How to answer: ‘Am I a good manager?’

There’s a lot of pressure that comes with being a manager. Leading a team of people with different talents, abilities, and goals can be challenging, depending on your management style.

No one wants to work for a bad manager. In fact, according to Business Insider, a survey revealed that one-third of employees said they would quit a job because of a bad manager. So, how do you know if you’re doing it right?

Well, the good news is, if you’re asking yourself, “Am I a good manager?” chances are, you already have one of the qualities of a good manager. A poor leader would rarely take the time to consider what they could be doing better.

That being said, everyone has room for improvement. If you’re wondering how to be a manager that will really motivate your employees to succeed, there are some steps you can take. Read more to find out how you can be the best manager for your team.

Define your management style

A good place to start, when it comes to being a manager, is by defining what type of leader you are. There are many different types of management styles, so it’s important to identify which style works best for you.

HRzone defines management styles as, “the principles that underline the methods, abilities, and techniques managers use in handling situations and expressing leadership within an organization.”

It’s important to note that no one style will work best every time in every workplace. The success factory suggests that the best managers will have flexibility in their management style to achieve the best outcomes.

There are many styles to learn, however, HRzone says that all styles are polarised between autocratic and permissive with everything else falling somewhere in between.

1. Autocratic

Being a manager with an autocratic style means following a top-down approach to leadership. In this management type, the leader (or manager) makes all of the decisions and the teams are expected to follow.

There is little room, if any, for teams to provide input or be a part of the decision making process. Therefore, it is most useful in a crisis or emergency, when efficiency is key. A good leader should be able to make quick decisions that can be executed without question or debate.

However, in the wrong setting, this style can lead to micromanagement and prevent new ideas from emerging. This stifles the creativity and problem-solving skills of the team and can lead to an unpleasant work environment in the long-run.

2. Permissive

This is also known as democratic management and is highly built around collaboration. Managers with this management style will make decisions based on employee input and influence.

Permissive management encourages employees to be open and share their opinions, which can often lead to a strong bond between employees and leaders. This can help build a more positive company culture. It is ideal when it comes to setting goals and making long-term decisions that affect the company as a whole.

However, this is not a management style that should be considered in every decision-making process. Consulting with various teams and leaders to get everyone’s input can be time-consuming and stand in the way of efficiency. Depending on what’s at stake, there may not be time to hear everyone out every single time.

3. Consultative

Similar to autocratic management, this style takes a top-down approach. Consultative managers may ask for employee feedback on a regular basis so that they can take their needs and opinions into consideration. However, they retain sole decision-making power.

This may work as a happy medium between autocratic and permissive management types, however, what it gains in employee satisfaction, it loses in efficiency.

4. Laissez-faire

In this management type, managers act more as mentors, offering guidance when needed, but ultimately allowing employees to make their own decisions.

Laissez-faire management is similar to another historical style, known as “management by walking around.” In this style, managers would be available and present to monitor what their employees were working on, without micromanaging or getting too involved in their tasks.

This management style works best when managing seasoned professionals who are experts in their field. It allows employees to take more initiative and self-manage to provide the best results based on their own knowledge and experience. It’s popular when working with creatives, especially.

However, it’s important to note that this management style can sometimes leave employees feeling directionless — and some people may need more instruction than others.

Qualities of a good manager

Once you’ve defined the type of manager that most aligns with you, it’s time to learn how to be a manager — particularly, a good one.

Again, there’s no one right management style and there’s no one list that defines all the qualities of a good manager. Chances are you know your team and what your company needs are better than you think. Start there. But if you need some more guidance, there are a few qualities to look for when it comes to being a manager that brings out the best.

1. Good managers listen

One of the best ways to motivate your team is to actually listen to them. Don’t be afraid to hear out their ideas, if the situation allows for it. Help them set realistic goals by listening to what they want to accomplish. Pay attention if your team seems uncomfortable or points out something that needs to change.

Remember that your team is made up of real human beings with their own talents, needs and opinions that may be valuable. Treat them with respect and you will command their respect.

2. Good managers are clear

Transparency with your team is extremely important. Make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to your mission and goal-setting.

Being a manager means you should be helping your team set clear, attainable goals and motivating them to meet those goals. Remove any obstacles that may be standing in the way and check-in to see how they are doing. Hold people accountable, but there shouldn’t be a need to micromanage if you are making expectations clear.

3. Good managers encourage

As a manager, you can also act as a coach for your team. Offer support and encouragement when necessary, but also provide constructive criticism from time to time. Your ultimate goal should be to see your employees get better and achieve their goals as well.

Coaches recognize that each team member has different strengths and weaknesses that make them unique and valuable. A good coach will play into those strengths to make them better players. Identify what your team members need to grow and encourage them to get there.

4. Good managers don’t play favorites

It’s not unusual for a manager to have a stronger connection with some employees over others. We are all human and we naturally gravitate towards certain personalities. However, you should never make this obvious to the rest of your team.

Playing favorites can and will quickly decrease office morale and make other employees feel that they aren’t important or appreciated. You don’t want the rest of your team to give up, because they see someone else getting more attention. Take time to invest in each one of your team members equally.

5. Good managers ask for feedback

While it’s important to offer feedback as a manager, one of the key qualities of a good manager is providing opportunities for your team to give feedback as well. You want your employees to know you value their opinion. By asking them what’s working for them or what changes they want to see implemented, you give them a voice and allow them to feel heard.

This can help create an environment that is open and transparent, which usually results in a happier workplace. Happy employees will work harder and stick around longer, which can help you implement long-term changes.

6. Good managers are open to change

Part of listening to your team and creating an open environment means that you need to be willing to make changes when appropriate. If you’ve been doing things the same way for a long time and aren’t seeing results or growth, it might be time to try things a different way.

Listen to your team and fellow managers when they offer suggestions. Give yourself room to play around with new ideas when you can. A study conducted by leadership development consultancy Zenger/Folkman revealed that young people often make better managers, due to the fact that they are more adaptable and open to switching things up. However, you don’t have to be young to be willing to give new ideas a try from time to time.

Being a manager isn’t easy and there’s no one right way to do it. The most important thing is to take time to get to know and invest in your team so that you can choose the management style that works best for you. Chances are though if you’re wondering how to be a manager, you’re already on the right track.