback
Some bosses wait until the formal performance review to relay negative feedback to their employees. When this happens, employees are left thinking, “Why did my boss not tell me sooner? I could have tried to change or do things differently.”
Giving employees feedback along the way establishes a coach-player relationship. There’s a sense of conversation, of leadership and of cooperation. Waiting until the performance review for feedback, however, has more of a prosecutor-prosecuted/trial-verdict feel, and negative feedback rings like punishment.
4. Recognises Efforts
Employees need to feel appreciated. Research shows that human beings thrive on recognition. They just never get tired of it. Nothing works like positive reinforcement, and an effective manager is very aware of this. They mention the things they like that employees are doing; it’s no surprise that they get more of those things.
It’s common sense, really. If someone wears a new pair of blue trousers one day, and gets a lot of compliments about them, that person will certainly wear the trousers again. In this way, human behaviour is certainly not complicated.
5. Is Inclusive
It’s essential for employees to feel like equals and equal contributing members to the team.
A great boss creates an environment based on integrity, trust, respect—and one that encourages feedback, innovation and creativity. Employees in such an atmosphere flourish.
6. Gets to Know Employees
A great boss stops by and says hello. She makes herself available. No matter what they’re doing, when employees speak to them, they stop and give them their full attention.
An effective manager takes a personal interest in her employees’ lives. They don’t pry. They try to get a better appreciation for the entire person inside the employee. An employer who understands their employees’ lives is more likely to be sympathetic and, for example, consent to flex time when required. Employees who feel that their boss is caring and interested in who they are will be more committed to their work.
7. Finds Each Person’s Unique Talents
A great boss observes employees to find out what they do best. They talk to them about what aspects of their job they enjoy the most. A great boss taps into and leverages the instincts and skills their employees have.
This creates a win-win as they can reap the rewards of employee satisfaction, and employees grow increasingly inspired and confident about their work, skills and talents. Moreover, they feel appreciated, that someone has their best interests in mind.
An effective boss makes a personal investment in their employees’ success. They take the time to sit down and discuss their goals with them and they do what they can to help them achieve such ambitions.
8. Works Fearlessly
An effective manager encourages employees not to fear making mistakes along the way. The mentality a great boss puts forward is one that encourages learning—not one that instils fear of making a mistake. It is about opportunity, trying something new and different, and pushing personal limits. Fear only inhibits growth. Instead, a great boss uses mistakes as tools.
9. Is Open and Truthful
A great boss is direct, but sensitive. They realise that communication is essential. If they see performance slipping, they won’t wait very long to talk about it. They never dodge the truth, nor do they hang onto or hoard company information that could help employees. They aren’t threatened by employees’ knowledge; rather, they encourage it.
10. Is Made, Not Necessarily Born
It’s true that some bosses have a natural flair for leadership and motivating and inspiring others. That said, much of the qualities of a great leader are learnt behaviours. A lot of people have innate traits that could make them great bosses; it’s a matter of developing those capabilities.
A great boss rarely stays great without working at their craft. Greatness can be maintained by attending management classes and seminars, reading books and doing a lot of self-assessment.
An Effective Manager Deserves a Great Team
There is always room for self-improvement especially when it comes to the ability to work with others and achieve common goals. But this should be a team effort, something to keep in mind as you refine your recruitment strategies. As you build your team, consider bringing Monster on board as we have years of experience in matching the right candidates to positions. Get started today by posting your job listing for free.