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generalmanagerjobdescriptionBeing a good manager is not an inherent skill set.  It is a skill set that must be learned and practiced repeatedly.  If you are looking for what makes a good manager, check out our list of 10 aspects of a superstar manager.  


Motivation. Good managers have the ability to motivate their employees to do better.  This is accomplished by being in tune with your employees and knowing what drives them.  Some may think that money is a primary motivator for people but this is often not true.  People are motivated by a whole host of different things.  Take a sales team for example.  Individuals who go into sales are often motivated by competition which is why many of them are paid on commission.  You can help motivate your sales team by creating a game around your sales goals.  For other employees, talk to them in order to learn what they value.  Some may want a more flexible schedule to deal with their children while others may be interested in public transportation vouchers.  Incentives and perks can go a long way in motivating your team.  Try taking this course on complete people management system to learn how to manage your team through motivation.

Positive feedback. Good managers identify positive behaviors and make it a point to call them out.  At your next department meeting give a few shout-outs to employees who deserve them for their good work.  It is also a good idea to give employees positive feedback one on one.  This will allow you to go into more detail about what their strengths have brought to the team and avoid the notion of showboating.  Private conversations can provide excellent motivations for employees to keep up the good work because they know that they are being noticed and appreciated.

Setting goals. It is hard to know how you are doing if you have nothing to measure it by.  Good managers know the importance of goal setting and rewards.  Goals should come in three tiers: department wide, team or shift wide, and on the individual employee level.   Help your employees set SMART goals which are characterized by being specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.  Encourage people to set goals that challenge them and offer rewards for accomplishments.  Also, offer employees feedback on their goals.  This can occur in small groups or one on ones.  Learn how to help your team set and accomplish their goals with this class on leadership skills.

Set expectations. Nothing is worse than being in a job with no set expectations.  What are you suppose to do?  Does anyone actually care if you do it?  Employees are most effective when they know what is expected of them.  Expectations should be explicitly outlined and written down so they can be referenced.  Company expectations should be printed in a company manual and distributed to every employee.  Consider posting goals, values, or phrases around the office that relate to your expectations.  For example, you can hang a poster that says “Everything we do, we do with integrity” or “We value being good stewards of our environment”.

Personal high standards. Before you can hold your employees to high standards, you have to hold yourself to even higher standards.  This means that you are the goldfish in the bowl.  The goldfish can always be seen just like managers.  Employees take notice whether or not managers are following their own rules and expectations.  Take the high road and act professionally at all times.  You will find that employees will start to emulate your high standards because they look up to you.  Learn how to apply five key skills for creating higher value and productivity within any organization as a manager with this course.

Open door.  If you want to breed authentic communication, let your employees know that you have an open door policy.  This means that people can always come to you with questions or concerns they may have without feeling like they are wasting your time.  In the long run, you will be able to spot problems more quickly and intervene in situations where needed.  The key to the open door policy is literally leaving your door open.  If you are a busy manager who needs the door closed, consider scheduling a few hours every week where employees can drop in and talk with you.

Delegating.  You are not in management because you are the one-person show.  You are in management because you are good at what you do and you are good at helping other people succeed in their roles.  Delegating will help get things off your plate and let your employees feel like valued team members.  If you are unsure what someone can handle, start small.  Gradually increase their level of responsibility when they show you what they can accomplish.  If an employee fails, think of it as a teachable moment.  Take the time to show them how to do the task so they can do it correctly the next time.  Empowering people to be better employees will strengthen your team from the inside out.

Empower decision making.  Good managers empower their employees to make decisions.  Think about it, if every time a decision needed to be made and you needed to be involved, how would you ever get anything done?  Train, coach, and mentor employees on the proper way to make decisions for your company.  This will go back to goal setting and expectations.  Making sure that everyone is on the same page with strategic visions will help to ensure that any decision making aligns with these visions.

Protect your team.  If someone on your team screws up it is your fault.  That is just one of the many perks of being in management.  Take responsibility for their mistake and help them move past it.  This is important because failure leads to success.  We learn more from our mistakes than we do from our successes.  Creating an environment where people are afraid to fail will also create an environment that is afraid of experimentation.  Allow for innovation by giving employees the freedom to make a mistake.

Give credit.  Unlike accepting fault for your anemployee’s mistake, you must give credit where credit is due.  Stealing other people’s accomplishments is pathetic and is not sustainable.  Letting employees reap the benefits of their accomplishments encourages them to keep going.  People know the value of a good leader and how you have helped them out.  Be your employee’s biggest supporter and in due time, you will reap your reward too.  You can learn more on how to be a successful manager with this class on basic management theory.

Page Last Updated: February 2020

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