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Top Four Traits of a Good Manager
2011, Q4 (January 25, 2012)
By Christina Eftekhar, Carolina Communique Copyeditor

Christina Eftekhar
Christina Eftekhar, copyeditor
If you've never had a boss that made you crazy, consider yourself one of the lucky few. A bad relationship with a manager can be one of the top reasons — or the only reason — for leaving a job.

With one of the most depressed markets in years, many of us are learning to deal with ineffective leaders. To counteract all the negative information out there, I wanted to provide a more positive approach to improving the employee-manager relationship.

Good Managers Lead by Example

Many books have been written on the topic of leadership, so to summarize without being trite, effective managers show enthusiasm and foster positivity. If a manager is unenthusiastic about a task, how likely are his employees to become motivated?

The best boss I ever had challenged me, inspired me, and supported me.

Managers leading by example embody a collaborative and teamwork attitude. They don't focus on the hierarchy of the workplace. Instead of a my-way-because-I'm-the-boss reasoning, they realize that there is work to be done and everyone has a part to play. They also realize that their part will probably be mostly supportive by providing the right resources to help everyone do their parts.

Good Managers Communicate

Good managers know their employees and how to communicate with them effectively. I once had a boss who would send me emails with just an attachment and his signature block. Without fail, it was up to me to drag out his requirements and expectations. He thought he was showing confidence in my abilities…to read minds, maybe. Good managers know that for employees to do their jobs well, they need the basics (expectations and due dates), but also the bigger picture -– why this task matters to the team, department, and company.

Good Managers Want You to Succeed

The best boss I've had continually put me in positions for success. He challenged me, inspired me, and supported me, especially with the most daunting of tasks. He saw in me what I couldn't see in myself, and eventually I learned to be more confident. Every good manager should strive to see the same results in all their employees without worrying about being usurped.

Managers who act in their employees’ best interest have genuine empathy, show concern, and really listen. They also act as more coach and mentor than boss. They convey trust and openness and therefore have better relationships with their employees. If you felt like you couldn't talk to your boss openly without reproach, you may have masked important issues out of fear.

Good Managers Recognize and Reward

Managers who want to raise you up will also celebrate your successes and reward you appropriately. This reward may not always be what you expect or desire, but it's a great feeling to know your efforts are being noticed. I once spent six arduous months finishing a project, fearing it was all for naught, but, happily, I was recognized and rewarded.

My very wise mentor once said, "Your job is to make your manager look good, and her job is to help you do that." If your boss isn't helping you keep up your end of the bargain, it's time to salvage the relationship. Start by clearing the way for honest communication and feedback. You may realize you have to adjust your attitude!

If you don't recognize any of the above traits in your current boss and you've done all you can to make your relationship better, it may be time to ramp up your job search and learn new skills to make yourself more employable when the time is right.

Christina Eftekhar can be reached at c dot s dot eftekhar at gmail dot com. End of article.

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