The best managers…
1. …are empathetic.
Focusing on the feelings of employees being sensitive to their needs is one of the most important, and most frequently overlooked, characteristic, of the most successful managers.
2. …focus on their employees’ strengths.
If you only focus on your employee’s weaknesses, this will lead to frustration for yourself and discouragement to your employees.
3. …are fair and impartial.
Nothing is more likely to produce conflict, reduce cooperation, and even induce passive-aggressive non-compliance, than a sense that the boss is not fair, or plays favorites. Lack of impartiality is a killer. Even though there may be a natural empathy between a manager and a particular employee, the tendency to treat that employee more favorably is a sure-fire way to create chaos in the work force.
4. …are patient.
They understand it takes time and patience to develop employees to their highest potentials.
5. …take into account each employee’s interests.
Harmonious relationships are strengthened when managers are aware of their employees’ interests. When possible, make assignments that align with an employee’s interests. This will increase the employee’s motivation and make for an all-around more pleasant workplace.
6. …don’t talk persistently about poor performance.
Poor performance is usually a sign of lack of skill; coaching or mentoring is called for. Simply talking and pointing out poor performance is guaranteed to reduce further cooperation and make poor performance even worse.
7. …challenge their employees with difficult but doable assignments.
The more accomplished your employees are, the better they perform, and the better they perform, the more successful you are. Provide each employee with tasks that require them to stretch their strengths—but avoid giving them tasks that are too far beyond their present capacities.
8. …like to help others.
Humans are social animals and most of us naturally feel good about helping others. But too many managers get it into their heads that their employees are just there to help them. This misdirected emphasis leads to resentment and lowered morale. Instead, helping employees to do their jobs better earns employees’ respect and their desire to reciprocate.
9. …never vent anger towards employees.
That frustration leads to anger is a psychological truism, and some work-related frustration is inevitable. Yet, venting the resulting anger will intimidate workers and reduce their willingness to feel good about you—and they certainly won’t want to do their best for you.
10. …practice honesty and keep their word.
A manager who says one thing and does another will lose the trust—and the respect—of his employees. A manager’s level of honesty becomes a model for his employees, and helps to establish the team’s culture. Managers that fail “the smell test” create cultures that fail, with teamwork becoming impossible.
11. …focus on their employees rather than on themselves.
The most basic definition of a manager is someone who gets things done through others. Managers must always be thinking about their employees: about their strengths and their weaknesses and how to help them do their jobs the best way possible.
12. …have good senses of humor.
No, managers don’t have to be comedians with stores of funny stories. But they do have to be able to laugh at themselves and recognize that most goofs are not tragedies. Having a sense of humor means being able to maintain perspective on what’s happening—including those times when things do not go well.
13. …greet employees with a smile.
Many years ago Dale Carnegie wrote about the importance of smiles. While his over-reliance on smiling as a tool to “win friends and influence people” has been much criticized (and rightly so!) he was definitely on to something. People like people who smile. Managers who are liked get better performance from their employees than managers who are not liked.
14. …remember to say “thank you.”
As simple-minded as it may sound, saying “thank you” is a great motivator. People want to be appreciated. Simple “thank yous,” even for simple, everyday tasks, will go a very long way towards gaining cooperation and developing employees who feel good about their jobs and about themselves.
15. …are friendly without becoming too friendly.
Showing interest in employees at a personal level is fine. Occasionally, managers should ask employees about their families, their leisure time activities, their hobbies. It is not fine for them to socialize and become enmeshed in their outside-of-work lives. It’s a fine line to draw, but failing to draw that line leads to immeasurable trouble.
16. …accept personal responsibility for the team’s functioning.
Blaming a work unit’s failures on anybody but himself is a sign of cowardice and is sure to be looked down on by higher level management—as well as by their employees. As the head of the work unit, managers must accept the idea, as President Truman put it many years ago, that “the buck stops here.”
None of the traits listed above are inborn and inflexible, and none of the behaviors listed are difficult to master.
Original Article written by Martin Seidenfeld, Ph.D.