How to be a good manager: The complete guide ✅
How to become a good Manager and Leader
The first of our tips on being a good Manager is the importance of being approachable to your employee on both a professional and personal level.
On a personal level, being approachable and developing a level of trust with your employee will give you successful Manager skills.
Research has shown that 14.7% of people experience mental health problems in the workplace, and evidence suggests that 12.7% of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions.
“A good Manager respects you on a personal level so you don’t feel afraid to let them know if something’s going on in your personal life that may affect a standard of work” – Alex, 24, Legal Executive
“Being approachable makes life so much easier when you know you can talk to your Manager about issues (both work ones and personal ones)” – Adeva, 24, Graduate Procurement Manager
“Someone who doesn’t understand or appreciate a work/ life balance is what makes a bad Manager” – Lewis, 25, Talent Acquisition
Check out our blog “managing mental health in the work place” for more information.
Starting by thinking of small gestures you can employ in the workplace, is a quick and easy way to become a good Manager, especially if you are wondering how to be a good Manager for the first time.
Some good Manager’s examples are simple things such as acknowledging employee’s hard efforts with a snack or treat, a thank you note, or an early finish.
“I think my Manager knows what makes a good boss. He’s very empathetic, when we have had a really busy week/period, to show he’s appreciative he’ll say we can leave the office at 12 on a Friday to reward us. It’s a small gesture but makes such a difference” – Lizzie, 25, Graduate Sales Executive
“Small gestures go a long way with being a good Manager” – James, 22, Events Executive
Some other examples of small gestures and ways to be a better Manager include:
- Ask about their friends and family
- Show interest in employee’s hobbies
- Giving them recognition to higher management, or emailing the wider business about something they’ve achieved
- ‘Get well soon’ card or a simple text message for employees on sick leave
- Look at opportunities for them to grow, and share these ideas
- Birthday gift or treat
- Always remember to say ‘thank you’
- Make staff a cup of tea!
- Compliment employees (although stay professional!)
- If they have got a lot of work on, offer to pick something up for them
When we asked graduates ‘what makes a good boss’, one thing that was flagged repeatedly as a successful Manager skill is; listening.
Having regular catch ups, scheduled 1 to 1’s, and giving your employee the opportunity to share their ideas and goals with you will make you a great Manager.
“Taking time to have regular catch up’s one on one to ensure the individual has a chance to talk about their weekly development, what they’re working on and how they feel about the upcoming week” – Chloe, 22, Graduate Marketing Executive
“Weekly 1:1’s where your Manager can help you track and achieve your career goals. Good Managers want to see you flourish” – Alisha, 21, Brand Ambassador
A good Manager will be dedicated to developing their employees professionally and will place importance on their personal goals and growth.
Examples of good management here may be making an effort to expose your employee to different areas of the business or enrol you on training courses.
“What makes a good Managers is when someone takes the time to understand what you want to get out of your role” – Lewis, 25, Talent Acquisition
Meanwhile, what makes a bad Manager is “not following through on plans such as promising courses or training and then not allowing the employee to develop” – Meg, 23, Graduate Legal Executive
“Not taking time to engage and improve the development of the people you’re managing. My buying Manager involves me in her purchases and asks for my opinion even though I have less experience” – Abi, 22, Graduate Buyer
An employee’s growth and progression does not always lead them away from your company, and you can find more tips on employee retention here.
Micromanaging is the word that will send shivers down your employee’s spine. Trusting your employees and supporting their decisions is an example of a good Manager.
“A good Manager trusts you and supports the decisions you make, even if you’re not sure yourself. Encouraging you to trial and error is what makes a good boss” – Adeva, 24, Graduate Procurement Manager
“I had a bad experience with my last Manager when she’d micromanage to the 10th degree. Setting weekly goals was a good way to make her aware of what I was working on and regroup at the end of the week” – Bailey, 22, Account Manager
“The best tip if you want to know how to be a good Line Manager for the first time – please don’t micromanage!” – Meg, 23, Graduate Legal Executive
Although it may be unintentional, belittling an employee is a common example of what makes a bad Manager.
The definition of a good Manager is someone who treats their colleague as an equal.
“I find quite often with entry level, they do act as if you are entry level and I don’t think they should. You should be treated with the same respect based on your experience. Sometimes you can be treated against the role that you’re currently at, rather than being offered opportunities to grow e.g. with Manager meetings, letting you sit in and gain experience in higher role meetings is beneficial to me. I’m capable of understanding stuff everyone else is doing” – Tom, 23, Financial Executive
“Being seen as just a ‘newbie’ instead of an under-developed colleague can be very isolating.” – Adeva, 24, Graduate Procurement Manager