A highly effective manager is someone who inspires through empathy, humility, integrity, and accountability. A great leader’s primary role is truly caring about their people and ensuring they are supported. If their needs come before yours and you empower them to be great, they will. This doesn't mean that you don't push for results and demand excellence, it means that they will make your team more effective and achieve better results through trust.
I’ll summarize one of my favorite books “Good to Great” by Jim Collins into three “E” words. Ethics, Empathy and Enthusiasm. People respect an ethical manager who says what he does and does what he says. They appreciate an empathetical manager who can picture herself in their situation. And they are energized (another E word) by an Enthusiastic manager who works hard and believes in the program and the team.
Search the phrase “high-performing manager/supervisor of people” and you get 314,000,000 results in 0.58 seconds. It seems to be a topic on which people have a lot of opinions. So here are my top five points....
Based on my experiences with good supervisors, a high-performing manager:
Three characteristics I have observed in high performing managers:
There are three important characteristics that I believe all high-performing managers have. One is bias for action; they remove barriers for people and make decisions quickly. Two is confidence to be vulnerable; they admit when they don’t have the answer and they admit when they are wrong. Three is risk taking; they take risks themselves, but they also encourage employees to take risks. They aren’t afraid to fail and recognize that projects fail not people.
A high-performing supervisor should be a facilitator. They should facilitate the success of their direct (and indirect) reports. This means not only providing the environment and resources for employees to successfully conduct their work, but also providing opportunities for their career growth and development. The current and future success of employees is the ultimate legacy of a great supervisor, and leads to organizational success.
A leader who:
Emotional intelligence and effective communication distinguish the best managers I’ve had. Emotional intelligence drives effective communication. Take the time to “read” the people you are communicating with, and adjust your communication style to match the individuals and the circumstances. Ask others for their preferred style of communication, and respect it. Take time to check-in and gain a broader view of their circumstances, strengths, and challenges. And always take your ego out of the equation.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of their employer or the American Chemical Society.