Talent or Tenure? What Makes a Great Manager?

Managing employees involves more than assigning tasks and scheduling meetings. It takes strong leadership skills and the ability to bring out individual strengths in the staff. Business owners often ask: What makes a great manager? Is it the number of years of on the job or is it just natural talent? Read on to find out how to determine the best person for the job.

What Happens When You Hire the Wrong Manager?

Picture this: a bored team going through the motions day in and day out, completing their tasks with complete mediocrity just to tackle the next project with the same apathy. While this situation may arise from an inadequate employee-organization fit, it often occurs due to subpar management. The wrong manager can do more than foster lost, unhappy employees; they can prevent the organization from reaching its full potential.

What Makes a Great Manager?

On the flip side, a passionate, knowledgeable manager who understands not just the needs of the business, but the various needs and work styles of each employee, can bring out the best in your workforce and catapult your business to new heights. The result is often high profitability, high employee satisfaction and loyalty, and high innovation - all important markers of success.

The Challenge of Finding Great Managers

While years of experience may speak to managerial talent, tenure alone doesn't make a great manager. An alarming number of businesses hire managers based solely on tenure, assuming that they know what they're doing. While poor management goes unnoticed, businesses often mistakenly admonish or even let valuable employees go for less than stellar performance. Over time, this can lead to low employee morale, high turnover, poor growth and profitability, and a negative public image.

Qualities of a Great Manager

Would you rather have an experienced manager or a manager in tune with and able to bring out the best in your employees? While experience and managerial efficacy aren't mutually exclusive, experience alone reveals very little about a manager's true ability. Below are a few key traits that separate exceptional managers from unacceptable ones:

  • They define clear goals and objectives and motivate each employee to give their best effort.
  • They take responsibility, admit mistakes, and work alongside employees to overcome challenges.
  • They are accessible, transparent, and trusted by employees.
  • They match employee needs and talents to the right projects.
  • They provide clear, detailed feedback on opportunities for employees to learn and grow.
  • They make decisions to promote business success and shun office politics.
  • While finding a manager with all of these traits is highly unlikely, taking the time to interview candidates carefully and hiring based on talent rather than tenure can propel your business to new levels of productivity and employee engagement while saving it from disaster.

    Great Employees Often Make Great Managers

    Great managers may be right in front of you. Employees who consistently perform at their best, ask questions, and learn from others throughout the organization may be gems waiting to be discovered. By staying in tune with each team and getting to know your employees individually, you may be able to find a great manager without spending time and money on for hire ads and interviews.

    Regardless of where you find them, great managers are the most significant influencers of employee performance and the overall health of your business. It's your responsibility to take time to select the right one.

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