What Makes a Great Manager?

Apr 20, 2008 | Design

This question has been on my mind since my manager told our department at a meeting this week that he was moving to Texas, becoming a church’s media director.

1. Damage Control
Our department has been in a state of unrest and discouragement for several months now, as our company has been undergoing some major changes. The number one thing that any manager coming in is going to have to do is damage control. At the moment, I know of only a small number of people who haven’t looked for a new job. With this kind of moral, our manager leaving is going to leave a gaping hole of chaos, unless a very good manager comes into his place.

2. Emphasize Strengths
Each employee is vital, or else they should not be there. Since everyone has strengths, the great manager’s job is to major on each one’s strengths and minimize weaknesses. Also, the manager must be open to hearing input from unexpected sources. For example, we have an audio engineer who has previously been involved in IT, lighting, and the Marines. From those past experiences, he has gained knowledge about more than just audio.

3. Create a Team
A great manager will take the problems at hand to her department, and garner ideas and feedback from her team. As a group, each department can know more than the manager single-handedly could, and each part of the team knows what problems arise in each section. As a graphic designer, I know what issues I have with my computer software being compatible with the Character Generator, but I do not know what problems the Video-Tape Engineer is having. To create a solution that will work with everyone will build a team that can accomplish more together than they can by butting heads.

By a manager isolating subordinates from knowledge and problems, the full potential of any team will never be realized, and the manager will have to run a department that is not headed in one direction, but many.

4. Cast a Vision
Part of creating a powerful and effective team out of a department is to cast a vision that will inspire and motivate employees. With a vision that everyone is a part of supporting, problems and set-backs become minor, in the scope of the vision. Without a vision, each employee will follow his own idea about what the company is all about, instead of having a united ideology for all.

5. Plan for the Future
Employees seeing a big-picture with long-term goals will accomplish several things.

  • Enthusiasm for their part in a big idea
  • Brainstorming for future events so that no one is caught by surprise, and so that each event can be the best it could possibly be
  • Encouragement in the future of the company
  • Problems can be overcome far in advance of an emergency

My company is somewhat notorious for coming up with ideas at the last minute, and staff having to make the impossible happen in a very short amount of time. One of the best strategies that my company could adopt at this point is making a plan for the future. If there could be made a plan for 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, and 5 years, I would feel much more comfortable about the future of my company, my job, and my ability to fulfill my job to the best of my abilities.

6. An Open Forum
Managers must have a strategy for dealing with problems and complaints. An ideal manager would be willing to hear any complaints that employees have, and pursue a solution that would help both the employee and the company. Employees need to be able to trust their manager implicitly, both that they will do what needs to be done, and that their manager will be discrete with what is told. A manager needs to fight for his employees with his upper-levels, and be able to explain the results to his employees in a positive and constructive way.

There are many other things that a manager needs to have to be highly effective, but I won’t elaborate on Staying Positive, Being an Excellent Judge of People, or any other traits today. Perhaps in a future post – stay tuned!


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Charlotte Glaze

Hi, I’m Charlotte!

As a mom, writer, and illustrator with a background in preschool education, I’m dedicated to creating picture books that inspire and empower young children. Join me on an unforgettable adventure where imagination knows no bounds, as we journey together through the pages of storytelling magic!