A successful manager has 10 qualities that are the same in a wide range of industries and occupations. The following profile of a successful manager is drawn from interviews with more than 5,000 employees of different organizations served by a prominent Management Consulting Firm in the US (Harbridge House of Boston) in 2003. The answers were consistent, regardless of the age or sex of the manager, or the industry, size, location, organization structure or corporate culture of the company.
Employees were asked what qualities they think their own bosses need. They also were asked how their bosses measure up. The answers were used to help the consulting firm shape its management training programs to the specific needs of each organization it serves.
In each company a questionnaire is developed listing as many as 50 manager qualities. Employees were asked to pick from the list the qualities they consider most important for a manager to be effective. Then they were asked to rate their own boss against the list.
Despite the diversity of occupations and the differences in individual managers, the study showed that the men and women who reported on their bosses hold strong and surprisingly consistent opinions, not only on what makes a good manager but on just how well their own bosses are doing.
This is what a good manager must do as the study concludes:
1. Provide clear direction. An effective manager needs to establish clear goals and standards for people. He must communicate group goals, not just individual goals. He must involve people in setting these goals, and not simply dictate them himself. He must be clear and thorough in delegating responsibility.
2. Encourage open communication. The manager must be candid in dealing with people. He must be honest, direct and to the point creating “an climate of openness and trust.”
3. Be willing to coach & support people. This means being helpful to others, working constructively to correct performance problems and going to battle for subordinates with superiors (rated as one of the most important aspects of effective leadership).
4. Provide objective recognition. The manager must recognize people for good performance more often than criticizing them for performance problems. Rewards must be related to the excellence of job performance, not to seniority or personal relationships.
5. Establish on-going controls. This means following up on important issues and actions and giving subordinates feedback on how they are doing.
6. Select the right people to staff the organization.
7. Understand the financial implications of decisions. This quality is considered important even for functional managers who do not have responsibility for the bottom line (Line Responsibility).
8. Encourage innovation and new ideas. Employees rate this quality important in even the most traditional or conservative organizations.
9. Give subordinates clear-cut decisions when they are needed. This has to do with “employees want a say in things, but they don’t want endless debate.”
10. Consistently demonstrate a high level of integrity. The study showed that most employees want to work for a manager they can respect.
It is amazing that the one quality that stood out above all others in the employees responses is “open and honest communication.”
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