Good managers, hard to find?

Leading research by Gallup of 7,272 U.S. adults, it found that 50 percent of employees left their job “to get away from their manager to improve their overall life at some point in their career.”  Are good managers really that hard to find?

I am lucky.  In my career, I have had better managers than bad ones, but the bad ones that I experienced were enough to make me leave the company.  A good manager ensures that their team succeeds despite the challenges and treats their employees as individual people not just occupants of a cube.

On the other hand bad managers tend to be passive aggressive and often don’t have the guts to confront people when there is a problem.  I can’t tell you how many times colleagues have come to me with emails from their managers suggesting that they are doing bad work. While there is a time and a place to document poor behavior a good manager will talk face to face with people to help them navigate turbulent times.

I have always made it my business to get to know people who work for me.  I want to know what drives them to succeed and what they want from me.  Sometimes though you have to let people take a small fall so they can learn.  It’s hard, but the lesson could prove to be invaluable.

Then there are mistakes.  Forget the bullshit that “mistakes help people learn”.  When mistakes happ4en, and they do, good managers look to fix the situation, ask “what can we do to ensure it never happens again?” and take the blame.  Bad managers immediately go looking to blame the mistake on someone.  When it comes to errors they are made of Teflon.

What advice would I give to a new manager?

  1. Be yourself.  Let your people get used to your management style.
  2. Listen more than talk .
  3. Always be willing to help someone, especially when they haven’t asked for help.
  4. Talk to them as people and try and understand that they don’t respond to management the same way.
  5. Take them off campus for a cup of coffee once in awhile just to see how they are doing.
  6. If they are consistently working late you need to either hire more people or balance workloads.
  7. Ensure they take vacation time.
  8. Understand that leadership cannot be learned from a book .

Nobody expects you to be perfect, but as you manage people you will get better and your people will respect you and perform for you.

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