How To Be A Manager People Want To Be Managed By

Posted March 4, 2020, by Jenny Sakr

It’s no secret that people in positions of management are often scrutinised by their employees and held to a high degree of criticism for their actions. Let’s face it, no one likes being told what to do, and they like even less being told when they are doing it wrong. Being in a position of management comes with a whole new set of challenges, but there are ways you can adapt your management style to become a leader who inspires people.

Good Management Vs Bad Management

This is where we have the two extremes. People often enter positions of management, believing that they have a choice to make:

  • Good Manager: to become a ‘friend’ to their employees and let people on their team get away with more than they should, just to stay in their good books.
  • Bad Manager: to accept that no-one is going to like you and to manage with an iron fist just to prove a point.

But guess what, there is a middle ground that is worth exploring. One where you can lead and manage your team on your terms, inspiring them to do the best work possible, while getting along. That’s the dream, right? 

Well here is how you can achieve it.

How to Be a Good Manager

Learning to be a good manager isn’t necessarily something that comes naturally to most people. It takes time, effort and dedication on your behalf, but also offers so much reward at the other end.

Stepping into a position of management doesn’t mean you can now set the rules and do what you like. It means you are in charge of a team and need to lead them, and this comes with plenty of responsibility. 

A huge part of your role is ensuring your team stays productive and meets deadlines. 

You are in charge of:

Training your team: in order for everyone to carry out the tasks they are in charge of, you need to ensure they have the correct skillset behind them. Some employees may be completely new to the position and need everything explained from the basics, others may be set in their ways and need to be taught a more efficient method. At times, this will also mean approaching them when mistakes have been made. This involves you determining the best way to teach them, whether that’s you showing them firsthand, or getting another employee who is skilled in the position to pass on their knowledge.

Organising your team: it is your job to oversee each role and ensure your team is organised to meet deadlines. You will need to create or improve on existing processes to get things done in the most organised manner possible. 

Communication: working as part of a team requires significant communication, and it is your role to ensure everyone is communicating on their job, where they are up to and making other team members aware of any issues that might arise. It is up to you to implement the most effective way of communicating between you and your team, whether that is at team meetings, via email, or through other methods. 

Motivating your team: an essential part of the role for any manager is keeping everyone on the team motivated. This will improve the quality of the work and also make for a much more pleasant work environment.

So how exactly do you achieve all of this, while maintaining a positive relationship with your team members?

This comes down to your traits and how your approach different situations.

Qualities Of A Good Manager

While you are aware of exactly what your role is as a manager and what you are responsible for, what are the traits you need to be a good manager? 

Collaborative: No-one likes a dictator. Even if you think you know best, you should never voice this to your team. They need to feel like they are heard, respected and valued. One of the best ways to do this is through open communication. This doesn’t mean you have to step onto the friend level, and you still take final say on the decision, as long as your employees feel heard, they will respect the final decision.

Excellent Communicator: It goes without saying that a huge part of being a manager comes down to how you communicate with your employees. If every interaction you have with them is negative and telling them what they have done wrong, they aren’t going to respect you. You need to voice the positive praise as much as the negative praise and ensure everyone on your team knows they can raise any issues with you. Tip: Check out this handy article on How to Give Helpful Feedback at Work

Results-driven: if you are driven by results, you will encourage your team to live up to this expectation. This means you work with them to get task completed and this adds to high morale amongst the team. If your team senses that you don’t care about the outcome of a project, they aren’t going to put their time and attention into it, knowing the results won’t be appreciated.

Fair treatment: being fair is one of the best traits you can have as a manager. Treat others how you want to be treated. If you are constantly criticising and refusing to acknowledge any good work being done, people will lose respect for you. By acknowledging the good work, your employees will more easily accept criticism when something goes wrong. This also means treating your entire team the same. Don’t play favourites and don’t always lean on certain members more than others. This can cause a divided team. Being fair implies they are all valued equally and it encourages diversity within the team.

Emotionally resilient: this is an important one. Don’t let the stress get to you, as it will show to your team. It is important to be aware of how your mood affects the mood of your team. Your job is to set the tone and to do that, you have to cope well under pressure.

Caring: no, you don’t need to be their best friend, but a little understanding does go a long way. It is important to show an interest in your team’s personal wellbeing, as this factors into the success of your team. Don’t feel the need to separate personal from professional all the time, show an interest, let them know they can speak up when needed, and understand how this can help build team morale and productivity. Want to bring your team closer? Check out these 8 Team Building Exercises (That Are Actually Fun).  

Read more on just how important soft skills are becoming in the workforce here

Traits You Need to Avoid As a Manager

On the flip side, there are certain traits you need to avoid like the plague if you want to consider yourself a good manager.

Micromanaging your team: if you don’t trust your team members to do their job then you have a huge issue that will cause plenty of problems. You need to be able to train your team up to know they can handle any tasks handed to them without you looking over their shoulder.

Only focused on the negative: if you save everything up for performance reviews, you are going to be met with plenty of resentment from your team. If mistakes happen, it’s best to deal with them then and there to avoid any future problems.

Close-minded: if you aren’t open to receiving criticism, but are all too quick to dish it out, you are going to build a wedge between you and your team. As a manager, you make the final decision, but accepting criticism and owning up to your mistakes doesn’t make you weak – it makes you human. 

Abusive with power: being a manager is a position of power, and it is important to handle that power correctly. Abusing your position will lead your team to a place of resentment.

Favouritism: another trait to avoid. As mentioned above, having favourites amongst your employees is extremely noticeable, and it can affect your staff more than you might think. It is important to treat everyone as equals and focus on them all collectively in order to have a cohesive team.

So now we know how to be an effective manager and leader, it is time to put effective measures into place. As you can see, there is a huge gap between being your team’s best friend and being their dictator, and this is the spot you want to fill.

It’s never too late to backtrack either. Whether you’re new to management or have been in a management position and still struggling to find your feet, try adopting some of these traits and seeing if it can make an important difference to your team and the way they work.

At the end of the day, people want to be managed by someone they respect and get along with. If you can show all this in the way you treat and communicate with your employees, you will have no problem maintaining a professional relationship that can grow together.

Being a manager is an important role within a business and it is your chance to rise to the occasion and prove yourself. Make sure you do this in the best way possible.

Jenny Sakr
Jenny Sakr

Jenny found her way with words while interning during uni, since, she's produced articles on it all – from hair and beauty to homewares, travel, career advice and study tips. On a weekend you're most likely to find her lining up for a table at the latest cafe or restaurant.

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