Following up from last weeks article ‘6 Traits That All Great Leaders Have In Common’ we thought it would be a good comparison to come up with 6 traits that all great managers have in common. It would feel unfair to write about the qualities of great leaders without considering the equally important qualities of great managers. These are often the people following the leader, making sure that what they promise actually comes about, and cleaning up the trail of destruction! There’s a big difference between leading and managing, and although both disciplines are usually required it’s pretty common for a person to fall more solidly in one camp or the other. We covered the difference between leading and managing in our article ‘Leadership vs Management’. So, let’s take a look at some of the qualities seen in our greatest managers:
A brilliant manager knows their organisation inside out. They are familiar and comfortable within the various structures and processes of the organisation, and most importantly, they know how to work effectively within their confines. They contribute actively to improving the structure, streamlining processes and making them more efficient based on their own experience.
A good manager knows that structures and processes, as well as people, will have to bend and flex in order to take positive steps. Managers who are flexible do not fear change, they are happy to question how it’s always been done and to rewrite the rule book. If they cannot achieve their goals within the existing structure then they will look for a way to adapt it, ultimately helping the organisation to implement progressive change.
Any manager who wants to excel in their position needs knowledge. Technical knowledge of the product or service, as well as knowledge of how to manage the people and processes. This knowledge base is usually what gets a manager their job in the first place, especially if they have risen through the ranks. They also accept that their learning is never finished and stay active in terms of CPD. Additionally, modern managers need to be technology savvy in most cases, as like it or not, so much of a manager’s job is now technology dependent.
Intuition is usually considered as more of a leadership trait, but it’s absolutely vital for managers too. Being able to spot an opportunity to improve a process, or to know when a project just isn’t going to work is an essential trait for managers. The greater insight the managers has, the more valuable an asset they are to their team and organisation. If a manager has good knowledge, as above, they will inevitably start to gain a greater insight and use their intuition more effectively.
A great manager commits to a set of actions and delivers on them, however big or small. They do not slack on a project, even when times get tough and other commitments pull them in different directions. If the team sees the manager as lazy, and that the manager views their own actions and deadlines as optional then they will follow suit. When exceptional managers lead by example, their team will follow them anywhere, and successful projects will become a natural consequence.
6. Developing Others
The best managers know that they are nothing without their team. A good team cannot continue to perform at its best in our rapidly changing world if they are not developed. Excellent managers will identify and understand the skills/ knowledge gaps present in their team. However, they won’t use them as a reason to criticise, they will provide their team with the necessary mentoring or training needed to get team members performing at their best.