Do your manager effectiveness surveys often come back with negative responses? Do you struggle with high turnover rates, or exhibit other signs that you need to revamp your performance management?
Figuring out how to identify a great manager is one of the most complex factors in leading an organization, but there are general questions that you can ask yourself to yield an insight, whatever your industry of operation.
Is Your Manager a Good Supervisor?
A good supervisor should be able to elicit the best from your employees while minimizing the worst. Bad managers often focus on process and procedure, but forget that managing by definition is about managing people.
A good manager utilizes good coaching skills that encourage him or her to approach problems with the mindset of, “How can I teach my supervisees to do better?” In contrast, a bad manager is much more likely to bully employees or use intimidation to try to get things done.
Does Your Manager Exhibit Good Leadership Behaviors?
An effective manager recognizes that leadership relies on a productive relationship between managers and those they supervise. Crucially, a good manager understands that genuine authority is something that must be earned, not something that is automatically conferred by a job title — or even worse, something that should be wielded like a weapon.
A good leader works actively with the employees under their leadership, encouraging skills development to boost results and improve operations. Good leaders communicate openly and honestly with their employees and never engage in inappropriate conversations or messaging.
Meanwhile, bad managers are unsupportive of their employees and frequently adopt an unhelpful “my way or the highway” mindset. Such managers are guaranteed to lose the trust of the employees under their supervision, and the entire department’s operations will probably suffer as a result.
Is Your Manager a Good Communicator?
Being a good communicator as a manager means understanding that your business is filled with real people, not simple “work drones.”
A good manager is likely to view communication as an important tool, one that helps him or her identify problems and then work with employees to find a solution. A good communicator strives to constantly provide open and constructive feedback and views communication as an objective-oriented, problem-solving partnership.
In contrast, a poor communicator is likely to view conversation as one-way and believe that being a leader means his or her voice is the only one that truly matters. If a manager is uninterested in what his or her supervisees has to say and doesn’t communicate with employees unless it’s about something negative or admonitory, then it’s clear that they’re not an effective communicator.
Does Your Manager Care About You?
Managers are often under a great deal of pressure, but only the bad ones will respond by growing cynical and dismissive toward the employees under their supervision.
Good managers always remember to deal with their supervisees as real people and go out of their way to show genuine concern for their team members. Effective managers know that the entire company benefits when their employees are able to grow and learn, and they understand that helping employees be the best that they can be is always a top priority.
Is Your Manager a Good Planner?
A good planner is somebody who is able to maintain a consistent long-term vision that doesn’t get derailed by daily hiccups or momentary setbacks.
A manager who’s a good planner knows how to set short-term goals for his or her employees that lead directly to long-term objectives and understands how to guide the day-to-day workload to meet that end.
A bad manager, on the other hand, is likely to view planning as a secondary concern and is usually more focused on maintaining his or her own authority. Such managers won’t bother to provide consistent goals for their employees and often won’t attempt to hold their employees accountable for any goals unless they themselves are in danger of receiving blowback from higher up the organizational chart.
What Do I Do If I Have a Bad Manager?
If you suspect (or know) that you have a bad manager, it’s easy to feel like you don’t have any options. After all, they’re the boss, right?
However, it’s important to remember that the quality of your own work doesn’t need to be determined by your manager’s ability to lead, and there are steps you can take to improve your situation even when the manager doesn’t.
One of the first steps to take is to raise your concerns directly with your manager. By openly and constructively communicating the issues you’ve seen and experienced, you let your manager know that his or her department is struggling and offer an avenue to find a solution together.
If communication is ineffective, you can also try to “manage up.” Managing up means striving to do your own job to the best of your ability, and taking every opportunity to make your manager’s own work easier.
In the most severe cases it may be necessary to speak to your Human Resources representative, especially when company policy or employee rights laws are being violated.
Finally, if all else fails you may have no choice but to start searching for a new job.
To find out how you can improve organizational manager effectiveness and boost leadership skills throughout your organization, contact us today to learn more about performance consulting.