Do you have what it takes to be an effective manager? Someone recently told me of manager criticizing them for providing positive feedback and later being critical of another manager for celebrating an accomplishment. How do these people get to be managers themselves? Do they know nothing of human nature including building trust, developing productive relationships, and the need for both positive and honest, constructive feedback? There is no place in a high performance organization for any manager who is so insecure that he/she must unfairly criticize or intimidate others to feel a measure of importance themselves. Such insecurities manifest themselves in many ways which I will simply call bad behavior, and therefore I refer to such managers as bad managers.
In realty an organization with a bad manager has two problems that need addressing. The manager of the bad manager has in fact failed as a manager. Ensuring fair treatment is the accountability of any manager of a manager, which I shall call the manager once removed (MoR). The MoR ensures fair treatment, builds talent through career coaching and development of subordinates once removed (SoR’s), and maintaining quality of leadership from his/her direct reports. Bad managers are inherently unfair and certainly do not keep up the high standards of leadership required from an effective manager. The bad manager must be called to account for the bad behaviors and the MoR must be called to account for not correcting the situation. Obviously as higher managers fail to remedy the situation over time, the organization looses the focus and commitment from employees.
Here are some characteristics of highly effective managers:
- Managerial Leadership – Leadership has often been defined as some gift, divinely provided at birth, for a special few. George Washington is often mentioned in this group and I would agree he had some special qualities. However, managerial leadership is a requirement of every manager and must be learned by anyone appointed to a managerial role. The definition of managerial leadership is “the process in which one person sets the direction for one or more other persons and gets them to move together in that direction with full commitment.” This is why we defined the relationship between a manager and their direct report(s) as a “two-way trusting, productive, relationship focused on achieving the business goals.” Managers must realize the importance of people management and exercise their skills in this area on a daily basis.
- Accountability Leadership – Managers must keep up accountability leadership in their own behaviors and expect the same from their direct reports. Manager should follow any established policy, procedures, or rules regardless of their position or rank. Manager must always meet their commitments and certainly not disappoint others expecting follow-through. This type leadership in accountability includes reaching for stretch goals, constantly delivering improvements, and helping others even when it makes their job more difficult. (See Post 10)
- Conflict Management – Highly effective managers understand that trusting relationships are the ‘glue’ to sustaining a high performance management system. They build trust through consistent, personal behavior that supports the high standards of the organization. They maintain and enhance the self-esteem of the people around them, but they follow-up on any miscommunications, disagreements, and conflicts among others in the workplace. Highly effective managers are constantly improving their conflict management skills.
Good managers don’t have to be friends with other employees, but they understand that everyone deserves their respect. I hope you have what it takes to be a highly effective manager.
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