How to be a good manager [Data + Expert Tips]

Why do people really quit their job?

Before you say “salary,” “accomplishments,” or “workload,” think for a moment about the worst boss you’ve ever had.

Were they bad at giving feedback, not helpful, or just being mean? Did you feel unmotivated, too nervous to offer ideas, or did you fear losing your job if you made the slightest mistake?

Once you let these memories sink in, you probably won’t question the statement, “People quit their bosses, not their jobs”.

This fact has not changed over the years. Study after study has shown that companies need good managers in order to retain good employees.

But what makes a good manager? And what skills or strategies can you develop to make sure you are considered good?

To investigate this issue, we interviewed people and asked them to check off whatever qualities they thought are most important to a great manager.

“You trust me that I will work independently”, “You are sensitive and understanding” and “You give me useful, clear feedback”, the recipients named the three most important qualities that a good manager must have.

Along with this data, I consulted my colleagues to get their opinion on what makes a HR manager effective. Whether you’re interested in leading a team or just want to know if a budding boss is actually a good manager, here are 7 key qualities of being a great team leader.

→ Click here for leadership lessons from HubSpot founder Dharmesh Shah. to download [Free Guide].

7 skills HR managers need to master, according to HubSpot employees

1. Good managers help employees to cope with change.

Think about the last time you saw changes in your company. Perhaps a loved one has retired, or perhaps your team has seen a reorganization. You might even have acquired a new business.

Whatever the reason, I bet the change felt daunting at times. Fortunately, good managers can mitigate the negative or ambivalent emotions caused by change.

For example, Christine McLaughlin, Senior Project Manager on HubSpot’s Sales Leadership Enablement Team, told me, “The strongest managers are those who can help their teams manage change in a very personal way. I am firmly convinced that every challenge is but because we are human, we cannot always recognize the opportunity from the very beginning. ”

McLaughlin adds, “Our personal life, our mental health, our physical health, the last meeting we had, the next meeting we prepare for, all play a role in how we perceive change. Do we see it as a challenge? A chance “A setback? A relief?”

“Strong managers can implement changes for everyone on their team. They meet their teammates where they are and help them answer their questions and concerns in order to get them where they need to go. “

So … how can you do that? Start by promoting psychological safety so that your employees will be comfortable sharing their opinion on a particular business change. Then, listen carefully to their concerns and work on solutions to those issues.

For example, let’s say your team has been reorganized and one of your direct reports is concerned that their role could change as a result.

To address these concerns, consider creating a document outlining what tasks (if any) the reorganization could change – along with some new opportunities she can take to develop her professional skills .

2. Good leaders are open and transparent.

Trust and transparency are undeniably crucial components of good managers – and this is becoming increasingly important after the pandemic. In fact, Edelmans is the newest must Trust barometer 2021 Among executives, employees found “good employee communication” 44 points higher than in the previous year.

Keri Polmonari, HubSpot’s Manager of Customer Success on the SMB team, believes transparency is one of the most important qualities a good leader can possess.

She says: “Being transparent and accommodating with your team creates an open and honest dialogue and ensures that everyone is on the same page. Business changes – such as changes in departmental goals, processes, or people – can be difficult and overwhelming. [But] When everyone understands why these business changes are behind these business changes, they’ll be more open and understand the impact it could have on their jobs, both positively and negatively. “

Polmonari says: “Transparency creates trust, promotes relationships and creates organizational alignment, all key components for the success of a company, a department and an individual.”

What does it mean to be a good leader? Keris quote about the importance of transparency.

3. Good managers encourage vulnerability.

Consider the last time your manager started your 1: 1 with a more personal question, such as, “How was your birthday this past weekend?” or “Have you read any good books lately?”

These questions ultimately help fuel vulnerability by creating space for you to share information about your life outside of work – and they can go a long way in creating stronger bonds.

As Jill Callan, VP of Marketing at Trustworthy health, told me: “Whenever I take on a new role or inherit a new team, I start by enabling and promoting vulnerability. This helps me to build strong bonds with my direct subordinates and enable them to exchange ideas and admit weaknesses. “

Adds Callan, “I’m also very keen to get to know my team as individuals and learn about their lives outside of work. If we take the time ahead of time to develop strong, authentic relationships with my direct reports, we can overcome the inevitable difficult challenges “the line.”

Think about how you can increase your openness to your team to encourage vulnerability. For example, you might admit when you feel overwhelmed with childcare responsibilities, mention a Netflix show you watch, or just chat about the gardening hobby you learned.

And embrace vulnerability by admitting you made a mistake or feeling overwhelmed – it will help your co-workers admit the same thing.

What does it mean to be a good leader? Jill's quote on the importance of building authentic relationships.

4. Good managers find ways to compensate for the weaknesses of their team members.

I once had a manager who kept looking for opportunities to learn and develop in the areas that we had identified as my weaknesses. She often sent me email courses for public lectures or data and analysis workshops.

As a result, I continued to develop professionally and felt challenged. This is what a good manager does: keeps track of the weaknesses of a direct reporter and provides guidance to help that employee improve.

HubSpot Senior Manager Christina Perricone agrees and tells me, “Good managers find ways to compensate for the weaknesses of their team members. Each of us has skills that we take for granted, but also skills that we’re not that good at. “

“A well-rehearsed manager can identify a person’s weaknesses and will uncover resources or offer guidance to help in these areas.”

Consider how you can similarly encourage growth by taking into account your team’s weaknesses and actively seeking resources that can help your team develop their weaker capabilities.

Also, use the hiring process to create a more well-rounded team by identifying the strengths and weaknesses of existing employees.

As Perricone says, “Good managers are adept at balancing their teams by recruiting talent who can fill the skill and experience gaps and form a well-rounded unit.”

5. Good managers work for their employees – not above them.

You may be thinking, “Managers work for their employees? Isn’t it the other way around?”

In fact, like an employee, a manager is more effective when he is an active team player.

But while an employee’s job is to complete tasks within a job description, a manager’s job is to make their team successful. To do this, a manager shouldn’t be afraid to meddle in meetings, assist with projects, or help their team grow or otherwise be successful.

For example, consider asking your direct co-workers during a 1: 1: “Do I have to do something?”

This question can be translated positively in several ways, including: “Are there blockers that I can remove for you?” “Are you waiting for a decision from me?”, “Do you work on an idea that you want to implement? me? “or even:” Is there anything in your world outside of work that vies for your time and attention? “

Ultimately, a good manager sees it as their main task to make their employees successful in their projects and careers.

6. Good managers always strive to improve their emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence – or the ability that requires you to understand your own emotions, learn to deal with them, and respond to the emotions of others on your team – is an integral part of good leadership.

Emotional intelligence can help you give clear directions and show empathy for the needs of others. In short, it can help you maintain stronger professional relationships and communicate effectively.

Most importantly, having emotional intelligence helps you stay calm in stressful or unexpected situations – which can keep you from making hasty decisions as a leader or unnecessarily stressing your team.

7. Good managers can create and promote psychologically safe environments.

The ability to Maintain psychological security is an important asset that Jennifer Stefancik, a Marketing Manager at HubSpot Academy, values ​​in her own HR manager.

“The feeling of being supported, heard and understood is the foundation I need to come to work every day with the right attitude to do a good job,” says Stefancik.

Stefancik adds, “Real empathy and psychological security are hard to fake and I think everyone should master this before considering the human resource management path.”

Psychological security promotes innovative thinking and the ability to adapt well to change – and yet, according to a McKinsey Global Survey 2020, only a handful of business leaders often display the behaviors associated with psychological safety.

If you are a manager or are hoping to become a better leader, it is important that you take the time to identify aspects of your leadership style or overall office culture that could benefit from psychological security.

For example, instead of using language that scares your team members about missing deadlines or goals, engage in an open and supportive dialogue with them so they can confidently come to you with successes, insights from failures, or concerns while working on high pressure projects.

How to be a good manager, quote from jennifer about the importance of feeling supported by managers

Alternatively, if a team member is having trouble with a project, offer advice or help to help them remove blockers rather than telling them to just get it done.

Supportive communication with team members enables them to learn from mistakes and grow as employees, rather than tirelessly working on projects for fear of losing their jobs.

How to be a good manager

As described in the data above, there are some key qualities that are required of a good manager. These include:

  • Offer coaching and mentoring when needed, but allow your team to work autonomously and trust them to get the job done.
  • Show empathy towards your direct reports as people with a life outside of work and create a sense of psychological security so that your employees feel comfortable when they have problems or need help.
  • Be clear and direct with feedback.
  • Take the time to go the extra mile to help your employees grow professionally through training, learning and development opportunities, or 1: 1 sessions where you coach them on specific skills.

However, a good manager looks different depending on the department or role – a good sales director, for example, requires different skills than a good marketing director. Now let’s dive into these.

How to become a good sales manager

Being a good sales manager requires some unique skills beyond those listed above.

A good sales manager not only needs to set clear expectations, communicate effectively and inspire your sales reps to perform at their best, but also has to demonstrate a positive attitude, build the team unit and learn how to best support each sales rep in a unique way, and serve him or her best.

A few other pointers to be a good sales manager:

  • Use a dashboard or task management tool to easily track metrics for any sales rep. This way, you can avoid spending too much time discussing metrics in your meetings. Instead, you can use this time now to find out how you can best support, support and coach your employees.
  • Plan team outings or events that will allow your team to build relationships with one another. Sales can be under a lot of pressure and stress, so it is important that you take the time so that your salespeople can connect with each other and feel like they are part of a support system.
  • Find training and development opportunities so your salespeople can keep improving. In 1: 1 meetings, focus on how you can help them achieve their goals. In team meetings, find out what types of training can help the entire team perform better.
  • Motivate your team by focusing on the “bigger purpose” to make sure they feel intrinsically motivated. Selling isn’t just about getting quotas and making money – it’s (often) also about selling a product or service that can help people, big or small. Remind your team of the bigger purpose of your company to make sure they feel fulfilled and motivated.

Looking for more tips for sales managers? Take a look at Here are 10 Things I Would Like To Know Before I Become a Sales Director, According to a Sandler Expert, Sales Managers Should Prioritize in 2021.

How to become a good marketing manager

Marketing managers are often responsible for running a team, but typically they’re also responsible for a content characteristic or program, which means their roles can vary widely.

Here are a few skills of a good marketing manager:

  • The ability to think broadly; Using metrics and data to build a strong long-term strategy and knowing when to turn when an existing strategy doesn’t work as expected.
  • Effective communication with various stakeholders – this includes the inspiration and motivation of your direct reports, the communication of team goals across functions and to the management as well as the creation of clear external communication.
  • Delegate and organize tasks effectively. Find out about the strengths, interests and areas of growth of your direct reporter, and encourage that growth by giving them projects that suit their interests. That doesn’t mean leaving unwanted tasks off your to-do list – if you can find a project that suits the interests of your direct report and you feel that the team’s goals are mutually beneficial, you should mix up some of the existing tasks to make sure you don’t burn out your team.

To learn more about managing a marketing team, take a look at What is a Marketing Manager?

How to become a good project manager

To be a good project manager, you need some additional technical skills compared to the other managers on this list. Project managers need a deep technical understanding of the respective project in order to understand which tasks have to be assigned to whom and to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

Some other skills and responsibilities of the project manager include:

  • Set realistic goals and understand what resources are needed. A project manager needs to be able to set schedules for certain aspects of a project, and must also understand what resources – including staff, outside consultants, tools, or budgeting – are required to achieve this.
  • Good organizational and communication skills. A good project manager needs to stay organized and detail-oriented in order to effectively delegate tasks to the right teams and keep track of what needs to happen next in order for the project to run smoothly. A good project manager also needs to be able to clearly articulate the full scope of a project to various stakeholders to ensure that each team is aligned with an overarching strategy.
  • Analyze and determine potential risks. A good project manager needs to be able to anticipate potential roadblocks in a given project and analyze either internal metrics or industry data to determine the best way to mitigate those risks.

A good project manager also uses the best tools available to help them create a streamlined process, keep track of responsibilities and schedules, and effectively delegate them. Take a look at 16 free project management software options to keep your team on track to choose the best tool for your needs.

And that’s it! You are well on your way to becoming a better leader yourself. Remember, like any other role, becoming a good manager takes time, patience, commitment, and a constant desire for feedback from your direct reports to repeat and grow over time.

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