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by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes

One of the managers I had at my previous company was certainly the best manager I had, now I’ve had a number of good managers, maybe I’ve been lucky.  Like everybody, I’ve had some terrible managers too.  So what makes a good manager?

Time – Book reviews with your team and make sure it’s their time.  No interruptions, no “I’ve got to do this call”.  Sit in an office.  Reviews should take different formats.  Sometimes sit and ask questions, otherwise it was my time to talk to each other.

If You Want to Know How to Mine Coal – Ask the People Digging the Coal – Don’t be afraid of asking your team for advice.  Management can be a lonely place and often means you are detached from the running of the business.  Often the best ideas come from the people at the coal face.  It didn’t mean he would take the advice, but at least he could bring this into his mix.

Give Credit for Ideas – If you want to create a culture of idea creation, then you need to give credit for those ideas provided by other people.  I’ve had two managers since, one always gave credit for ideas that we as a team put forward.  This manager, always gave credit, to the point I often thought he was being political.  If the idea got rejected, he wouldn’t lose political capital.  But we always put forward ideas.  Where as another manager would always take our ideas and present them as his own.  Then the ideas dried up as we stopped putting them forward.

Belief – Believe in your team and make sure you support them.  If they mess up, then you need to tell them and do this timely.  But always give them the benefit of the doubt.

Delegation – Probably one of the biggest issues that managers have is delegating to people.  Often managers get used to being directive (telling people what to do) because they think they know best.  For example, if they have worked up through the ranks.  Where as as a manager you need to know that you don’t have and cannot have all the good ideas.  You need to be able to let your staff complete tasks themselves, make mistakes and know that you will be there for them.  Similar to children, they will climb trees and they will either fall out of the tree or climb back down.  Either was as a parent you need to be there for them.

Doing What you Say You Will Do and When You Say you Will Do it By – Probably one of the many mistakes managers have made over the years is saying you are going to do something then not doing it.  Often what they said they would do, meant I was planning to deliver something at a similar time.  Then not being able to finish the project because I hadn’t had their contribution.  Now we all have changing priorities and changing objectives but, ion things change then this needs to be communicated.

Communicate Often – People want to know what is going on and while “all hands calls’ and “town halls” often sound dull or boring, but most people want to understand the direction of travel for any organisation or department.  What are the wins, what is the news, has there been any changes? At the end of the day you owe it to your people to offer them a stable, supportive environment, or of course, they might leave.

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