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How to Be a Good Manager: 5 Things You (and Your Company) Should Know

For most of us, career growth usually means we'll become a people manager some day. “If I keep moving forward, eventually I’ll have to manage a team” – you might think. This is a fairly common direction to take but being responsible for others is a different skill set from the one you use to do your own job.

Learning how to be a good manager is something that only 30% of managers come to "naturally" on their own. For the rest of us, it takes a little more structure, but the good news is that another 30% of us should be able to learn how to be a good manager with a little guidance (check out the full infographic if you want to more facts and data on people management). Start with these 5 tips for becoming the best manager you can be.

As we also mentioned in this other infographic, there’s a gap between how much HR executives consider leadership development to be an important issue in their organizations, and how well they’re being able to deal with this challenge.

So if a completely different skill set is required to take on a people management position, this could explain why new leaders typically need 18 months to feel comfortable in a new role – they have to learn the people management basics from scratch! Read on for 8 secrets of growing your existing employees into successful people managers when the time is right. 

For companies, the lesson is clear: provide your people with tools that help them learn to manage others, and ensure your new leaders will be effective in no time. Onboarding new people managers to their new roles is just as important as onboarding any newcomer to the organization. Failing to do so might really hurt the business, if the transition to people manager isn't smooth. You don't want to risk losing a great individual contributor because they become a dissatisfied and disengaged manager.

And if you’re about to take on this challenge yourself… we’d like to give you a few tips on how to be a good manager!

1. Be transformational

Or at least that should be your goal. If you aim to be transformational, instead of aiming to be liked, you’ll be more effective. When you solve problems for the company, not just for you or your team, you’ll help them grow professionally, even if that means making some unpopular decisions.

2. Don’t worry if your team doesn’t need you

For a first time manager it can be a scary realization that the very people he’s supposed to manage are perfectly capable of managing themselves! Don’t worry: that just means you have a great team and that you’re hiring right. Take advantage of this and focus on further developing the amazing team you’ve already got.

3. Coaches don’t couch

This one might seem obvious, but it's one of the hardest tips to put in action: don’t hold back hard feedback. It is important to tell it like it is, but it’s also essential to do so when you’ve already got their trust. When you team trusts you, your feedback – however hard it may be to hear – will be respected.

4. Meetings really are important

If meetings must happen, and everyone on the team needs to invest the time to be there, so do you. Always be prepared for meetings, instead of only showing up. The responsibility of a great meeting sits largely in the hands of the manager, so really consider the time set aside for meetings and make it productive!

5. Don’t approach everyone the same way

For an optimal relationship with your team, you have to understand that you can’t approach everyone the same way. Make an effort to understand what motivates and discourages each one of your team members. This way you’ll be able to play to their strengths and adapt feedback in a way that works for each of them.


These are only a few tips from people who have been down this same path and were able to become great managers. In the end, you’ll end up making mistakes anyway but will learn from them – hopefully! We are sure that if you follow these tips on how to be a good manager, you'll do a great job and get there even faster. ;)

Topics: HR
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