What defines a great manager?

Most employees want to work in a place where they can make an impact and a difference, and where their input is being recognized. Most people also want to be recognized not only for the work they do, but for the person they are. It is the leader/managers role to make this possible.

As we spend so much time at work, and because we are dependent on feeling that we are valuable to the company we work for, good management is incredibly important. Managers can have a very positive influence, and bring out the best in us every day, but they can also prevent us from unleashing our full potential. Surveys reveal that 70% of employees quit because of a bad manager.

At the end of the day, management is all about being able “see” people. The job of a manager is to give others the opportunity to perform well, and to make sure that everyone on the team, or in the organization, is moving in the same direction. And of course, it is the managers role to set that direction. Good managers should show their employees that every effort is important, and that every person counts. Remember that you are not only the leader of the company, but for the people that work there.

Much has been said about what defines a good manager, and here are my top 10 points/characteristics:

  1. They care about their employees – not “sort of”, but genuinely. They know what their employees are passionate about, and what they are good at.
  2. You can trust them. This means that if a manager says that he/she will do something, you can trust them on it.
  3. They want you, as an employee, to succeed, and they help you to do so. They know your strengths and weaknesses, and they know how to build on your strengths, so that you can perform at your very best.
  4. They don’t micro-manage. They trust you to do your job, and only get involved if they can see that you’re heading in the totally wrong direction, or if you ask for their input. They trust their employees
  5. They praise their employees and thank them for their input – large or small.
  6. They are honest. And sometimes they are so honest that you wish they weren’t quite so honest. But they say the things they say because they want to be clear, so that you can become a better version of yourself.
  7. They are clear and transparent in their communication, and make sure to explain anything that is unclear quickly and without compromising their integrity. They do not allow room for uncertainty in their communication.
  8. They are fair and understand that different people need to be treated differently, but that the same situations must be handled in the same way.
  9. They are strict – when they need to be. They know their employees. And they actually care.
  10. They show empathy. Good managers understand that most people are different, and that they have different needs and passions. They can empathize with their employees’ situations and contribute to making every one of their employees even better.

Very few people are “born” managers – most need to learn the skill and build up experience. However, most people who want to become a good or a better manager can do so, with the right learning and training.

Good management and leadership is way too important for the individual employee – and for the company – to be left to chance. Take responsibility for your management skills, your team will thank you for it. After all; you are responsible for people and your job is to be able to achieve results through your team. Your employees want you to be the best manager for them, so that they can be the best team for you – so take their advice and seek out to be the best manager that you can be.

And last: make sure to hire people who are smarter than you. Hire people who are better than you, who have more knowledge than you, and that love to do what you hate to do.


A leader without followers is just a person taking a walk” – The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, By John C. Maxwell

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