After yesterday’s post, I spent some time thinking about the differences between the poor and the great managers that I have worked with in the past. From those reflections, I created a list of the essential traits of a great manager. They aren’t listed in some magical order, so don’t worry about where they are in the list.
5 Commandments of Management:
1. Think of others as people, not tools designed to complete a task.
People perform best when treated well. No matter what you think, good employees can’t be as easily or cheaply replaced as a hammer.
2. Think about how you would feel about your actions if you were on the receiving end.
Managers are often over focused on their goals. They forget about the needs and feelings of the people they manage. Just because someone can’t work overtime tomorrow doesn’t mean they’re lazy. They might have to care for a sick child. Would you think their request to leave on time that day was ridiculous if you were the one doing the asking?
3. Cultivate the talents of your employees.
Managers are too quick to think that employees should know everything about everything. Many employees need training to keep up with changes in their industry or to prepare themselves for new roles. Help them to get that training and you will improve their job satisfaction and your results.
4. Respectfully investigate why issues occurred before reprimanding someone.
Problems occur for a reason. Don’t jump to the conclusion that someone is incompetent or lazy. Look into the matter first. A situation outside their control might have been the cause. If there was a way that the employee could have handled or communicated the situation better or in a more timely manner, speak to them about that in a positive manner. The goal is to improve your team, not discipline them.
5. Use numbers as an indicator of progress, not as the sole determination of success.
Metrics are only as good as the methodology behind their creation. What was once a good metric can lose relevance or be shown to have unintended consequences. Consider that before acting based solely on the numbers before you.
I won’t say that I have created a list of everything you need to be a great manager, but if you adhere to those five commandments in an intelligent manner, you will definitely be a much higher performing manager than most. Once you internalize those five commandments, they become common sense and will inform all your decisions. That will allow you to avoid committing many common destructive management actions. The result will be a happier, more productive team that will deliver higher quality work.
Did I miss an important commandment, which could make all the difference? Let me know in the comments!