What makes an awesome manager? If you’re a startup, what sort of managers do you want? The sort of employees you want is determined to an extent by the managers you have. Here are some things to consider.
1 – Good managers don’t put clients before their employees.
Some managers put the priority on keeping the company’s clients and customers satisfied. The pressures from “above” tend to drive this perspective downward. Good managers never lose sight that the employees they manages determine to a great extent whether the company succeeds.
The lower down you are in the corporate hierarchy, the more the focus should be on the employee and not the client. If you’re a startup, you probably have one tier. In that case, it’s even more important your manager(s) know how to balance between the two.
2 – Good managers trust their employees.
Some managers like to micromanage, either because they like the control or feel their way is the best way. Good managers trust their employees to accomplish the goals set for them. Good managers trust their employees are intelligent enough to ask for help if they need it. Good managers also detect employees who are struggling and need help but aren’t asking for it.
Good managers treat their employees as individual humans with strengths and weaknesses to be invested in and encouraged, not as resources to be counted or eliminated. Good managers also defend their employees when appropriate and needed.
Good managers treat their employees as adults and do not babysit them.
3 – Good managers deliver what they promise, and don’t promise what they can’t deliver.
Some managers like to make promises and then don’t follow up because it is easier to promise something than to address a concern directly. Some promise things they believe they can deliver, but are unable to.
Good managers know the limits of their power and abilities in the company as well as at a personal level. They don’t brush off concerns by making promises they don’t intend or are unable to keep. Good managers value the trust they have with others.
4 – Good managers reduce the obstacles to getting things done.
Some managers believe things need to be done “the right way”, even if it’s because, “it’s always been done that way.” Good managers know how to cut through and reduce paperwork and red tape on behalf of their workers. Good managers understand one of their roles is to be help empower their employees. Good managers help employees repair broken systems. The best managers can manage upward as well as downward.
5 – Good managers hold individuals accountable without blaming
Some managers don’t hold individuals accountable. If a problem occurs they hold a meeting where the focus is on “solving the problem without blaming anyone.” This is a good and lofty goal, but individuals must be held accountable where appropriate. Too often a meeting doesn’t solve the problem, but merely smooths the situation over for a while.
Good managers hold individuals accountable while being fair. Good managers know when an individual is causing issues or failures in the group. A good manager doesn’t hold the group responsible for the shortcomings of a single individual. A good manager can make hard decisions.
6 – Good managers understand you can’t do more with less.
Some managers don’t acknowledge that humans have limits and these managers continually ask their workers to “do more with less.”. This causes stress, frustration, and sometimes anger within the employees.
Good managers understand you can’t always do more with less, and at some point you end up doing less with less. Good managers may not be able to do anything as a result, but they at least acknowledge the problem to their workers and try to help them in other ways.
7. Good managers know you have to relax to stay productive.
Some managers are all work. Sometimes they feel employees need to be productive all the time and not being productive is “not professional.” Some managers feel they can’t afford to let their employees relax, or the company can’t afford to pay for downtime.
Good managers understand people get tired mentally, physically, as well as emotionally. Work of any sort tends to be draining over long periods. Good managers make their environment a pleasant place to work.
What do you look for in a manager? Ask yourself a hard question, do you hire managers you can manage or managers that will help you succeed?