We’ve talked before about what to do when you think it’s time to quit your job and even how to handle difficult managers, but what about being a manager yourself? 

I was asked recently where I wanted to be in five years and my answer was “Managing a team.”   It would be so rewarding, I think, to focus strategically on a company’s business while helping a team accomplish both the company’s and their own personal development goals.

But wanting to be a good manager – and actually being one are two very different things.  Whether you’re new to the world of management – or a veteran in the field – here are some of our top tips for being a great manager from day one – the kind of manager your employees love to have:

  • Be a Mentor – Part of your job as a manager is developing the careers of the people who report to you. Help each of your direct reports improve their skills, even the exceptional ones.  Take the time to learn how each of your team members likes to communicate, what motivates them to succeed and what their career aspirations look like long-term.
  • Act Quickly – Conflicts on your team will arise, and they must be dealt with right away, fairly and transparently.   Leave them alone and they will get worse, without fail.
  • Don’t Leave Anyone Behind – Someone on your team made a big mistake.  It’s going to be awfully hard – maybe impossible – for them to make it right on their own. They need your guidance and your confidence in them to recover.   Even if the problem is not resolved, your relationship with and respect from your subordinate will not be tarnished.
  • Be Proud of Your Team – And let them know it!  Always give praise to your team, and it’s individual members, in a public forum if possible.  Never claim success as a result of your leadership.
  • Be Approachable – If your team admires your acumen, they want to talk to you, ask you questions and get your feedback.  Make it easy for them to do so. It makes them feel respected and like they can make a difference.

Over the years, I have had some great bosses who helped me grow, and some who couldn’t overcome a lack of confidence in their own abilities to mentor a subordinate.  As for me, I would definitely like to be the former when given the opportunity!

Wendy Stackhouse
, Consultant for Artisan Creative