How to Be a Great Manager

How to Be a Great Manager

If you are currently a manager in a business establishment or hope to be someday, you will want to know how to be a great one. And we have all you need to make a success of this position and not just be good, but great.

Most people in their career path yearn to take up a leadership position at some point.

Whether you are building your own business or working for someone else, a managerial position is usually desirable.

Even if you are not thinking of it, as you grow professionally, you might someday find yourself in this position.

As soothing as it is to be called a manager, or as desirable as the role is, it is anything but an easy one.

A lot of people have struggled in this role, and this is evident in the results they get or lack of it.

It has also been shown in the way they can manage people and resources. Which of course is the main role of a manager.

For you to be a great manager, there are certain qualities you need to develop.

These qualities are what set great managers apart from mediocre ones.

And such qualities will set you on the path to managerial success.

The most important ones of these qualities will be discussed as you read on.

Apart from qualities to develop, the actions and decisions you make daily will determine if you can be a great manager.

And that cuts across the areas of running a business and more importantly human relations.

In fact, if you are a great manager, you will know this from the reviews and feedback you get, and vice versa.

And of course, this will reflect in the success or failure of the business enterprise.

How to Be a Great Manager – Who is a Great Manager?

The word “Good” is relative.

This means that it is open to the interpretation of individuals on what they consider as being good.

However, when you say something or someone is great, there is an absolute meaning to that.

This means the object or subject in question is of the best quality in its entirety.

A good manager can be defined as one who is diligent in his work and job duties and known for getting results.

He is also one who has gained the respect and admiration of his subordinates.

He possesses all the relevant skills and attributes that make a good leader, and this shows in his daily activities.

As a result, a good manager earns the respect of his employers also.

If a good manager can be described as above, then a great manager is even better.

A great manager possesses all the earlier mentioned characteristics and more.

One noteworthy thing about great managers is that they have a very broad and good knowledge about their industry and work.

They are also actively invested in human capital development.

A great manager is an agent for change and unity in the work environment.

Additionally, if you are a great manager, this will also show in the way your customers are treated.

Customers who patronize organizations headed by great managers are always satisfied.

They feel the genuine warmth and acceptance that they long for, and see every reason to continue patronage.

In short, a great manager is a very big asset to the organization he/she works for or represents.

To fully understand who a great manager is, let us look at some of the qualities that characterize great managers.

How to Be a Great Manager – Qualities, Skills, and Values of a Great Manager 

Before one can be classified as a great manager, there are certain qualities or traits that the individual needs to exhibit.

If you are currently serving in a managerial role, ask yourself if you have these attributes.

Also, if you are warming up for such a role in the future, now is the time to work on developing these sterling managerial qualities.

Additionally, an HR firm that is looking at recruiting candidates for a managerial position would also do well to consider these qualities.

Some of the most important qualities or skills of a great manager are:

Great Leadership Skills 

This is one of the most important qualities of a manager.

In fact, without having leadership skills, an individual cannot qualify to be called a manager.

As the name implies, a manager is responsible for managing people and resources.

And as you well know, humans are dynamic and have differing personalities.

Hence, without possessing the right leadership skills, it would be difficult to carry everyone along.

Additionally, in your managerial journey, there would definitely be challenges and hurdles along the way.

This might involve the business itself or the people that work under you.

It takes great leadership skills to effectively steer the wheels and defeat those challenges.

Therefore, possessing great leadership skills is a very important quality that great managers should have.

Great Communication Skills 

A lot of factors affect productivity and job performance in the workplace.

Among all these factors, communication is at the top of the list.

Many employees will tell you that poor communication resulted in their lack of productivity and engagement at work.

And that is why this is a must-have skill for a great manager.

As a manager, you most likely have the clear objectives and goals of the business in mind.

And this is if you are the business owner or hired for this position.

However, it is one thing to know the objectives and a completely different thing to communicate them clearly to the team.

If you do not have good communication skills, it might be difficult to get top-notch performance from your team.

This is because the interpretation of the objectives might differ, and so will implementation.

Good communication has been likened to a rope that ties strands of hair together to form a bunch.

And hence, this is one of the most important skills or qualities that a great manager needs to develop.

Honesty and Integrity 

Without mincing words, you cannot be a successful manager or a great one if you are dishonest.

Why is this so? Trust has been highlighted by many as one of the most important factors that engage employees and make them satisfied.

That means that your subordinates should be able to trust you to have confidence in you as a leader.

When a manager makes it a habit to consistently prove dishonest, it shows a lack of integrity.

And when this happens, whatever trust the team has in you will start to dwindle.

As trust levels drop, so will confidence levels.

And gradually, the manager would lose the respect and trust of his team.

Honesty and integrity is also an essential quality of a great manager because mutual trust on the team is needed.

And it is only when the one at the top who is the manager sets a fine example in being trustworthy that the subordinates can follow suit.

What that means is that when you show a great level of being trustworthy as a manager, it robs off your entire team.

Great Emotional Intelligence

Being a great manager doesn’t mean being an emotionless boss.

A lot of people mistake this two.

Some believe that a manager doesn’t need to show emotions, and as such we have many managers today lacking emotional intelligence.

Having emotional intelligence refers to having the ability to use, understand and manage one’s emotion in a positive way.

In the workplace, this would help you as a manager to show understanding and empathy while dealing with others.

You will be moved to put yourself in the shoes of others so to speak and treat them with kindness.

A great manager who has great emotional intelligence would be very discerning of the circumstances surrounding his staff.

He/she will be very sensitive to changing situations for the team, not just as a whole but as individuals.

And this would guide the decisions and actions they make/take.

A Great Sense of Responsibility 

If there is one thing a great manager cannot and should not do, it is to shy away from their responsibility.

Whether they decide to do things themselves, or delegate tasks to others as they should, they should understand that they are the ones responsible for either the success or failure of such tasks.

In light of this, a great manager would not shift blames or try to avoid taking responsibility for how things transpire in the workplace.

Another responsibility of managers and that it takes a great manager to accept and follow up on is helping the members of the team develop professionally.

While it is true that individuals should invest in their personal growth and development, a great manager takes up the responsibility.

This is because they understand that such growth not only benefits the individuals in question but contributes to overall business growth as well.


A great manager cannot afford not to know or appear not to know about the business and the industry they belong to.

As a matter of fact, in a room that has employees and management of an organization, the manager should be the most knowledgeable.

That means a great manager must continue to work on improving his skills and developing new skills as well.

And such a person should not stop taking in more knowledge about the business industry, keeping tabs on current trends.

As a manager, you need to understand that your team will always look up to you for guidance and inspiration.

When this time comes, you cannot be found wanting. Because that is what makes great managers.


One of the recipes for disunity and disaster in the workplace is showing partiality and treating some as more important than others.

If you want to be seen as a great manager, this is a pitfall you need to avoid.

Great managers consider all employees to be equal and deserve the opportunity to play on the same level playground.

When you are impartial as a manager, it helps you to give a fair assessment of performance.

And of course, this allows you to give clear unbiased feedback and recognition where due.

This in turn builds your team up and keeps them united.

And that gives you an edge towards success as a great manager.

Good Time Management Skills 

Another quality that characterizes the best managers or great ones is their ability to manage time.

Usually, there are a lot of tasks, projects, and responsibilities that a manager has.

Sometimes, this load of responsibilities might seem daunting or even appear impossible to carry out.

That is where good time management skills come in.

A manager who possesses the ability to effectively manage time can get many things done in no time.

You will know the value of delegating duties to your team members.

Also, you will take steps to scale assignments based on their relevance and importance, such that the most important ones are effectively carried out.

Optimism and Positivity 

One constant thing to expect at work is challenges and obstacles.

Because of this, sometimes you as a manager might struggle.

Or worse yet, you would have your employees struggling regularly.

When such difficulties arise, it is natural for spirits to be low and motivation to drop.

It is during such bad times or difficult periods that the powers of a manager shine through.

The last thing the team needs at this time is a pessimistic manager.

For you to be seen as a great manager, you need to be optimistic yourself.

This optimism and positivity is one quality that will see you through the deepest storms and keep you going.

Additionally, when a manager is optimistic, he can lift the spirits of the entire team when motivation is at the lowest ebb.

And such a positive mindset can help to get the team back on their feet, ready to face challenges and overcome them.

Good Interpersonal Relationship Skill

This skill is one that every individual needs to have, regardless of your position or work in life.

It takes good interpersonal relationship skills to build lasting bonds and relationships with others, which can get you further ahead in life. And the workplace isn’t an exemption.

Because managing people with diverse interests, personalities, attitudes, and behaviors is not easy, you need to develop this skill to get along.

When you are better able to manage this diversity as a manager, only then can you help your team to also relate well with one another.

How to Be a Great Manager – What You Need to Do 

Developing those skills we’ve mentioned in the preceding section is just the first step on the journey of being a great manager.

For you to be qualified to be called a great manager, involves more than the skills you have.

Certain actions and decisions you make also set you aside from mediocre or poor managers.

In this section, we will see the dos and don’ts of great managers in the workplace, and this can help you join the exclusive group of those top professionals.

Here are some of them:

Listen Attentively to your Employees 

One of the qualities of managers that employees appreciate and desire is the ability to listen attentively and listen well.

Great managers are not all-knowing and are not interested in proving they are.

Instead, they are very open to getting opinions and contributions from their subordinates.

If you want to be a great manager, you need to learn the art of listening.

This can be when employees walk into your office to share their views.

It might also be during team meetings where brainstorming sessions come up or when discussions on problem resolution take place.

A good leader takes the back seat and allows everyone to express themselves, listening attentively.

Doing this will show your employees that you value them and they are more likely to respect you in return and see you as a great manager.

Be Clear About Goals and Expectations 

If you are failing in your role as a manager, the reason is not always down to your capability for this position.

Sometimes, the problem lies in the way you communicate your goals and expectations.

In your mind, you might have the goals imprinted.

But the question is; “Do your team members understand these goals and expectations as well?”.

Unless you are clear about what you expect from your team, both collectively and as individuals, you cannot get results.

And once you start failing to get results, then you are failing in your role as a manager.

To be a great manager, you need to be very direct and clear on what you expect of your employees from the first day.

That would help you direct their efforts effectively and get results.

Give and Collect Feedback 

As already mentioned, open communication is one very important skill of great managers. In order to foster such communication, feedback is essential.

A great manager does not bottle up opinions or contributions that will make the team better.

On the contrary, you are required to always use every opportunity you have to provide feedback for your team, whether positive or negative.

However, just as providing feedback is important, so also is collecting feedback.

On a regular basis, run surveys and other modes of feedback collection with your team.

This will give you insight into areas that might need adjustments in the organization.

And such feedback would in turn help you to make a success of your role as a manager.

Invest Time in Knowing your Employees as Individuals 

One mistake that a lot of managers in organizations today make is treating all employees as an entity without regard for individual differences.

This is wrong on all levels.

And this is in no way kicking against collaboration or unity, as they are all essential to building a winning team.

However, it is also important that a manager invest time and effort to knowing their employees as individuals, to the extent possible.

This would involve paying close attention to each of your employees.

Showing interest in their stories, experiences, and history, as much as they are willing to share.

Understand the strengths and weaknesses of each of your employees.

This would help you display the needed empathy and emotional intelligence in dealing with them.

Delegate Tasks to your Employees

You might feel that you are helping out or doing the best for your employees, but the truth is that no one likes a manager that wants to do everything.

In a similar vein, your employees will also not appreciate you if you micromanage them.

Therefore, make it a goal to freely delegate tasks and assignments to your employees.

Do not try to take on everything by yourself.

Delegation shows that you trust your team.

And this would be reciprocated as your employees will repay the trust shown in them.

Additionally, it can help your team get engaged and improve their job satisfaction. All of these being the main objectives of a great manager.

Lead By Example – How to Be a Great Manager 

“Do as I say and don’t do as I do” has no place with a great manager.

Great managers are leaders by nature, and that means they walk in front and others follow.

Hence, you need to show a sterling example to your employees in all areas, both in behaviors, attitude towards work, communication, e.t.c.,

When you do this, your subordinates are more likely to copy your examples, more than listening to what you ask them to do.

Be Friendly and Approachable 

Many people in positions of oversight and management in the workplace are more about being bosses than they are in being leaders.

In other words, they take the word “boss” too seriously and get bossy.

A lot of these ones are not approachable and think it is taboo to be friends with their employees.

If you have this mindset, you will most likely fail as a manager.

Being bossy or cold might help you get results by way of intimidation, but the results are not long-term.

And it will also not win you a lot of friends.

A great manager is humble and looks for common ground with his employees.

You can spend time with them in social activities outside work hours and also share warm interactive sessions with them.

When you are friendly and approachable as a manager, it doesn’t reduce the respect of your team.

On the contrary, it increases mutual respect and it is one of the hallmarks of great managers.

Own up to Your Mistakes and Take Responsibility

How many times have you heard people in leadership positions admit to making mistakes and say “that was my fault”.

Probably, you sparingly hear this. And that in itself is a problem.

Being a manager doesn’t mean you are above mistakes and in no way makes you a perfect person.

When you understand that you can also do wrong, you need to humbly admit your errors and own up to them.

Instead of blaming your employees when things go wrong all the time, shoulder some blames and take responsibility.

This level of transparency is endearing to employees and marks you as a great manager.

Be Positive and Offer Commendation 

Some work environments are only about negative remarks and criticism, and praise and commendations are lacking.

In such organizations, there is usually low employee morale and productivity.

It is your duty as a manager to make sure this is not the case on your team, by offering positivity and commendation at all times.

Instead of putting too much emphasis on areas where your employees are lacking and need improvements, focus more on recognizing good work.

As you do, be generous with your commendations.

When you do this, it draws people closer to you and you show yourself as a great manager.

Involve Yourself In Employee Development 

A great manager doesn’t just leave the areas of employee personal growth and development to the individuals.

And this is so even though he understands that it is a primary responsibility of the individual.

Rather, a great manager would offer all the necessary support towards employee growth and development.

One of the things you can do to invest in employees’ personal development is training.

You can offer them training from time to time, either to build existing skills or teach them new ones.

Also, when the individual employees take actions that would help them grow professionally, you show you are a great manager by offering your support.

Closing Remarks – How to Be a Great Manager

We could go on and on about the skills that a great manager should possess.

And also the practical measures that one can take to be a great manager.

However, we have broken this down into some of the most important ones.

Whether you are already in a managerial position and want to improve or you are planning to take up such roles in the future, this would help you.

Managing people is not an easy task. However, with the right strategy, we are sure you can be successful in your role and make a great manager.