What Makes a Good Manager? 5 Tips For Promoting For Success

what makes a good manager

Have you ever wondered how someone at your company ever became a manager? What is it about that person that made them stand out more than other, more qualified candidates?

Judging from the number of books, papers, and articles written on the topic, you’re not alone.

There are many reasons why so many managers never pan out in the American corporate landscape. Most companies promote based on individual performance; those who work hard get rewarded.  But, this is often an ineffective way of promoting individuals.

We may value hard work and achievement above anything else, but those skills don’t necessarily mean they know how to lead others to be successful.

So, what qualities make a good manager? And how can your organization qualify and support the right people for the job?

Here are 5 tips for finding the right management fit:

1. Find out what their goals are

Not everyone has aspirations for management, and others want to become managers for the wrong reasons. Ask your team who might want to take on those responsibilities. Then, give them a few tasks to see what their real potential is. Natural management skills are not so easy to detect, so you may be surprised to find how their additional responsibilities are handled.

If they excel in those tasks, give more and more gradually. Be sure it doesn’t overburden them while they have to do their regular job, as burnout is a risk.

2. Follow a process

Most corporations don’t have a set process of how leaders are groomed and then promoted. They choose the best ground level employees and reward their successes with a promotion. They think their work ethic will just flow over to their subordinates and everyone below them will follow the behaviors of that individual.

This is rarely the case. Many times these future leaders are not trained in how to effectively oversee a team, and it leads to conflict.

Ensure that you have a process in place to groom your employees to become better managers. This training will help prepare them for success, and cause less friction down the line.

3. Involve them in team building activities

By taking your team on a field trip and run some team building activities, you can often see those have natural abilities to lead others from the way they handle these. Look for those who are not just leading, but nurturing others and encouraging them to do better. These types tend to be the best leaders. Getting people out of their natural settings is a good way to observe their natural behaviors while giving your team a break from their daily routine.

4. How do they handle crisis

When things go wrong in your organization, who can step up and handle the pressure? One key trait of a good leader is to see how well they handle crisis. Many managers spend too much time trying to figure out who to blame or what caused the problem rather than solving it in an effective way. You want a person who can handle stress well.

5. Know when to look outside of your team

There is no perfect science for finding the right managers. In some cases, there might not even be an ideal candidate on the team. It might be best to bring in someone from outside the organization to help manage it. It’s easy to think that the process is personalized that you need someone from the inside or your processes are too complex to bring in a new person to manage. Though, if your process is too complex, it may be a reason in itself to get an outside opinion.

Finding the perfect manager isn’t an exact science, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some logical steps in the process. It’s important to be open with everyone and let them know when a management opportunity is open. When a manager is selected, it’s important to let everyone know why they were selected and work with the team in their transition. Following these steps will help you promote the right managers and set them up for success.

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Arthur Kim