What Do Great Managers Do Differently?

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How often have we heard people saying “Employees do not leave companies, they leave managers”?  The statement is a frequent reason for motivating people to start their offboarding journey. On another hand “Great Managers” plan, execute and deliver team results so differently. 

Are great managers born with inherent talent, or do they acquire and develop the right skill mix? Let’s explore what they do differently and you choose the answer. To a large extent, managers have two-faced responsibility. They hold accountability to deliver business results as well as manage employee expectations that arise during their employment. Great managers do the balancing between management and employees productively and effectively. They are able to achieve this balance because of the combination of approaches followed by the company and personality, values, and skills of a manager.

Here are indicative traits that set great managers apart from the rest: 

  1. Clarity and consistency of expectation – Employees do the job well when they know what they are supposed to do. Great managers can clearly and consistently communicate expectations. This resolves any work-related anxiety and helps in keeping the employees engaged.

2.  Sets stretched yet achievable goals and targets – Great managers help their team to plan their targets in the best possible way. They discuss the targets with their team, and are eventually accepted and agreed upon. The targets have an inherent stretch, and yet are achievable. This moderate stretch helps in ensuring that the team can deliver as per their capabilities and gradually increase their potential. This helps employees perceive the target as achievable instead of impossible. 

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3.  Adopts professional approach at work – In daily operations and work management, this is one of the important aspects of people management. Great managers build discipline around work timings and protocols, respect their superiors and subordinates, and sets high standards for etiquette and mannerisms. At the same time work environment is engaging, fun-filled, and flexible.

4.  Leads the team – Great managers are the role models, ambassadors or leaders of the company. They always lead the team from the front and take accountability for their team’s effort(s) and result(s).

5. Provides growth opportunities to their team – From the employees’ point of view, this aspect holds a lot of credibility for great managers. During employment, all the employees want to grow and gain new skills to maintain their employability. Great managers play the role of coach and mentor to ensure that their employees have the required skill set. There could be situations when the company has growth limitations, and that is the time when great managers encourage their team to think out of the box and maintain competitiveness.

It’s not always positive, they have to take strict actions as well:

7.  Maintain strong relationships with internal and external customers – Strategic relationships are the key strengths of great managers. They maintain excellent long-term relationships with their internal and external customers. They also focus and balance on company profitability and customer’s wellbeing.

8.  Give fair, unbiased, and consistent performance feedback and evaluations – Great managers always keep objectivity in mind and try to refrain from their personal biases, the company’s collective opinion of their team members, and rumors in general. The basis of their assessments and feedback are fair, measurable, and acceptable observations.

9.  Takes the responsibility to discipline employees – Ensuring discipline and reinforcing it when needed is one of the most challenging aspects of people management. A great manager takes the responsibility to establish adequate discipline levels all the time. They also take personal accountability to take corrective action when required. 

10.  Accepts individual/team failures – There are times in business when things do not go the way we expect. Humans can go wrong with their decisions, judgments, analysis, over or underutilize their skills, etc. During these times, great managers step up and assume responsibility for mistakes, and learn lessons from them.

On a concluding note, I would like to emphasize that great managers are not made overnight. Companies invest millions to identify, develop and retain great managers. Companies build high-performance culture through their talent pool of great managers. At the same time, the individual should have the right personality, value traits, and mindset of people sensitivity to deliver balanced results in high-pressure situations, unforeseen circumstances, and competitive market conditions. They keep their team engaged, productive, happy, and healthy. 

Best of luck in being a great manager and happy reading!

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