Sunday, 26 April 2009

What makes a good manager?

Having been a manager now for just over two years, I thought it would be useful to outline the qualities that I think make a good manager. I am the Senior Systems Developer, and also the manager of the Development Team for East Northamptonshire Council, where I am involved in the development of their web portals (intranet, web site), application development (using the Microsoft .Net framework), developing Sharepoint solutions, and basically anything that involves some aspect of software development. So what behaviours and qualities make a good manager? Most of us are managed in our place of work, and some of us are also managers, so we all have an idea of what makes a good manager. So here is my list of what I think makes a good manager:

  • Domain knowledge - a good manager needs to have a broad and sound understanding of what their team does. They do not necessarily need to get involved in the details of the day-to-day jobs, but they should understand the big picture. As a Development Team manager, I have a sound understanding of software and web related tools and technologies, and how they apply to the organisation.

  • Understand the business - the manager needs to see where the role of their team fits into the goals of the business or organisation as a whole. As the manager is also tasked with giving direction to the team, they need to ensure that the goals of the business and their team are synchronised.

  • Inspire and motivate - a team that is motivated and inspired are capable of anything, and can achieve goals and targets that might previously have been thought beyond them. A manager needs to give positive reinforcement and encouragement to their team on a daily basis.

  • Good communicator - managers are the conduits through which information flows from senior management down to the team. A manager needs to be able to give concise and consistent messages and information to their team, and reinforce the objectives of the business. To do this requires good communications skills.

  • Networking skills - a manager is almost certainly going to have to work with other managers and people outside their immediate team or department. A manager needs to build strong relationships with others. Good working relationships are vital in all aspects of work, and are good for the business or organisation as a whole.
I have not included tasks or duties that a manager performs, such as budget setting or team appraisals, as these are not qualities or behaviours. They are simply tasks they have to perform in their role as a manager.

It's certainly not easy being a manager, and some are better at it than others, but with a little perseverance, everyone can get better at it. What can help is to have a good role model. Watching, listening and learning from a good manager can make the process of self improvement much easier.

No comments:

Post a Comment