Work Relationships

6 traits of great managers

Written by Peter Jones

Want to be boss at being a boss? It’s not as simple as just being a good listener and making sure everyone shows up on time. Truly great managers attract the best workers. If you’re good at being in charge, you hold onto star employees and advance their careers right along with yours.

Managing is not an easy skill, but it is possible to build. Even if you think you’re pretty great already, take a look at these tips and see whether you can improve in any particular area. Your employees will thank you, and so will your boss.

1. Have your employees’ backs.

Bad bosses throw their employees under the bus. Don’t be that boss. When your team exists within a bubble of trust and has faith in its leader, all the members will want to work together to meet professional goals. Show off your employees’ successes and provide cover for them when you need to. When you build an environment of respect, your job will be so much easier.

2. Be generous with your time.

Even if you see the people who report to you directly all the time in the hall or during casual drop-ins, it’s still important to devote some of your weekly schedule to one-on-one meetings with your team. Even just 15-30 minutes of dedicated check-in time per person lets your employees know you’re there to address concerns and check in on their progress.

3. Give productive feedback.

Giving feedback is important, but go out of your way to make sure you give great feedback. Don’t just tell someone they did a “great job,” tell them why what they did was so great. If you receive work that’s sub-par, speak up—don’t just hope things improve the next time. Constructive criticism along the way for the small stuff helps employees reach their professional goals. When your employees know you’re invested in them doing well, they’ll step up their game for every task.

4. Empower employees to reach for the stars.

Push your team to do stellar work (and letting them know you think they’re capable of it)—don’t let them settle for merely okay. Not only will this lead to results you and your team can flaunt, but it also will instill confidence that makes employees want to go above and beyond all the time. Expect top notch work, and people will adjust to meet your expectations.

5. Build trust.

Having a genuine relationship with your employees is a great thing. You definitely don’t have to be too casual and buddy-buddy—your style can remain strictly professional and still be built on trust. Create a rapport so people feel they can come to you with problems and mistakes—or great ideas! Don’t wall yourself off in some boss turret and forget to build relationships with the people you’re tasked to lead.

6. Stay humble.

Remember, even if you’ve climbed high up on the ladder you’re still paying your dues. You’re still learning too—about your industry and about the art of managing people. Don’t just sit back on your laurels. Figure out how your team can help you learn and build your career, and then help them in return.

About the author

Peter Jones