Different from a leader, a manager is more tactical based. This person will take the goals and objectives outlined by the company executives and transform them into work that is performed by the employees. Excellent managers are those who avoid an autocratic approach in which the employees are mostly following orders.
Here are three traits of a successful manager:
#1: Hire Smart
Managers have the opportunity to hire the right people to work in the department. While HR will filter through the applications of prospects, you must ensure that the expectations of the work are clearly outlined. Avoid the temptation to merely email the job description to HR. A top manager will meet with the hiring team to provide additional details and to answer any questions that arise.
When selecting the candidate for a position, make sure to consider culture fit. While some individuals might possess all the knowledge and skills prescribed by the job, they might lack the ability to assimilate with the rest of the team. Therefore, it’s imperative that managers interview the candidate and ask situational questions that provide additional details.
#2: Avoid Leaving Details to Chance
Managers should refrain from thinking that employees can read their minds. Instead, it’s much better to provide the details necessary to avoid mistakes. For example, instead of saying the following: “Let’s make sure and communicate with the customer often.” We should try the following: “Amanda, I want to confirm that you will call Ron at Data Systems once per week to provide an update regarding the project.”
The approach detailed above is proactive, and not micromanagement. When you reinforce the importance of calling the customer once per week, you make the employee accountable for the work performed. Put differently, you empower the employee to take action.
#3: Focus on Positive Reinforcement
For many years, the model consisted of contacting employees only when they fell short of expectations. This punitive approach is counterproductive, and should be avoided. The manager should look for opportunities to praise employees.
Here’s an example: “Steve, I observed how you managed the web conference this morning. It was good that you described the topic first, and then allowed the participants to provide their thoughts. In other words, you guided the discussion well, and we now have a resolution. Nice work!”
Management is a learned skill. Organizational leaders should provide training that allows interested individuals to pursue a management track. An important point here is that not everyone might want to manage a department. Thus, you should take the time to discuss the career goals of the employees.
While managers are focused on day-to-day activities, they must also be aware of the vision of the organization. The work done in their respective departments helps realize the long-term goals of the organization. Therefore, the leaders must invite managers to planning sessions, and ask them to participate in the process. By doing so, you can expect buy-in from these key stakeholders in the organization.
The bottom line is that managers are the people who drive the performance engine. Without their engagement, success is impossible.