5 Key Behaviors Demonstrated by Good Managers That Lead to Success

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Using research and information referred to in Harvard Business Review and other journals, this feature aims to understand better management practices that make organizations successful. Additionally, it also takes a look at some key behaviours that are demonstrated by good managers and advocated by highly successful companies as hallmarks of better management.

A good manager:

    1. Is a Good Coach – In many organizations, the role of the manager is limited to assigning tasks, taking status updates on weekly progress and delivering performance reviews. It is common to hear the phrase “you don’t require any coaching” from managers when they are dealing with experienced members on their team. The truth, however, is that every individual in the company, right to the level of the CEO requires coaching and feedback. Just like a super-athlete or sportsmen cannot become great without a good coach similarly a talented individual cannot become a great performer without the support of a manager who truly wants his team members to realize their true potential.
  1. Empowers the team and does not micromanage – Most statistics about the workplace indicate that the biggest reason people leave their jobs is that they don’t get along with their bosses. Managers who micromanage are particularly despised because smart people like to solve problems on their own. Apart from not indulging in micro-management, a good manager is one who also empowers their team, gives them opportunities to gain influence through their work and shares credit for team wins.
  2. Expresses interest in and concern for team members’ success and personal well being – This ties in with points 1 and 2. A good manager is one who believes that you should be at work only when you are well and in good health. Furthermore, he sees his success in your success, similar to a good coach who feels elated when his disciple wins a medal or breaks a record.
  3. Is Productive and Results oriented – The phrase “leading by example” applies aptly to leaders. But it also applies to good managers. Great talent has high bars on people whom they admire and idolize. To command such employees one needs to walk the talk at all times. Managers who fail to do so start losing respect in the eyes of their team and that’s when things begin to start falling apart.
  4. Is a good communicator and shares information – Sharing information and breaking boundaries is the hallmark of great companies and not just great managers. If your manager is busy attending a lot of meetings in a month but hardly shares any updates every once in a while then its a cause for concern. Good employees are expected to be involved in continuously improving the company, but in order for them to do so they have to be made a part of the family. Just like how good relationships are based on transparency between members of the family, successful companies are formed around cultures of openness and sharing.

The last two qualities point to the manager helping his team with their career development goals and outlining a clear vision and strategy for his team. These traits are an intrinsic part of the work environment at Google where managers who showcase the above qualities are rewarded and recognized.

Today, there exist a number of organizations who have adopted the Google way in the design of their organizations. Interestingly, ex-Googlers also known as Xooglers hold important positions in these companies. Famous names include Facebook (Sheryl Sandberg), Twitter (Dick Costolo), AOL (Tim Armstrong), Foursquare (Dennis Crowley) and Pinterest (Ben Silbermann) amongst many others.

How would you define better management? In your opinion what are the key traits of a good manager? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

Note: This article references published work by HBR in the studies “What Really Works” and “How Google Sold Its Engineers on Management“.

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