What makes an effective manager?

By Robert Half on 25th October 2022

What makes a strong manager? It is important to explore the knowledge and skills required to be an effective manager. After all, ground-level employees hold a lot of responsibility in terms of a business' overall success.

Knowledge and experience in people management is vital if employees are to work to optimum levels each day - remember happy staff members tend to be more hard working and loyal to their organisation.

So, if you are working in a managerial position, what should you be doing to encourage the best possible performance from your team? Here is our list of top behaviours and characteristics for effective people management:

Understand the value of employees

First of all, managers need to appreciate the role employees play in an organisation and the contribution they make to the overall success of a business. If they underestimate the effort put in by staff members - and the value they add - this can impact on the way they handle individuals.

Employees should be viewed as a valuable asset to be nurtured and protected, not merely exploited for short-term gain.

Related: Speak your mind: why we should all embrace diverse team opinions

Express gratitude as a manager

Managers should show their appreciation for a job well done. Where possible they should provide positive feedback to workers, but a simple 'thank you' can also make all the difference to many employees.

Expressing gratitude can help develop loyalty and ensure workers are willing to invest maximum time and effort each day.

Communicate clearly

Employees need to understand what is expected of them, for any individual task on any given day. This means clear communication with workers to ensure they know what they are meant to be doing. Managers should be equally comfortable talking one-on-one, or in front of their team as a whole.

Listen to employees effectively

It is also important to make time for employees so you can listen to what they have to say. Often this will be about work matters, but not always. Sometimes, staff members simply need to let off steam or have somebody to confide in about a particular issue.

Related: Seven strategies to elevate your management communication skills

Make decisions

Being decisive an important part of being an effective manager. A team of employees is ready to follow your lead, but they need to be given direction. If you are incapable of making a decision and communicating this clearly to your staff members, everyone could find themselves left in limbo.

Trust your team to achieve

Good managers are effective delegators - and this works on two levels. They have the ability to distribute tasks to free up time in their own working day for people management, and they also trust workers to handle important tasks.

If employees feel they are being supported to achieve, there is an added incentive to ensure they do a good job. With professional pride a factor, they may wish to prove to their boss was right to trust them.

Give employees freedom

Micro-managers tend to alienate employees very quickly - it is important to give workers space to develop and to find solutions to the challenges they face. Employees do not want to feel like robots - it is important that they can make decisions relating to their own workload where appropriate.

Resolve conflicts between team members

Sometimes it is necessary for managers to be a good mediator, particularly if two members of the team have fallen out or just cannot see eye to eye. For the sake of overall performance and productivity, it is important to resolve such situations quickly and effectively before they spiral out of control.

Related: 3 signs of low staff morale and how to counteract them

Be helpful to employees

Saying thank you to employees is one thing, but employers should also look to express gratitude for a job well done through their actions. Taking the time to complete tasks which help workers can boost their morale and also ensure they view their manager in a positive light. Doing so without prompting can be especially beneficial, as this shows the worker that their needs are being considered.

Related: Leading diverse teams: 8 tips for cross-cultural management

Be honest

Being open and transparent is part of setting a good example. If employees believe they are being misled, or information is being withheld, this may lead to a breakdown of trust and can undermine the employer/employee relationship.

Be a high achiever

In order for employees to buy into what their manager is saying, and trust their judgement, they need to respect them professionally. This means being a proven performer - somebody with the skills and knowledge required to do the job. If a manager has graduated from the role employees are working in, this demonstrates their capability and should help them gain the backing of their team.


For more management advice you can read more here, or alternatively you can contact one of our experts today.

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