What makes a good people manager?

I am a people manager, and I have a manager.  I am sure most people who stumble across these ramblings are one or the other or both.  In a recent conversations about this topic with a number of colleagues past and present I compiled these lists

Having worked for some excellent managers, some OK, and unluckily historically some bad managers this intrigued me into thinking about Me, how I act and am perceived by immediate reports, peers and virtual teams.

So, I thought I would share somes notes.  I am sure I am opening myself up for ton of abuse from people who know me, but would be fascinated in hearing what you think I should add to these categories.

Good traits in a people manager/team leader

  • Accessible & Personable
  • Knowledgeable and can communicate it
  • Respected and shows respects to other
  • Open & Honest
  • Fair & Consistent
  • 1-2-1’s are on time and add value
  • Timely feedback
  • Awards credit when it is due
  • Receives feedback
  • Cares about Me

What traits makes a bad people manager?

  • Vague (in all forms)
  • Personality misfit, lacks social skills
  • Unrealistic targets or expectations
  • Picks on employees
  • Pits 1 employee against another
  • Changes their mind all of the time
  • Micromanages
  • Lies (especially when they say publicly different things to what they advise you)

And then, being the thinking type I am and trying to be fair.

There are on occasions when circumstances or the environment can make this hard or fall straight to the bad category.  It is possible to have a circumstance that your manager  is under orders, or a company culture actually puts up barriers you and them being a  good manager.  These could be:

Excuses for being a bad people manager!

  • Development opportunities as reward/goals are limited by the company
  • Office politics
  • Changing orgs and re-orgs
  • Communications styles are dictated by a higher power
  • Fear and Fears
  • Lack of knowledge
  • Lack of experience in being a people manager
  • Time/Prioritisation imposed upon them
  • And I am sure the list goes on

What do you think?

Opinions welcome.  Unless you are in one of my teams! Then “SHUT UP and DO SOME WORK!”

One thought on “What makes a good people manager?

  1. Chiefy Land

    I agree with all of your observations on Good/Bad/Excuses, however I would add a couple:
    Under Good I would add the ability to Listen. The skill of listening is the only communication skill that is not taught in schools. Crazy!!
    ” People listen to what you DO, not what you say”
    Under bad, I would mention, Procrastination. This is different from mind changing. Procrastination puts undue pressure on the whole team.Be assertive and be brave!
    Finally if in doubt on how to proceed with a difficult message or communication problem with your team members, reflect on the old addage:-
    ” Act as you would like others to treat you”


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