Written by raisa - 9 Minutes reading time
Characteristics of a good leader: Tips for new managers
Help your team succeed by adopting effective leadership traits.
- Effective leaders set clear expectations for their teams and align them with company objectives.
- Successful managers collaborate, focus on growth and are excellent communicators.
- Avoid poor leadership habits, such as giving feedback only when there’s a problem and micromanaging your team.
- This article is for new managers focused on becoming excellent leaders.
What are the ideal characteristics of good managers?We’ll highlight four primary characteristics of good managers and offer advice from seasoned influencers on how to incorporate these traits into your leadership style.
1. Good managers are collaborative.Creating a collaborative environment where everyone feels heard, respected and valued is a crucial step for new managers. A team that works together creates a welcoming, supportive culture. As a manager, you can encourage a collaborative environment by setting the pace for workplace ethics. According to Summer Salomonsen, former chief learning officer at Grovo, tips for creating a collaborative work environment include delegating tasks, encouraging communication and feedback through regular one-on-one meetings, and prioritising reciprocal trust among the team.
2. Supportive managers are growth-oriented.Good managers should focus on helping their employees progress both individually and collectively. Get to know your workers personally so you can help them leverage their talents. Find what works and what doesn’t, and prioritise identifying and removing obstacles so your employees can perform at their best.
3. Excellent managers know how to communicate.Communication is a driving force behind nearly everything people do, so clear communication is a vital characteristic for supervisors. You should set clear expectations for your employees, be transparent about important topics, and establish guidelines for both giving and receiving feedback.
Did you know?: Communication is key to employee engagement and job satisfaction. It’s crucial to communicate concisely with your team so misunderstandings don’t hinder their work.
4. Good managers motivate their employees to improve.Money isn’t the only incentive that motivates employees. Every worker wants to feel valued. If they don’t believe their work is making a difference in some way, they won’t be motivated. Yaniv Masjedi, marketing personnel at Aura, said new managers should “take some time to get to know each team member’s strengths and where they need extra support. Use assignments as a learning process for you and your team.
Tip: When you’re managing remote teams, proactive communication is crucial. Hold regular meetings and set clear guidelines on what communication methods to use in specific circumstances.
Bad leadership habits every manager should avoidNew managers often fall into bad leadership habits as they take on their new responsibilities. Salomonsen noted six leadership weaknesses to avoid at all costs.
- Providing only negative feedback: Managers can fall into the trap of providing feedback only during performance reviews or when problems arise. Feedback is essential to an employee’s professional development. However, feedback includes praise for specific tasks, not just criticism. When employees experience a carousel of negative – and only negative – feedback, they can become discouraged and thus disengage from their work.
- Micromanaging staff: While you must oversee your team’s workflow and help staff handle roadblocks, you shouldn’t try to control them completely. It’s essential to trust your team to complete tasks as a whole and respect each individuals’ work style. Forcing your workers to perform tasks counter to their typical methods can cause a significant drop in productivity as they adjust. As long as the end result is the same, give your staff room for creativity.
- Not requesting feedback: Poor managers rarely solicit or address questions, feedback and concerns. Good managers offer the floor to team members so they can freely express their questions and concerns. This will often clear up misunderstandings and create a more collaborative space. Keep in mind if one team member has a question, others may need the same guidance.
- Shutting themselves off from new ideas: Closed-minded managers won’t accept criticism or new ideas. They become a roadblock keeping the team from performing at its best. Each team member has their own perspective on the creative process, and is uniquely suited to recognise inefficiencies within their workflow. Listen to your team’s input, and use their perspectives to enact positive change.
- Avoiding tricky conversations: Good managers must tackle challenging situations that affect the team’s productivity head-on. Avoiding these situations lets the problem fester and can cause employee engagement to drop significantly.
- Not setting clear expectations: Bad managers are unclear about team goals and often set expectations too high or low. Instead, managers should establish project expectations before starting so their team understands the end goal. Setting expectations too high can make goals seem unattainable, but going too low can cause the overall performance to fall under key benchmarks.
What strategies should a new manager implement?Several techniques help new managers ensure their team is working optimally. Consider these methods:
- Introduce yourself to team members. When stepping into a new managerial role, it’s essential to introduce yourself to your new team as soon as possible. Meeting everyone allows you to build trust with the group while setting professional expectations for the foreseeable future.
- Set recurring one-on-ones. Regularly checking in with individual team members gives you a chance to provide feedback, praise them for their strengths and address any potential roadblocks. This way, you can discuss any issues regularly and work together to overcome obstacles.
- Align team and company goals. Aligning team goals with the company’s overall objectives helps set your project’s pace. Additionally, when employees know what you expect from them, they’ll have clear professional goals to achieve. These goals can give them a sense of how their work contributes to the company’s success.
- Set measurable benchmarks for team performance. Setting metrics for your team’s performance is good for everyone. Team performance goals can help employees set achievable professional goals. Team goals also give you an easy way to determine when an employee is struggling with their tasks.
- Maintain transparency about company decisions. As a manager, you’re privy to more leadership decisions than your employees. However, keeping these decisions to yourself and changing your team’s workflow without explanation can cause employees to disengage from their work. Instead, be as open and honest as is allowed about company policy shifts. This way, you build trust with your team even if the changes you have to make are difficult.
Did you know?: Your leadership language and word choices are crucial. The right phrasing can be the difference between a positive, high-functioning workplace and a negative environment with high turnover.
How can you grow and develop as a manager?You should never feel lost or unsupported when taking on a new role, especially as a leader. Here are three ways you can learn and grow in your new position.
1. Participate in management training.Every company should offer training before hiring. However, many businesses don’t prioritise management development because of expense or time concerns. Some even reserve these programs only for senior leaders or offer workshops just a few times a year, explained Salomonsen. “These sessions may be rewarding and inspiring, but they rarely make an impact on day-to-day work,” she said. “Moreover, sending every new manager to a management seminar their first week on the job is prohibitively expensive for most companies.” Internal training is another option that’s especially suitable for small businesses.
2. Utilise microlearning methods.Microlearning is a popular training method for small businesses. It’s quick, intensive and collaborative. This way, managers learn all they need to know in short bursts without feeling overwhelmed. “With microlearning, both new and experienced managers can access digestible lessons that focus on the critical behaviours they need to perform their best, right in the course of their day-to-day work,” Salomonsen added. “Done right, a microlearning approach allows managers to quickly put new knowledge into practice, and gradually improve their habits and skills over time.” Microlearning is efficient and far more affordable than extensive training programs.
3. Work with mentors and L&D partners.Working with a mentor or learning and development (L&D) partner can set up new managers for success by providing support and expert knowledge. “Each person is different, and every new manager has their own areas of growth in the early days of their new role,” Salomonsen said. “Whether they need to develop their interpersonal skills, time-management skills, strategic planning skills or leadership approach, they will need support from senior colleagues.
Also published on: businessnewsdaily.com
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