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Management can make a huge impact on your business as a whole, good and bad. Here we cover what makes a good manager versus an exceptional manager, as well as traits of a bad manager.

Top companies know that investing in great management is essential for a thriving business. Management can make a huge impact on your business as a whole and certain manager traits can dictate whether or not staff are motivated, morale is high, and teams are effectively working toward goals.

A Gallup study found that at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores is driven by who the boss is. This is a high percentage considering the fact that many of those currently in management positions lack the skills needed to lead successfully. Bad managers can cost businesses money and resources. To combat bad management tendencies, it’s important that companies put a competency management plan in place to help develop good leadership qualities and have consistency company-wide.

What Makes a Bad Manager?

In many organizations, managers aren’t always chosen based on their skill-set. Instead, those in management positions may have been thrust into their roles as a result of being with the company for an allotted amount of time, senior management exiting the organization, or certain jobs being dissolved or combined.

For bad managers who were actually hired for their position but lack certain crucial management skills, it’s likely that the company doesn’t have a good enough vetting process in place or the manager was chosen based primarily on potential and cultural fit, which might be ok if the organization also outlines which skills need to be improved and give that employee the tools and guidance to do so.

So what is it that makes a bad manager? Some traits of bad managers include:

They lack the ability to deliver constructive criticism. In order to keep morale up and motivation high, managers need to be able to bolster their team and help them see the bright side of any given situation. Bad managers are more likely to focus on the negative aspects of a team’s work without praising the positive aspects.

In addition to focusing on negatives concerning workflow and processes, bad managers also often solely focus on poor performance of each team member without offering any avenues for improvement.

They’re unavailable. Bad managers don’t make it a priority to be available to their team to help answer questions, come up with solutions, and move projects along. Bad managers may seclude themselves in their own solo tasks and excuse themselves from vital team meetings.

They’re clueless. Not keeping up-to-date on how their work, and their team, affects the company overall can be a problem. Bad managers don’t go the extra mile to educate themselves on relevant topics so they aren’t able to answer important questions that their team members may have.

They’re demanding and unrealistic. Most likely a result of their aforementioned “cluelessness,” bad managers may set unfeasible deadlines and then put pressure on staff to meet said deadlines while ignoring objections from their team.

Most bad managers aren’t striving to do poorly at their jobs. Sometimes a lack of understanding and training is all that is preventing managers from becoming a real asset to their team and their organization. However, for companies that don’t emphasize competency and leadership development, those who are currently in management positions that lack certain skills, may never improve.

What Makes a Good Manager?

When the stars align and someone with the needed technical skills, refined leadership talent, and cultural fit is appointed to a management position, that is when a team can really excel.

Good managers tend to:

Praise the positives. Good managers make sure to encourage their team by giving praise where praise is due–even when a project isn’t going as smoothly as they may like. Encouragement motivates staff to do their best no matter the circumstances.

Lead by example. Good managers don’t necessarily need to be the first one in and the last one out of the office each day, but they need to lead by example when it comes to getting work done and doing their best. When the boss is working hard, it encourages the rest of the team to do their best as well.

Ensure a fair distribution of work. Good managers know the importance of being in tune with their team’s workload. By having a good understanding of the team’s workload, good managers can plan effectively and position employees to help those who need it.

What Makes an Exceptional Manager?

For some, being a “good” manager means doing what your job description says–showing up at nine, getting your work done, delegating tasks to your team, and leaving at five. Many times, that is actually the baseline definition of a good manager. Exceptional managers go above and beyond to guarantee their team’s success. Some traits of exceptional managers might be:

They build relationships. Outstanding managers recognize that in order to work together efficiently, team members must have good relationships. Great managers include exercises and activities to help create and strengthen relationships between team members and also between themselves and their subordinates.

They help others succeed: Exceptional managers are there to support their employees. This might mean jumping in wherever needed and doing things a typical “manager” may not normally do. By providing support and helping to remove obstacles, great managers do whatever is required to help their team members.

They engage in and encourage continued learning. Great managers know that their team is only as strong as their weakest team member. They also know that a team’s success can often depend on the manager’s skill set. Exceptional managers make sure to advocate continued learning for both their team and themselves by way of a competency management system that includes learning management.

How Competency Management Can Help Shape Better Managers

When managers participate in continued learning initiatives to sharpen their technical and leadership skills, it’s beneficial for the company at large. Not only will managers feel more confident in their position, but with continued learning throughout their career, managers will be prepared for future senior leadership positions within the company.

Additionally, with a continued learning and competency management system in place, team members will be more engaged and efficient. When managers take the lead to make sure that they’re up-to-date with industry skills and standards, their team will be more likely to follow suit.

RELATED ARTICLE: How to Offer Flexible Career Pathing Using Competency Management

Integrating a competency management system is an easy and cost effective way to shape better managers and positively impact your business. Learn more about implementing a competency management system for your organization on our website. Ready to start the conversation? Contact us!