How to Be a Good Manager

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Managing isn’t easy. Accepting a managerial role is like that feeling you get when all the nerves in your body crowd in your belly — similar to trying bungee jumping for the first time and hoping the rope has your back.

Management controls the most valuable asset of a company: employees. That’s why it’s essential that small business owners strive to be good managers. From all the phases of recruiting top talent to maintaining work systems, procedures, and policies, managers are in charge of it all.

Nurturing a successful team from the start can help you grow employee engagement and customer loyalty for the long haul. A recent study found that 60% of employees that were recognized for their performance increased their engagement — so don’t be afraid to compliment your team members and thank them for their hard work!

It’s no surprise that employees experiences can portray a positive or negative image of a company. As technology veers toward internet-based review platforms, such as Yelp and Glassdoor, creating the right team environment is crucial.

Cultivating the right management styles for your leadership team is essential to the success of your company. One study showed 56% of employees would turn down a 10 percent raise to stay with a great boss, showing the value your hires likely place on a good working relationship with their boss.

Remember: Employees don’t leave companies, they leave managers.

Click here to jump to the infographic for a quick overview of our tips to being a successful manager, or read through our comprehensive guide for a more in-depth look.

What Are the Characteristics of a Good Manager?

Managers don’t just land leadership positions right out of college or without any experience. They earn their career advancement by putting in the time, sweat, and tears by being a problem solver, taking on small management opportunities, mastering the company and industry, and being a professional.


The ability to influence people to achieve a better result for an organization or group is what it means to be a thoughtful leader. Always looking at the big picture, thinking positively and proactively, and listening to and learning from others are key ways to demonstrate workplace leadership.

Expertise From Experience

Typically, managers earn their position by successfully managing themselves, looking out for others, taking responsibility, and excelling above expectations. Most importantly, successful managers have put in the time to master a subject or industry to ensure they can train others well. To be a good leader, it’s important to be well-versed in your area of management. This will allow you to help your team rise above any questions, complications, or roadblocks that might impact your team or company growth.


A reliable manager is trustworthy and performs well regularly, which they prove by managing communications effectively and consistently. Do so by communicating proactively, being honest, and respecting people’s time, including your own.

Time Management

This involves using your time effectively and productively. By setting daily, weekly, and monthly goals and expectations for the team, you’ll optimize time and push for a better “next time” as you and your team continue to strive for perfection.


Management involves frequent communication to impart or exchange information or news. People learn in various ways, good managers will take advantage of this and present clear expectations using both visual and written methods.


Organization is integral to assisting everybody on your team to work towards a common goal. By setting clear expectations early, following templates, setting time limits, and always initiating meetings to smooth over communication, you can keep the team on task and prepare the company to achieve its goals.

7 Easy Ways to Become a Better Manager 

1. Onboard Successfully  

Giving your team the tools and strategies to exceed expectations will increase ROI while helping motivate your team to do their best work. Millennials are especially vulnerable to poor onboarding practices due to the accessibility of finding another career opportunity. Follow the four Cs: Compliance, clarification, culture, and connection. These will set you apart from the 80% of companies that don’t conduct proper onboarding at a strategic level.

2.  Improve Time Management 

Managers should set goals and expectations in a timely manner to make sure projects get done at the right times. Without planning ahead, mapping out time and goals for each process in a given project can get a little messy. Utilize time management by knowing your goals, spending time on priorities, organizing, and knowing time is your friend, not the enemy.

3. Communicate Effectively

Clearly set the tone for what you want to get across, repeat as needed, create a dialogue, and always check for understanding will translate messages effectively. Encourage feedback and listen to any questions or concerns that arise will leave less room for miscommunication.

4. Motivate and Inspire Your Team 

First, demonstrate that you have faith in your team member’s abilities to get the job done! Incentives are always a plus and don’t forget to invest in your employees — whether that be with taking time to assist when needed, training, or a raise. Give them a purpose as to why and how their hard work benefits the company. Last but not least, include your team in big decisions that are intertwined with their projects and efforts.

5. Lead by Example 

Monkey see, monkey do.

It’s in our blood to mimic those around us to fit in. Being a good managerial figure has the ability to set the standard for the company and what’s expected. Be sure to watch what you say, respect the chain of command, listen to the team, take responsibility, and let the team do their own thing — this will provide your company with essential building blocks for success.

6. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals 

Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Based. This helps ensure your team is motivated and inspired to reach new heights without feeling overwhelmed. Know what you want the team to achieve, set goals at the team level, push for innovation, set deadlines, help when asked, track insights, and learn from mistakes.

7. Be Consistent 

Consistency provides discipline and discipline nurtures success. A helpful tip is to try new things within the team environment and see what works best. Once you figure it out, run with it!

Sources: LinkedIn | Gallup | TLNT | SHRM | Bluesource | PandoLogic | Influence&Co | Gallup | Grace + Vine Studios |

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