By Diamond Richardson
Effective management is a hot topic. Even the phrase “what is effective management” generates 165,000 monthly Google searches, indicating that a lot of people are still trying to figure out exactly how to define it. A team of effective managers in your organization can be the difference between standard performance and above-average performance. This is because effective managers know how to maximize the potential of your most important assets: your employees.
The line between good managers and great managers is rarely clearly defined. In fact, many managers are in the gray area of being average. They are not exceptionally great, but aren’t performing poorly enough to be fired. Average management at your company means you are probably getting average performance from your employees.
So what separates the good from the great when it comes to management?
1) Good managers keep employees working. Great managers keep employees engaged. Traditional views about management follow the idea that it is a manager’s job to keep employees on task and make sure that they complete projects on time. We know how important employee engagement is to employee work quality, so effective managers focus on making sure their employees are engaged. They know that quality work will naturally follow.
2) Good managers never solicit advice. Great managers encourage employees to tell them how they could do better. Managers who believe their title alone puts them out of reach from the need for advice will never become effective managers. Effective managers are always eager to hear tips on ways they can improve. In her book Lean In, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg recounts a story about how a summer intern at Facebook told Mark Zuckerberg that he should work on his public speaking skills. Zuckerberg hired him for a full-time position immediately. Like Zuckerberg, effective managers know how to show employees that they welcome advice. They know that listening to this advice has two benefits: it makes them better managers, and it communicates to employees that their opinions matter.
3) Good managers tolerate employees with difficult personalities. Great managers learn how to tailor their management styles to reach difficult employees more effectively. It is highly unlikely, that as a manager, you will get along with every single one of your employees. Average managers tend to sweep difficult employees off to the side. They prefer to have minimal contact with them and allow them to do sub-par work, even if the employee is capable of more. Effective managers know that to get the most out of difficult employees, they will have to tailor their management style. Effective managers address issues with difficult employees, and do not give up on developing them to their full potential.
4) Good managers respond to change after it happens. Great managers manage change as it happens: Change is inevitable. How managers respond to it can be the “make it or break it” performance of their careers. Average managers see change approaching or happening around them, but wait until it is over to respond. This is often because managers like to have complete information to make the best decision, but in the business world, complete information is an elusive concept. There will always be unknowns. Effective managers manage change in the best interest of their companies as it is happening, to minimize the damage or reap the possible rewards.
Do you have any tips for how to take managers from good to great?