What Makes a Good Manager?

There are hundreds of management books around on the basics of management and how to manage a team. But how do so many get it so wrong? We all know that saying, employees don’t leave companies, they leave managers…and a recent study by Gallup found that one in two employees have left a job “to get away from their manager at some point in their career.” Your team is your most important asset and in this post, you’ll learn about what makes a good manager.

Before a new employee starts in your team, first of all, note down their birthday and their start date in your calendar. Remembering personal details like this makes a workplace turn into a place where employees feel included and valued. And you’ll always have a member of staff who doesn’t want any fuss, it’s a lie, we all love cake (My favourite is red velvet FYI).

Onboarding, Purpose and Vision

The onboarding a new member of staff is absolutely crucial, from the welcome at reception to being shown around, to having your IT systems set up and having everything ready to go. Introduce them to the office and provide them with a printed copy of the office seating plan. Assign someone in the team, if not you, to take them for lunch and to show them around the local area.

In the first week, explain the company structure, it’s vision, it’s mission and how the department, team and the employee fits in this mission. This creates a purpose for the role and subsequently offers you the opportunity to set objectives for the first 3-6 months.

Get to know your staff on a personal level.

Do they have children? Enjoy an evening tipple? Have any cool outside of work hobbies? Getting to know your staff well shows you care about them. Organise fortnightly / monthly socials or payday lunches so that your team get to know each other well too.

In a HRDive.com poll of 3,000 full-time workers, 82% of respondents said they consider at least one of their co-workers to be a friend. Olivet College in Michigan also conducted a survey on whether workers view each other as friends and concluded that most workplaces do foster friendships.

Understanding Different Motivation Drivers

What motivates one employee, might not motivate another in the slightest. Get to know what the strengths are among your team and work on the weaknesses with learning and development initiatives. Being a good manager is being able to understand your teams personal and career goals.

Become a Career Coach

Get to know their career ambitions. How can you help them get there? What learning and development would your member of staff need to grow in their role to progress? Showing you’re investing time in their ambitions will not only boost morale but loyalty and drive.

The Image shows two people meeting in a career coaching context.

Lead by Example and Encourage Ideas

If you want your team to turn up on time, and to perform at their best, set the example and be on time. Provide an environment where ideas can be submitted, where they can be presented and listened to.

A Picture of two people working together and brainstorming ideas on a whiteboard.


No one likes a micromanager, just seeing your bosses name ping in the green notification Whatsapping Where are you? Are you with the client? what time will you be back at? would make anyone’s eyes roll. Remember, that member of staff was hired on the basis they could actually do the job so trust them to deliver. No one wants a parent of a manager. But what about more junior employees who need a bit of guidance, I hear you say? Assess your team’s abilities and check in regularly with those who need the extra guidance and support but put this in a meeting to address this.

Stand up for your team

If you’re in a meeting and sense more work is being loaded onto your team, work that doesn’t even sit with them, have the courage to speak up and push back. Assess each member’s workloads and capacities, because ultimately if they then start falling behind on their day to day that will reflect badly on you. Also knowing a manager has their back, creates a sense of loyalty within the team.

Show your employees respect

Don’t talk down to employees or make them feel inferior. Some managers, once they’ve climbed to the top, like to showcase their authority, and while some authority is good to have as a manager, Leaders, as John C. Maxwell quotes, who know the way, go the way and show the way.

Have Integrity

Praising a member of staff is just as important as giving constructive feedback. Be honest with your employees, especially if it comes to telling them their work isn’t up to scratch but be tactful and empathetic with your approach. Being honest means that a manager genuinely cares about their team’s wellbeing.

Communicate Appreciation

Lastly, a simple thank you can go a long way. Let your team members know how you value their efforts. There are countless ways to show appreciation, other than saying ‘thank you” and “good job”.

  • Use team leader boards with prizes
  • Bring in cakes, fruit or have a pizza party
  • Give them extra time off
  • Give them a Kudos on LinkedIn

Managing people ultimately comes more naturally to some than it does to others, so it’s crucial that companies invest in training and developing managers. What do you think makes a good manager? I’d be keen to hear if you think I’ve missed any crucial ones.

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