This is a controversial question. What are the factors and attributes that contribute to make a good manager?.
Unfortunately good management does not have a secret recipe to follow. Good management is dealing with people and requires social and emotional intelligence.
However, you could gain good management skills over time and with experience. Knowing good managers, being mentored by good managers, and learning and practicing management tips are all reasons behind leveraging managerial skills.
You need to see both good managers and bad managers in order to analyze both styles and see the difference. Contrasting is a great source of learning (you cannot distinguish white color if you never see the black one!).
Management is about deciding what to do and getting people achieve what has been decided. Note that management is mainly about people. This is the major resource that if you succeed to manage then you can manage other resources.
In this post, I highlight some tips of good managers. I will not talk about leadership since it is different from management. Leader does not have to own execution skills. They can provide direction and vision but not to execute down the road. Leaders focus on people only. Managers are different. They provide direction, manage change, governance of direction, lead innovation, achieve results and objectives, monitor performance, know his customers, know his suppliers, build people networks and partnerships, manage all types of resources, and finally self-discipline.
I can summarize some bullets about good managers. Each point would need a lot of discussions that I may focus upon in future posts.
- Manage by example – you need to be a good example for others and subordinates,
- Relevant of professional knowledge – it is much added value to have the background of what you are managing (although there are exceptions but empirical studies promote the idea of knowledge relevance),
- Sensitivity to events – managers should have a very sensitive sense to surrounding events with feel of risk and opportunity,
- Social skills and people management skills,
- Emotional resilience – overreacting to events is not a characteristic of good manager. Controlling emotions is an important virtue,
- Proactivity – never be just reactive and never be under fire fighting mode. Anticipating and being prepared for events is highly required,
- Creativity – you cannot survive without innovation and creativity,
- Self-knowledge – continuous increase of knowledge through observing, reading and critical thinking. Good managers should be up-to-date with technology, modern management styles and techniques, and have a fair amount of knowledge for all work performed by his team members,
- Persevering and determination,
- Willingness to work hard – although working smart is very important but you cannot drop hard working when times need to work hard,
- Toughness – sometimes being tough is healthy if proper time is selected. There is no soft managers! There are decent managers but they are tough when required,
- Ability to inspire others – putting plans and objectives without convincing others to follow makes them difficult to achieve,
- Communication skills – most of manager’s time is invested in communication with surrounding teams,
- Customer focus – this is the bottom line. Any efforts will not be considered successful if they are not impacting positively the customer,
- Teams development – real managers develop their teams. All over my career life, I did not see a good manager who do not care about his team career and development plans,
- Problem solving – this is inheriting skill. Managers should have enough capacity to analyze problems, face them, and find alternative solutions to them in a proactive mode.