“After all, the root of performance variability lies within human nature itself. Teams are composed of individuals with diverging needs related to morale, motivation, and clarity — all of which lead to varying degrees of performance. Nothing less than great managers can maximize them. But first, companies have to find those great managers.” And running a successful business requires entrepreneurs to become great managers.
Unfortunately, many employees dread the thought of interacting with founders and managers, while others see the boss as a trustworthy mentor.
Here are 20 behaviors of great managers that make a tremendous difference in the performance of their people and success of their companies.
1. They educate themselves on leadership.
A respected leader has two qualities. First, they have the ability motivate the people working for them to do great things. Second, they also have the ability to provide thoughtful and authoritative leadership that comes from knowing what they are doing.
2. They set team priorities.
A good boss is like a bass player. They are the ones who set the tempo. They know when the tempo should be fast (i.e., urgent tasks), and when the tempo should be slow (i.e., tasks that can be completed at a later date). If employees know what is a priority, they can perform much better.
3. They share the credit.
Nobody respects a manager who takes credit for the things the team has accomplished. Respected leaders share credit in ways that are both meaningful and beneficial to their employees.
4. They communicate.
Whether it’s company updates, policy changes, or information on ongoing projects, effective managers don’t keep their people in the dark. Instead, they make a conscious effort to keep everybody up to speed.
5. They welcome feedback.
Great managers want to become better leaders. They also want their projects to be completed successfully. If they are not willing to receive honest feedback, they cannot accomplish these goals. Because of this, they willingly invite feedback even if it isn’t entirely positive.
6. They give specific praise.
Meaningless platitudes and attaboys don’t do much for morale, nor do they help employees understand what they are doing right. “Good job, Sharon!” is pretty meaningless. On the other hand, “Thanks for combing all of that data, and proving our predictions about next quarter were right, Sharon.” is much more affirming.
7. They work.
When employees see that their manager is willing to roll up their sleeves and step up to whatever task is on hand, they develop a strong sense of respect. This isn’t true for founders who only want to supervise and assign tasks to others.
8. They encourage personal and professional development.
Managers who know how to earn the respect of their people genuinely care about the personal and professional development of their team members. They encourage those under them to pursue their career goals, even if that means moving to another department. They also encourage pursuit of higher education and personal interests.
9. They protect and advocate.
One of the reasons people respect good managers is that they know they will stand up for them, and advocate for them. A good boss won’t let their team be mistreated by other people, and they will act as advocates to ensure their needs are met.
10. They acknowledge missteps and stay accountable.
Well-respected managers aren’t immune to making mistakes, or behaving like jerks. They are human just like everybody else. The thing that sets them apart is that their willingness to acknowledge mistakes, apologize to those who were negatively affected, and change their behavior going forward.
11. The get to know their employees.
Every employee comes with a variety of likes, dislikes, goals, priorities, and interests. A good boss is accessible enough to know these things. This knowledge helps a leader become more effective in their interactions.
12. They are consistent.
A great leader doesn’t engage in “kiss up and kick down” behavior. Their employees know that what you see is what you get. A good manager won’t turn on a dime simply because somebody “important” makes an appearance.
13. They build morale.
Effective teams have high morale. This is why respected leaders do small things each day to make sure their employees are happy, feel valued and are respected. This could be anything from buying the team lunch to offering early release days.
14. They take a step back.
Good managers hire good people. As a result, they don’t need to smother and hover. They would rather let people work to their own abilities than micromanage.
15. They value their employee’s personal lives.
Nobody can be an effective worker or human being if they are treated like a robot who only exists to work. Employees need to spend time with their families, engage in leisure activiities, and rest in order to be successful.
16. They are compassionate.
On any given day, people face a variety of personal and work-related struggles. Unchecked, these personal challenges can impact performance and the emotional well-being. A good manager, finds ways to get things done while also being sensitive and compassionate to this fact.
17. They treat people ethically.
A good boss treats people ethically , fairly, and compassionately. What they don’t do is treat everybody the same. Instead, they are sympathetic to each employees’ needs and experiences.
18. They share criticism in private.
When a good manager has to provide negative feedback, they make it a priority to help their employee save face and respond constructively by dealing with the issue in an inconspicuous manner.
19. They explain decisions (without apologizing).
Explaining a business decision can get employees on board to help execute a company’s vision. Apologizing for a decision slows progress and creates the appearance of weakness.
20. They make hiring decisions with the team in mind.
Running a small business requires making smart hiring decisions. The best leaders consider the current makeup of the team and company culture; they then look for hires who can complement it.
As you can see, it doesn’t take long to identify a well-respected manager. Great managers simply do the right thing frequently and treat people respectfully. These behaviors set a great boss apart from an average boss!
This article has been edited and condensed.