The 2011 World Series clearly presented the differences between good and great managers. For every move Tony LaRussa made, Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington had no answer. The stark differences in management skills between good and great managers are also readily apparent in the workplace. Legendary leadership guru Peter Drucker created several theories based on observation that defined great management skills.
The Drucker Way on How to Be a Great Manager
Drucker passed away in 2005, but his legacy endures in defining how to be a great manager. He maintained throughout his career and within the voluminous books that he wrote that leadership comprises only one-albeit, and important one-component of great management skills. Drucker never over-analyzed what made great managers. He predicted his theories on the axiom that successful managers demonstrated the professional skills to do things the right way.
Employees feed off the energy and enthusiasm that great managers bring every day to the workplace. Great managers possess a genuine energy that helps them lead the way towards exceeding organizational goals. Managers that exhibit fake bravado alienate employees since most employees see right through phony management behavior. The best way to lose your team is by demonstrating fake attributes.
You can’t fake energy in the workplace.
Lead By Example
Another way to lose your team is by living by the creed “Do as I say, not as I do.” Employees demand that their managers lead the way by exhibiting honesty and trustworthiness, not simply preaching the importance of honesty in the workplace. A strong moral character that leads by example sets the foundation on how to be a great manager. Another trait to lead by example involves leading with humility. Humble managers earn employee loyalty.
By definition, managers earn their titles by mastering all of the business skills but never becoming the master of a specific business skill. However, this does not mean managers can’t develop the skills of employees that express the desire to grow professionally. Taking advantage of teaching moments motivates employees to work harder. Employment studies repeatedly link morale to employment development, as employees want to learn new skills.
Consistency Breeds Satisfaction
How to be a great manager means implementing company policies fairly and consistently. For example, great managers apply the same reprimand to two employees that arrive late to work, despite the fact that one of the employees stayed late the night before to finish a project. Playing favorites lowers employee morale faster than almost any other type of morale factor.
The Buck Stops Here
Harry Truman made the saying famous by placing a “The Buck Stops Here” nameplate on his Oval Office desk. In non-technical language, “The Buck Stops Here” equals accountability, an attribute that many managers fail to develop. Great managers develop the level of trust required to run a well-oiled operation by accepting responsibility for their actions, both personally and professionally.
Great Managers Establish High Standards
Do you wonder how restaurant companies such as The Cheesecake Factory maintain market share dominance? The answer lies in the establishment of high standards that managers address daily. Every shirt receives the proper level of starch and every plate appears just as it does in the menu. How to be a great manager includes establishing standards and ensuring the team exceeds the standards every day.
There isn’t an MBA program that magically transforms a good manager into a great manager. After all, skills such as leadership are innate more than developed. However, if Drucker had etched how to be a great manager into a thoughtful guide, it would start by emphasizing the three Rs of management: Respect your team members, recognize contributions, and reward achievement.