By DeEtta Jones
Many leaders feel overburdened by trying to decipher what will motivate their staff and increase their leadership effectiveness. Why not ask them? The 10 traits below are responses from front line staff, supervisors and middle managers who were asked to describe traits they look for in a manager. As you read through the list, think about the kind of manager you are and the kind of manager you want to be.
Good managers have good ideas but their role in innovation is more as facilitator than consummate mastermind. They are not threatened by the talent of their employees and they cultivate a working environment that encourages creativity. Good managers facilitate innovation.
Good managers provide important education and guidance that help employees see how their work contributes to the larger goals of the organization. An effective manager helps employees build confidence by giving assignments that require demonstration of new skills followed by feedback and corrections that are made early enough to avoid an employee’s failure. When employees do fail, good bosses encourage reflection and identification of learning that can be applied to future endeavors.
Good managers listen to their employees and show interest in their opinion while providing opportunities to speak openly. An effective manager encourages personal and professional growth, sometimes by giving access to resources (like professional development experiences) and sometimes by removing barriers.
Good managers make difficult choices while possessing the finesse needed to gain acceptance of unpopular decisions. They are able to secure resources for important initiatives. They use analytical frameworks for guiding change, promoting transparent processes and communication. Strategic bosses are decisive -not to be confused with closed-minded or dogmatic). Once a decision has been made, they stick with it and avoid changing directions quickly or sending mixed messages.
Good managers are also visionary managers – able to clearly see and build a commitment toward a compelling future state. They articulate a sense of direction, map out the path and shepherd the process.
6. Demonstrate Trustworthiness
Good managers are genuine, have integrity, and behave in a manner consistent with their word and values. Employees trust managers they know to be intelligent, capable and have a demonstrated track record of acting in their best interest. Effective managers give and receive (even invite) feedback — affirmative and constructive. They are fully aware and sensitive to their scope of power in the organization and in their relationship with employees.
7. Accessible and Adaptable
Good managers balance their support and direction with the freedom employees need to do their work. They understand that each employee comes to the workplace with unique experiences, needs and cultural lenses that will require individualized attention and support. An effective manager can adapt their style to ensure effective communication and levels of productivity.
Good managers are passionate about the vision, mission of the organization, the people with whom they work and the company’s clients. Effective managers are the first to roll up their sleeves to contribute and model the level of motivation and quality required for achievement of organizational goals. Effective managers help employees stay connected to their own passion by encouraging the sharing of ideas and then helping to shape them to fit within, and be supported by, the larger organization.
Good managers look for opportunities to praise their employees for doing a good job. They don’t take credit for their employees’ work, and they don’t throw an employee under the bus–ever. They influence up by being a conduit between their employees and higher level decision makers, often helping their employees develop the language and influence strategies needed to take an idea to the top of the organization.
Good managers are willing to laugh and value a work environment that encourages meaningful relationships between colleagues. They inspire their team by making the connection from their heads to their hearts about the importance of their work and their value to the company.
Remember, leadership is a journey. Bon voyage!
About the Author
DeEtta Jones is a leadership strategist, social justice advocate and author. She has more than 20 years of experience working with individual leaders and teams in some of the world’s most prominent universities and corporations. Her multidimensional background and fresh perspective leaves clients feeling heard and empowered to take on some of the major organizational and workforce challenges of our times. For more information or to have DeEtta speak at your next event, please visit http://www.deettajones.com.