How to be a good manager: The complete guide ✅

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Are you a good Manager? If you ask google, you might find out that a “good manager lets you work, while a bad Manager makes you work”.

This sounds like a walk in the park, but is simply ‘letting your employee work’ enough to make you a good Manager?

Give A Grad A Go interviewed recent graduates in a variety of roles to gather their advice on what makes a good boss.

They have shared their opinions and experiences on what they believe is most important about being a good Manager.

Whether you are wondering how to be a Manager for the first time, how to be a good Manager in retail or simply looking to gain some successful Manager skills, take a look at our top tips below.

So, what makes a good Manager? 



  1. How to become a good Leader and Manager
  2. Full list of qualities of a good Leader and Manager
  3. What makes a good Manager interview question and answer
  4. Is being a Manager worth it?
  5. What makes a good sales manager?
  6. What kind of manager are you quiz

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 don’t always lead them away from your company, and you can find more tips on employee retention tactics.

  • 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


More qualities of a good Manager and Leader

When looking at what makes a good Line Manager or how to be a good Project Manager, it’s firstly a good idea to look at the required qualities to be a good Manager overall.

  • Approachable
  • Good listener
  • Excellent teacher
  • Be inspiring
  • Trust employees
  • Patience
  • Respect employees
  • Be kind
  • Expect excellence
  • Regular communication
  • Deal with conflict fairly
  • Open to change
  • Positive outlook
  • Give recognition
  • Show encouragement
  • Have fun and be engaging


We’re confident that if you follow our top management tips and try to adopt the qualities for a good Manager, you’ll succeed in your role as Manager.

How to answer: What makes a good Manager? Interview question

Example answer:

“A good Manager should be clear at communicating, with regular check-ins, and provide direction for the team. They should develop and train team members, providing constructive feedback and encouragement for good work.

It’s important for Managers to be very organised and efficient in delegating tasks and activities to other team members. A good manager will be also able to solve any problems that arise and show good judgment to enable the team to trust and respect them.”


Is being a Manager worth it?

The short answer, yes! Although it’s not for everyone.

Being a Manager can be very rewarding, particularly when your team respects and appreciates you, but there are certain qualities of a good business Manager that not everyone is able to get right, and in some cases, individuals simply dislike Managing other people and that’s fine too.

The obvious next step in your career might be to move up to Management level, perhaps because you’re ready for your next challenge, or perhaps you’re looking for an increase in salary.

But before making your own decision on whether being a Manager is worth it, It’s important to learn how to be a team manager efficiently, to ensure you think it is the right role for you personally and before taking that next step in your career.

Once you reach a Management position, you’ll need to continue to learn new tips for being a better manager so that you can keep evolving, there’s always room for improvement!

Not only will your team benefit from this, but you’ll also get more fulfillment out of your Management role.

How to be a good Manager in sales?

What makes a good Manager and Leader can differ depending on the type of Manager you are.

For example the most important qualities of a good Project Manager might vary to the qualities of a good Social Work Manager.

For successful sales team Management, read our tips for being a good manager in sales:

  1. Set realistic but high achieving targets.
  2. Give encouragement and maintain a positive outlook.
  3. Give recognition for hard work and great results.
  4. Inspire your team and lead by example.
  5. Give feedback often to avoid bad habits.
  6. Build new relationships and nuture existing ones.
  7. Understand what motivates each team member.
  8. Continue to train and evolve with your team.


Use these same Management coaching tips for other Sales Management roles, for example if you’re wondering how to be a good Recruitment Manager, if you’re curious about what makes a good Account Manager.

What kind of manager are you? Am I a good Manager quiz:

We hope you enjoyed our tips on how to be a good Manager! Looking to Hire Graduates for your business? We are the UK’s Graduate Recruitment experts.

For more information on what makes staff happy at work, to discuss employee engagement, or find out more about our services contact us today.

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