What makes a good Manager?

Think about that for a while.


Thanks everyone. I think I’ll condense a lot of these points and save for later.


Be flexible in how you manage your people.

Don may need clear directions, frequent checks, lots of praise.

Mary may be a self starter who wants to get the project, check back with you on her terms to make sure she has the direction right, and then turn it in when done.

Lisa may have the attention span of a puppy on speed - but a ton of talent - you may need to make sure she has six project to juggle - cause she’ll complete six - but she won’t complete one.

Mark may need to concentrate on on task at a time. Give him two projects and watch him get nothing done.

Mary may want raises, Lisa beer, Mark praise, Don to leave the office every day at 5:00 with no worries. Mark dreams of getting promoted to management. Mary never wants to be a manager, she just wants challenging projects.

Each person needs to be lead differently. And yet, you need to balance their needs with the appearence of fairness.

I’m a supervisor at a grocery store. When I supervise (usually at night) I’m in charge of between 7-9 people. I’m fairly lax, most of them know their jobs and I let them be. The most important thing to me is to keep everything as fair as possible. Other supervisors let our one male cashier do stock all night just cause he is a guy. I don’t. I make him take turns. The only other piece of advice I can offer is always say thank you. Yes they are being paid to do these services but it’s nice to here you are appreciated.

D’oh! HEAR!! HEAR!!

As an owner/CFO/manager for 11 years and running a company of 65 employees, I appreciate many of the ideas presented in this thread. Let me pile on:

  1. Make every directive to your staff clear, concise and attainable.

  2. BEFORE you make any personnel additions/changes/terminations, ask yourself if you are setting a bad precedence in your decision. Consult if your not sure.

  3. Make sure the staff knows the boundaries and that the boundaries do not fluctuate (or become gray areas) on a regular basis.

  4. A sense of humor is a must. Lose the furrowed brow.

  5. Keep your hands to yourself. Don’t throw it all away to some cute guy/gal in your company. Becoming attached to a subordinate or boss usually results in prefrential treatment and eventually destroys a whole department.

  6. Ask “How’s <insert family name here> doing?”, and don’t act like you’re interested, BE interested.

Just now, one of my employees gave me a freshly made banana muffin! Not bad, eh? Thanks, Michelle!

  1. Four out five employees are good/great. Don’t kill yourself over that fifth one.

  2. Know your federal and state labor laws. There are plenty of resources available. Claiming ignorance for some labor law violation makes you look like an idiot.

  3. An open door policy quells alot of rumors, bad info, and any tempers. Be accessable at least 50% of the time.

  4. If an employee does something(major infraction, not minor) that infuriates you, don’t overreact right then and there, let that employee know that you are not pleased and that you are going think it over and get back to him/her in 24 - 48hrs. You will have a clearer picture of what discipline policy should be followed and your decision will be fair and reasonable.

  5. If an employee is insubordinate, give him/her that last chance to comply by simply stating, “What you are doing (or refusing to do) is considered insubordination. Now I am asking you one final time to please do(or not do) <insert action here>.” Unemployment hearings are routinely quick and easy to decide if this statement was used.
    I have a relatively low turnover rate and most of my staff are satisfied or happy, and I am well fed.

Hey, Robin just gave me some popcorn…cool! Thanks, Robin!

I’ve got another:

Never abuse the privilege of being a manager. OK, so you’re the big guy/gal; you’re responsible for the whole department, you work late sometimes, you take the fall when it wasn’t your fault. Sometimes you feel you have the right to stay home on company time, because the carpet installers are at your house, or whatever. Fine. But have the decency to lie about your absense. Do not announce to the office that you’re at home with the carpet installers. You’re probably the only person who has that benefit; the rest of us would have to take unpaid time off, or use vacation time, for such an absense. Lie. Say you have a meeting, or a business trip. Don’t flaunt your special job perks if you’re the only one who has them.

Those of you who are good managers, I hope you know how good you are. I’d be happy to work for a person who met any 5 or 6 of Rick’s qualities above. I’ve never met anyone who even approaches that ideal. If you’re doing it, good on you.