5 Key Ingredients in Great Managers

I've been thinking a lot lately about management. Mostly likely its on the brain because I actually did a sermon recently on the subject. Over the years I've been managed by a diverse group of men and women and I've come to the conclusion that its been a good thing for me. I've learned "how to do it" but mostly, how "not to do it" when it comes to managing others. One thing you must realize as a manager: you are mentoring your staff - mostly indirectly - at ALL times. I'll share a few snippets here from my own experiences:

I recall one boss that was a bit of a control freak. She never let me take risk and gave me very little responsibility. I felt I could have grown a lot in my role had they taken a chance on me and allowed me to fail.

Another manager allowed me to make mistakes over and over again but never addressed them until the evaluation months later. You can imagine my surprise when I sat down for the review and he read off page after page of the copious notes he had taken. I'll never forget being in tears after the first evaluation because I was so discouraged! If only my leader had addressed problems as they saw them. I could have corrected my mistakes and received a glowing review later for my hard work.

One leader I reported to seemed to lack vision. He never communicated expectations and left me and the other staff to wonder where we were headed. This probably explains why we [as a staff] were always frustrated.

I've made a list of some key ingredients in great management as I see it:

  • Great managers provide roadmaps. Provide a clear vision and expectations to your staff. You are on a journey together, so make sure everyone on-board is tracking with you. Regular check-ins are a good thing! Not only will you be more likely to succeed as a team but you will also keep your staff focused throughout the journey.

  • Great managers listen well. People have a natural drive to be heard and you communicate value to your staff when you listen (well) to their ideas and concerns before responding.

  • Great managers encourage. If there is one thing I've learned its that you can never encourage your staff enough. Discipline yourself as a leader to observe the efforts of your staff, what work they have completed, and what milestones have been reached. Regular affirmation goes a long way. And don't limit your encouragement to public recognition alone. Affirm your staff privately for their hard work also.

  • Great managers share the wealth. Even when the budgets are tight look for ways to bless your staff. Take your staff members to lunch "on you" occasionally or look for alternative gifts when bonuses are cut to reward them for a job well done.

  • Great managers allow you to lead. Give your employees responsibility. Allow them to take risk and to fail. Recognize and reward accomplishments and provide coaching when they make mistakes or utterly fail. Your staff will love you forever.
  • What would you add to this list? Share your own personal experiences. What key ingredient do you think is most important?

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    2 Responses to “5 Key Ingredients in Great Managers”

    1. # Blogger Brian McConnell

      Three and a half years of doubting my ability were just summed up in your post. I was on staff at a church with the type of leadership that you just described as a problem. I too was frustrated to the point of tears on my first evaluation at that job and as a result was given the opportunity to find work elswhere. I haven't applied for a ministry position since.  

    2. # Blogger Terrace Crawford

      @Brian - thank you for sharing bro. I have held many positions in ministry as well as in the marketplace. The problems I outlined in this post were all from ministry. I can relate... and if I had not been called to ministry I wouldn't be in ministry today.

      Just said a prayer for you, Brian. May God use your life in ways you can't begin to ask, think or even imagine.


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