What Makes a Good Manager and How To Become One

What makes a good manager & how to become one

We tend to confuse a good manager with a leader, but there are many differences. A leader prioritizes the development, growth and well-being of team members. While a manager may be responsible for delegating work and managing time.

Good leaders are able to do both and effectively harness the abilities of each employee to build a successful business.

Deborah Sweeney, vice president and general manager of business acquisitions at Deluxe Corp, says good managers do this by using their emotional intelligence and soft skills.

“Traditionally, we have been taught to believe that the person with the highest IQ in the room is the smartest,” Sweeney said. “However, there is growing evidence from science that people with emotional intelligence and its four core competencies – which include self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management – are actually the most successful in any business.”

What makes a good manager?

Team management is a complex and multi-faceted art. Managing is a difficult role, which is learned over time, but which is at the heart of the human development of an organization.

To become a good manager, it is crucial to have certain qualities and avoid some mistakes to lead by example and manage the team effectively.

Can anyone work well as a manager? Let’s assume that a good manager is someone we like to work for. A good manager is one who motivates us to show up to work because we are convinced that we will be recognized, understood, encouraged, respected…. in a structured environment. However, becoming popular with your team is not the primary goal of a good manager.

To be a good leader, you must lead your team to the top, to triumph, and to a shared victory in which each person is recognized for their individual contribution.

And there is no magic formula for being a good manager. It’s a careful blend of:

  • Skills: leading, listening, synthesizing, organizing, communicating, making decisions, delegating, prioritizing, managing emotions, controlling, motivating, etc.
  • Behaviors: being exemplary, managing one’s team, taking risks, assuming the organization’s decisions, etc.
  • Experiences: the diversity of experiences, situations and teams encountered, etc.

What are the qualities of a good manager?

It takes discipline and even art to lead a team. You can inspire your teammates, make a useful statement, and ultimately gain legitimacy if you prepare yourself for this important task.

Managing a team is an art in itself, one that is cultivated through years of experience. If you are preparing to take on this great responsibility, certain qualities will help you motivate your teams, assert yourself in a benevolent manner, and ultimately gain legitimacy.

Empathy and emotional intelligence

Being a good manager means being in charge of the individual and collective well-being of your employees. Consequently, an employee who feels uncomfortable with his team manager, who finds him cold, directive, or even “heartless”, risks becoming disengaged and unmotivated.

To avoid falling into this toxicity, and to create a thriving environment and atmosphere within the team, a good manager must set an example and demonstrate kindness, empathy and emotional intelligence.

→What does this mean in practical terms?

To be empathetic is to pay attention to and understand the feelings of others. In other words, emotional intelligence and empathy are closely associated. Being able to recognize and understand your own feelings as well as those of others is, in fact, a sign of emotional intelligence.

Let’s take Nadia’s example at the end of each month. When she prepares the payroll, she is afraid of making mistakes. As a result, she speaks rudely to her colleagues, gets impatient and angry, and communicates her stress to her team manager and colleagues.

The manager shows emotional intelligence by being aware of the stress he and Nadia are under. He can then take control of the situation by managing his stress and by trying not to transfer it to his colleagues,teams….the manager can talk with Nadia to find a solution (for example, by directing her to a training course to learn how to better manage her stress and gain confidence).


A good manager must be flexible and open-minded! He does not always have the whole truth or all the answers, whether in his private life or in the professional world. Being open-minded means listening to ideas that differ from your own without dismissing them out of hand.

On the contrary, a good manager considers them before making a choice. He also knows how to question himself and develop his sense of curiosity by keeping an eye on what is happening in his team and in his field of expertise.

In short, open-mindedness is the ability to welcome change and difference as long as they allow employees to grow and improve the company’s activity and performance!

In short, being open-minded means having the ability to welcome change!

Have a vision and unite your team

“We don’t know what he expects of us”, “I don’t understand anything, his demands are not at all clear, have you understood anything?”, “ehhhh … I am really lost! Here are some examples of sentences that show a lack of vision on the part of the manager.

You want to have a dynamic and motivated team but your employees don’t know which direction to go?

A good manager has a clear and well-defined vision for his team. A vision that is consistent with the company’s mission and objectives, which he or she will have made his or her own.

It is therefore his responsibility to assess the dynamics and personalities of his team, to set objectives for each department, and to motivate and encourage his employees to work together.

By improving this skill, you will be able to improve your team’s performance.


Without a doubt, this is the trait that all companies value and that excellent managers must possess. For some people it is a given, for others it is a skill that must be learned and worked on.

A good leader is the one who reassures his teams, it is also a leader who helps them to grow, to improve, to want to do better, to inspire his team without using the abuse of authority, that’s how the word leadership takes all its meaning.

A good manager is a good leader who has the ability to be respected effortlessly through his dynamism. In this case, the latter must be able to set an example, have a humorous tone, be organized, always on time… a true role model for his group.

Stress management

Managers are often confronted with difficult circumstances and stressful situations. However, every good manager must have a good command of stress. They must be able to handle conflicts, crises and emergencies with composure, hope and confidence.

However, a manager who allows himself to be carried away by stress and worry risks affecting his employees by his emotions and jeopardizing their efficiency and commitment.


The proximity manager of a company has to work with a wide range of people with extremely varied personalities, ages and talents.

As a result, he or she must adapt his or her management to the profiles as well as to the context (conflict, crisis management, profound transformation, change of leader, etc.). This is what we call situational management.

Therefore, adaptability is one of the most important soft skills in management in order to effectively lead a team in any situation.

The ability to delegate

It can sometimes be difficult for many managers to delegate specific tasks. Yet it is necessary to develop and strengthen autonomy and empower teams. It is therefore important to know how to delegate responsibilities to others based on their talents and skills.

This is especially true for managers of managers who need to maintain a strategic posture when off-site.

It is also crucial to use participative management to bring out the intelligence of the group when dealing with specific issues.

How to be a good manager?

Work with your team, not over them

Even if you’re used to being in complete control of your workload, becoming a boss will require you to give up some of that power and hand over some tasks and responsibilities to others, according to Ora Shtull, an International Coach Federation-certified executive coach.

“If you don’t break the addiction to doing everything, you won’t have the ability to move forward and do more important things,” she said. “Letting go involves delegating. But it’s important to note that delegating doesn’t mean deserting the team or sacrificing responsibility.”

As a manager, you certainly have responsibilities that differ from your team members, yet you still have to get your hands dirty. Likewise, you need to involve your team in the decision-making processes. According to Kimble’s Boss Barometer report, 74% of U.S. workers surveyed prefer a collaborative work culture to one where the boss makes most of the decisions.

Get to know your employees

Each employee has unique talents, weaknesses and learning styles. It is your responsibility as a manager to understand each employee’s traits in order to lead them effectively and foster a good boss-employee relationship. You can do this by monitoring the work they are doing, but regularly asking direct questions also provides insight.

The Harvard Business Review suggests using the following question “What was the best day you spent at work in the last three months?”

to prompt the employee to think about what assignments and projects they enjoy working on. You can then modify the way you assign/delegate tasks based on their answers to get the best results.

What was the worst day you had at work in the last three months is a question you can also ask in reverse. This type of discussion helps you identify problems so you can address them.

Create a positive and inclusive work environment

The example you set in your office can have a huge impact on the success of your organization. It’s important to create a positive and fun work environment where team members feel included, valued and respected. A happy employee is a more productive employee. You can create a diverse and inclusive work culture by modeling positive behavior on a daily basis, as well as by implementing occasional team-building activities.

You should frequently recognize your team’s accomplishments (even the small ones). Good managers recognize their employees and show their appreciation whenever possible. People want to feel appreciated and have their efforts noticed. Praising them for a job well done motivates them to keep working hard.

“In short, great bosses often take the time to praise others and promote the positives, rather than dwell on shortcomings and mistakes,” said Ms.Ora Shtull.

Praise can improve team morale and create a positive work culture. Employees can begin to lose interest in their work if you neglect to give them positive, appreciative feedback. Leah de Souza, communication coach and managing director of Trainmar Consulting, suggests team-spirit reinforcement exercises and organizing team-building, in addition to daily recognition.

“Set aside time for team bonding – the pure fun – and team celebration – the reward for a significant team achievement,” she says.

Each of these team activities is essential to the harmony of the group and the element of fun in the team. It is important to gather feedback on the ideas, as what is fun may differ culturally and from team to team.

Ask your team what types of recognition they prefer and how often they want team events to occur. These events can be work-related, volunteer-related, or just plain fun, but you need to make sure that each one is welcoming and acceptable to your workplace.

Communicate goals, expectations and feedback

Successfully setting goals and defining expectations for team members is one of the most critical aspects of team management. For their teams, managers should focus on setting SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound) goals. According to De Souza, goals set at the organizational level should also be translated into departmental and individual goals.

All goals set within the organization must have a clear link between them, she stressed. “Goals should be set in coordination with all team members.

Good managers are upfront with their team members about their expectations after setting goals. De Souza advises holding goal reviews. To ensure that team members are satisfied and feel energized by their responsibilities, you can confer with them periodically. However, communication is a two-way street; you need to listen as much as you talk.

Leaders who don’t listen will always be surrounded by those who have nothing to contribute, according to Shtull. “In addition to relinquishing control of all work, as a boss you will also need to break the addiction to being right all the time. Never advocate only your own point of view. Your team members won’t want to share their ideas if your own ideas seem fixed.

Beyond all our advice, the most important thing is to give meaning to your work every day. You must create a dynamic between the different people in your team and make a group of people into a coherent whole that develops within a healthy framework.

You are not born as a good manager, you become one. Learn the art of balancing, a subtle balance between authority and flexibility!

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