What Does It Take to Be an Effective Manager?

Woman sitting at computer, man in blazer pointing at screen

Every leader who is passionate about their craft, their career, and the people they lead wants to be an effective manager. They want to be efficient and reliable, to inspire and teach, to encourage and help their team grow. While it’s true that some people seem to be born with the charisma and leadership skills it takes to be an effective manager, that doesn’t mean that those talents can’t be developed just like any other skill.

All effective managers are tasked with leading their team’s performance, ensuring that they are successful, and supporting the growth of each individual. But what characteristics are necessary to make that happen?

Communicative

When every team member clearly understands what is expected of them, they are going to perform better and more confidently. Good managers have a knack for knowing what they want, how they want it done, and who the best person for the job is. 

Truly effective managers, though, are adept at painting that complete picture to other people.Without proper communication, frustration and resentment can fester, as both team members and leaders are left feeling like the other just doesn’t understand. 

Decisive

Any person in charge can decide something and expect their team to follow that directive, but effective managers take the time to gather all of the information possible to inform their decision. They also take the time to speak to all parties that are going to be affected and take into account their thoughts, feelings, and experience. 

Finally, they have to make a judgement call knowing that some people are going to like the decision and some people are not. An effective manager is going to recognize that dealing with and mitigating other people’s disappointment is just something that comes with being a team.

Organized

While the idea of being organized is pretty subjective, running your team without some sort of process that is both clearly understood and followed with fidelity is going to result in absolute chaos. This applies to both physical organization and time management. 

Establishing easy-to-use and reliable methods for keeping your team organized falls on the shoulders of the manager.Just as an example, imagine that your team does not use a conference room scheduling tool, that it’s a “first come, first serve” situation. Your clients aren’t going to be impressed when they are forced to wait outside for another meeting to end before they can get down to business. An effective manager is willing to get the ball rolling on procedures that help keep order in the office.

Confident 

It requires a certain swagger to be a great leader that avoids coming across as arrogance or superiority. It’s often said that employees leave managers, not jobs, and one of the best ways to run talented team members off is by asserting that they are inferior to you through your words, actions, and body language. 

Instead, leaders should be able to stay calm under pressure, handle conflict with grace, and be willing to laugh at themselves when something goes wrong. True confidence in leadership happens when all parties have mutual respect and feel safe going through the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of business together.

Reliable

Effective managers are willing to do what their team needs to be successful. They stick to the promises they make, are transparent when changes are coming, and know that team trust is a huge factor in success. Sometimes, that looks like making tough judgement calls when it comes to the way that you spend your time both in and out of the office. It can mean you staying up late to help your team meet a deadline, or waking up early to participate in an international conference call. 

That being said, effective leaders can be reliable without letting themselves burn out. Sometimes, we are too willing to sacrifice our own health and happiness because “that’s just what managers do.” While it is impossible to expect that there will never be days that push you further than you’re comfortable with, it’s okay to set boundaries. 

For example, you can tell your team that you’re willing to answer emails, calls, and texts up until 9:00 PM, but anything else will have to wait until morning. At that point, you’re still doing more than the 9-5 demands of you, while ensuring that you are able to eat, sleep, and take care of yourself. In doing so, you are ensuring that you can continue to be the best leader you can be. 

Solution-Oriented

Perhaps most importantly, effective leaders strive to find unique solutions to both old problems, like how to make a traditional process more efficient and effective, or new problems, like how to ensure that a client gets exactly what they need from your team. 

But fear not! While it is ultimately up to you to have solutions, you have a team to turn to. By facilitating conversations and opening the floor to friendly disagreement, you are creating a culture that values creativity and collaboration. When those two things come together, under the guidance of an effective manager, you’d be hard-pressed to come across a problem that your team can’t solve. 

Not sure that you’re an effective manager yet? Want to learn more and grow in your position?

No matter where you are as a business leader, we provide the structure and skills necessary for greatness. We meet you where you are and help you get where you want to be.

Catalyst Group ECR is devoted to partnering with clients to create a creative process that maximizes professional and personal potential.

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