Accessibility Links

9 characteristics you should develop to become a great manager



At some point in your career it’s likely that you’ll have had a great manager. Someone who inspires, leads by example and empowers their team to succeed. So, when it’s your turn to become a manager it’s only natural that you’d want to emulate them. But what exactly are the characteristics that you should develop to become a truly great manager? Here are 9 things that will take you from ‘good’ to ‘great’ in your management career...
Be a good communicator

Be a good communicator

Being able to listen and share information is a foundational aspect of being a great manager. Effective communication should be a priority of your daily practice as a manager. Listening to the concerns, ideas, and opinions of your team nurtures an emotional and personal investment (which goes both ways) meaning that your team are more likely to be committed to you and their colleagues. Fostering a culture of listening means that your staff will feel more valued and will be more likely to suggest ideas in the future. Effective communication will also help your team to feel more empowered as they will have a clearer idea of the direction of the team and wider company and how they fit within the broader organisational strategy. If there’s only one thing you take away from this article it should be, communicate, communicate and communicate some more!!!
Want to be a great manager? Then don't micromanage!

Don’t micromanage

Communication is vital – but don’t mistake it for micromanagement. Micromanagement is something which can creep into a manager’s daily practice without them even realising it. It’s important to ensure this doesn’t happen though, as micromanagement can be cause of major frustration and friction for your team members. 

Avoiding micromanagement is about finding the right balance between guidance and freedom. And this balance is different every member of your team (nobody said that management was easy!). The very best managers are able to figure what balance of guidance and freedom each member of their team requires in order to truly flourish and become empowered. It’s about showing you trust your team members, whilst also making sure that the job gets done.
Coaching is an integral part of being a great manager

Be a great coach

It may be a tired cliché but being a great manager is in many ways like being a great sports coach.

Employees both need and appreciate a manager who takes the time to coach them. This could involve a variety of things, from helping them to acquire new skills and techniques through to learning new behaviours and attitudes. 

But it’s vital that you spread these coaching efforts equally throughout your team. The temptation is always there to focus your coaching efforts on those members of the team who are underperforming or lagging behind in some way. But it’s important that you share the coaching love with your whole team – even the star performers. Leaving employees to do their jobs without any form of coaching whatsoever is a recipe for career stagnation and disgruntlement and trouble further down the road.
Create an inclusive team environment

Create an inclusive team environment

This is about so much more than simply creating a diverse team. It’s important as a manager to consider, and tackle, any unconscious biases you may have. This is often referred to as the process of ‘unbiasing’ and doing this effectively is the key to creating a truly inclusive team environment. Get this right and you’ll create an environment in which all of your team members, no matter what their background, will feel safe in expressing new ideas, contributing to discussions and generally doing their best work. 
One of the most important parts of being a great manager is leading by example at all times

Lead by example

Nobody wants to work for a lazy boss. When you become a manager, it can be easy to get caught up in company bureaucracy and paperwork and neglect your main day-to-day tasks. But avoiding this is important in motivating your team and getting the best out of them.

In short – you have to be on model behaviour – constantly. It’s hard work, but as we’ve mentioned above, that’s the life of a manager! As the old saying goes, “Don’t expect of others, that which you are unwilling to do yourself”.
Develop a clear strategy for your team

Develop a clear strategy for your team

Come up with a goal for your team and lead them towards it!

Developing a mission/strategy/goal for your team is a great way of uniting your team around a shared aim, helping them to work together and overcome issues in a joined-up way. 

What does this look like in practice? 

It’s highly likely that your company has a business-wide strategy. You should take this strategy and articulate a version that is specific to your team. Don’t just tell your team what the company’s overarching strategy is – tell them what that strategy means specifically for them and their day-to-day work. By connecting the work of your team to the overall company strategy you’ll make their work feel much more meaningful and fulfilling.
Ensure you have the technical skills and knowledge to support your team

Ensure you have the technical skills and knowledge to support your team

This may sound like another rather obvious point, but as a manager its important that you keep your technical skills sharpened!

As a manager you’ll spend your days assigning tasks and delegating works to direct reports and members of your team. But if you continue to do that without staying up to date with your particular discipline then you risk losing credibility with your team when the time comes to roll-up your sleeves and get involved with the work directly.

Whilst you don’t need to be an expert on every element of your team’s work, it’s important that you can at least hold your own in technical conversations.
Be a strong decision maker

Be a strong decision maker

Indecisiveness can doom a manager.

Team members will look to you for leadership, especially when you are all working on a major project or have to hit a tight deadline. Yes, it’s important to listen to your team and consider their ideas and opinions, but when it comes to making decisions that’s a job for you.

Employees appreciate managers who can make decisions. However, the very best managers are those who can not only be strong decision makers, but also make the extra effort to explain to their team why they’ve made that particular decision. Going to this extra effort helps your team to understand context and priorities and also ensures that they remain engaged and supportive of you in your management role.

If there’s anything that sums up value associated with strong decision makers, it’s a quote from G.K. Chesterton which says:“I’ve searched all the parks, in the all cities, and found no statues of committees.”
Support the career development of team members

Support the career development of team members

There’s quite as demotivating as the prospect of being stuck in the same position (with no development) for years. Team members want to know they are part of a team which will elevate their career and help them to develop.

As their manager, it’s your job to make that career development happen for your team.

A recent Gallup poll found that only half of employees know what expectations they should be fulfilling at work. Make sure you’re one of the great managers by discussing expectations and performance with your team on a regular basis. Set clear expectations, hold team members accountable for meeting these expectations and provide support where necessary and you’ll quickly have a motivated and happy team on your hands. Of course, once team members are consistently meeting expectations, it’s vital to reward them with appropriate career development and other opportunities.

Time for a job in management?

If reading this article has inspired you to consider taking the step into management, then make sure you register with Fircroft today. We’ll send you email job alerts of the latest management opportunities with the world’s leading engineering and technical companies across the globe. You can also explore our current job and contract opportunities and apply straight away!
Add new comment
By commenting on this blog you're agreeing to our terms of use

Comments left should relate to the subject of the above blog. Unfortunately job applications cannot be accepted here.

For job enquiries and applications please use our job search and for technical or account queries please contact us.

Back to Top

By clicking "Save" you consent to
receiving matching jobs based on the
job/page you are viewing by email from
Fircroft, as detailed in our privacy policy
Fircroft would like to keep you up to date with our current vacancies and latest company updates via email. Occasionally Fircrofts marketing may contain 3rd party or affiliate information, however we will not share your personal data with any 3rd parties without your consent. From time to time, we might contact you to get your views on the service you have received. To help you get the best out of Fircroft, we may personalise them based on your location and how you use
Fircroft would like to keep you up to date with the latest company updates and vacancies via SMS / Text messages
Your consent options above means that Fircroft cannot contact you about any new or alternative career vacancies. If you want Fircroft to only contact you about the role(s) you have applied for please continue, however if you would like to be considered for other positions please allow us to contact you by changing one or more of the above consent.