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Meet The Manager: 5 Best Qualities of the Ideal Manager

Posted by Devayani Bapat

April 10, 2024

A guide to management style essentials and necessary attributes to becoming a good manager.

“Good managers don’t set a goal to increase efficiency, but rather an implementation of business process improvements that result in higher efficiency as well.” ― Eraldo Banovac.

That sinking feeling in your stomach is all too familiar on a Sunday evening, with Monday morning looming large. Sweat beads form on your forehead as you dread the start of the new week. Anxiety sets in, and the only thought racing through your mind is, “I don’t want to go to work tomorrow. Maybe I should call in sick.”

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This feeling is a red flag for many employees, signaling a potentially toxic work environment. Managers take note—there’s likely something you can do to help your team avoid this distressing sentiment, and we’re here to tell you how.

The Situational Leadership Model:

Before delving into the essential qualities of a good manager, let’s discuss a commonly used leadership style in the business world that can effectively address negative sentiments about work. This style promotes higher employee retention and reduces instances of employees quietly leaving.

Different situations demand different management styles. For example, some tasks may require something other than a hands-on approach from your manager. However, in a crisis, a manager may need to be slightly more involved, and that’s precisely what the Hersey-Blanchard model, commonly referred to as the Situational Leadership Model, developed by Paul Hersey and Kenneth Blanchard, talks about.

Now, what is the situational leadership model?

The situational leadership model, commonly used across organizations, proposes that a manager must use a leadership style that adapts to situations that may or may not arise in a workplace. It encourages managers to evaluate the abilities and experiences of each of their team members to motivate them toward professional growth, thereby ensuring an overall positive environment at work.

In this model, employees are divided into four categories of maturity, which are listed below:

High maturity: Individuals who are extremely capable and excel at their work. They also work well independently.

Moderate high maturity: Employees who are extremely capable of doing a good job but need that extra push.

Moderate low maturity: Employees with the confidence to perform but lack dedication.

Low maturity: Employees who need to be equipped to accomplish the task, however, are determined to learn.

Based on the maturity of followers, the SLM proposes four different management styles:

The first is the delegation style, which managers must adopt for high-maturity employees. In this type of leadership, managers allow employees to take ownership of their tasks and perform them independently. 

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Participating style: This style of management works best for moderate-maturity employees. In this style, managers are actively involved in brainstorming sessions, creativity, and conversations to create a relationship-building approach to tasks.

Selling style: This style can be used with moderately low-maturity employees. 

Managers give precise directions and guidance on how tasks must be performed persuasively to ensure the job is done.

Telling Style: This is a good approach for low-maturity employees. It tends to focus on skill-building, wherein a manager helps employees and supervises them closely with explicit directions on how tasks must be performed.

Having acknowledged the limitations of a one-size-fits-all approach and explored the situational leadership model, it’s clear that more than a singular management style is needed to develop a good manager. Now, let’s examine the qualities contributing to managerial success when coupled with an appropriate leadership approach.

We’ve listed five essential attributes that make a good manager below:

Leadership Skills:

An essential aspect of effective management is having a well-defined vision for your team. This includes setting clear goals and outlining the necessary steps and resources to achieve them, which are integral to driving success.

A fundamental principle of effective management is embodied in the phrase “Kick Up and Kiss Down.” This principle states that managers should support and encourage their team members, especially during challenging times, without resorting to criticism or negativity.

Additionally, good managers ensure that credit and appreciation are given where due, acknowledging and highlighting the contributions of individual team members rather than claiming credit for their work.

This helps create a supportive work environment, empowering team members to excel and contribute to the team’s success. By practicing this principle, managers build trust, morale, and loyalty within their teams, ultimately driving greater overall performance and achieving organizational goals, making them managers and good leaders.

Communication is key:

Clear and concise communication from managers is critical to ensuring that every team member understands their tasks, responsibilities, and goals. Another important aspect of communication is effectively communicating constructive feedback and listening to and addressing grievances. Good managers must be well-versed in choosing their words thoughtfully to minimize any confusion within the team and foster a positive, balanced, and favorable environment for employees to thrive.

Conflict-Resolution Attitude:

Diverse personalities bring diverse problems. A manager must effectively navigate tricky situations that may arise in a team. Mediating and resolving employee conflicts can help a team feel respected and valued. A manager with good conflict resolution can listen to all team members, understand the different sides of the coin, and then effectively develop an optimal solution that promotes overall growth and success.

It’s not personal; respect your team:

Managers must demonstrate honesty and transparency in their work, setting aside personal biases in their team relationships. When building successful managerial relationships, leaving judgment out of the room is crucial. When managers listen to critical feedback from their teams openly and positively, it sets a valuable example for the team to handle both positive and negative feedback constructively. It’s important not to hold personal grudges or publicly reprimand team members. Instead, have private conversations to show respect for their work and their perspectives. This helps create an environment that allows employees to feel comfortable being honest, vulnerable, and open about their work concerns.

Set a good example. Take that lunch break:

We’ve said it before, and we’ll repeat it: it’s important to reiterate the significance of taking regular breaks, including the lunch break, as a literal practice. While we do mean this in the literal sense, figuratively, we’d like to highlight that this spotlights the importance of establishing a healthy work-life balance for your employees. While there may be occasions when extra hours are necessary, it’s equally important to recognize when it’s beneficial to step back and allow time for relaxation and rejuvenation. Pushing your team relentlessly to operate at maximum capacity daily can result in burnout.

Encouraging employees to take breaks and balance work and personal life is essential for sustaining productivity and well-being. It demonstrates empathy and understanding from management, thereby creating an environment where individuals can thrive without feeling overwhelmed or overworked. By promoting a culture that values self-care and downtime, managers contribute to long-term employee satisfaction, resulting in employee retention and sustained performance levels.

The key takeaway:

A proficient manager embodies the qualities of a strong leader—someone who can empathize, organize, delegate, and communicate expectations. They lay the foundation for team success by providing support and structure, enabling team members to collaborate efficiently and achieve their goals. Managers serve as the backbone of their teams, ensuring cohesion and productivity.

Moreover, effective managers drive their teams to peak performance and contribute to overall success. They successfully develop inclusive, respectful, and transparent leadership strategies that foster growth and unity within the team.

Embracing these principles allows for a positive work environment where everyone can thrive and contribute to organizational excellence.

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Want to know more about the PeopleOps processes? Since 2006, Escalon has helped thousands of startups get off the ground with our back-office solutions for accounting, bookkeeping, taxes, HR, payroll, insurance, and recruiting — and we can help yours, too. Talk to an expert today.

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. Escalon and its affiliates are not providing tax, legal, or accounting advice in this article. If you would like to engage with Escalon, please get in touch with us here.


Devayani Bapat
Devayani Bapat

With 6 years of experience in copywriting and social media management across genres, Devayani's heart lies with weaving words into stories and visuals into carefully crafted narratives that’ll keep you wanting more. She carries with her, her pocket notebook, a trusted confidante that goes with her wherever she goes, and scribbles down into it anecdotes on the go. Her secret weapon for keeping all things copy interesting! Apart from writing, Devayani is huge on travelling. You'll find her booking her next adventure while she's on her current one. And while on those adventures, you'll find her devouring true crime books one after the other. Whether it's a low down on a recent case or one that occurred 70 years ago, she can cook up a story narration you'll never forget.

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