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Top 10 Tips for Being a Great Manager

Top 10 Tips for Being a Great Manager
4 July 2016 John Moore

Being a great manager is about more than just giving out orders and telling people what to do. This is not and never has really been the case, but in today’s busy ever increasingly competitive world, there is less and less room for ineffective managers.

What Makes a GREAT Manager?

Is it that they know how to lead by example? That they are highly knowledgeable about their industry? That they excel at their job role or functional specialism? No it is much simpler and yet paradoxically more complex than that!

At Exponential Training, we believe what differentiates the ordinary, average manager from a great manager is the quality and consistency of the decisions that they make. Quite simply, great managers consistently make great decisions.

Having trained, coached and assessed 1000s of managers, this simple observation may seem obvious, but it provides tremendous insight into how great managers think and behave. Decisions that are routine, simple and have little or no significant consequences and which can easily be delegated to others are taken quickly by great managers. Decisions that are complex, non-routine with long lasting consequences and do not easily lend themselves to being delegated are taken slowly.

Management Decisions

One of the first steps in being a great manager is understanding what type of decision has to be made. This involves asking great questions because great questions help to generate great answers – this is the second step. The third step is knowing who to involve in answering these great questions. The fourth step is knowing who and how to communicate the decisions.

Great managers are equipped with many great attributes and resources and do some very simple things over and over again. Here is a list of the ten things great managers do:

  1. Great managers make sure they have access to great tools and techniques to help them make the right choices; to know what data to collect and how to analyse it to enable well-informed decisions to be made.
  2. Great managers have great communication skills which they use to acquire information; to share their ideas and plans; to enthuse and influence people; and to involve and engage people.
  3. Great managers have great organisational skills which they use to acquire and deploy the required resources; to manage complex and non-routine events; to monitor and to evaluate progress and to add value.
  4. Great managers have great team building skills which they use to develop and support teams; to motivate and inspire their teams and individuals; to enable other people to achieve and to perform.
  5. Great managers have great interpersonal skills which they use to involve, excite and empower others; to make people believe in themselves; and to build trust and respect.
  6. Great manages have great self-motivation and determination which they use to keep going when faced with seemingly impossible questions; to dig deep when looking for the root cause of a problem and to seek out the truth even when others express their doubts.
  7. Great managers have great networks which they use to access knowledge and resources; to involve the right people at the right time; and to help others by sharing their knowledge and experience.
  8. Great managers have great personal development plans which they use to address shortfalls in their knowledge, skills and experience; to add value to themselves by investing in themselves; and to grow as a person first and a manager second.
  9. Great managers have great coaching skills which they use to help people to develop and perform; to help people to develop their own skills and talents; and to add value without ‘hogging the light’.
  10. Great managers have great coaches and mentors which they use to help them to become even greater managers, recognising that yesterday’s achievements are no guarantee of tomorrow’s successes.

Being a good manager is about more than just having a title. Being a great manager is about consistently making great choices.

What great choices are you going to make today?

John Moore has over 20 years experience of training and developing Managers, Coaches, Consultants and businesses. As Managing Director of Exponential Training, John researches, speaks, blogs and writes about how to improve performance. He also designs and delivers engaging, fun and interactive learning programmes. John is a Fellow Chartered Manager and has worked with managers and organisations in over 20 different countries.


  1. Domnica Cotet 8 years ago

    Indeed great managers don’t forget that they work with people, with individual person and they have to care for every person!

  2. Andy Kowalski 4 years ago

    Great managers also have empathy with their staff and lead by example! They need to be aware of cultural differences especially if they have staff from various back grounds and be able to mentor them without being overbearing.

    They must be compliant with H&S legislation and ensure that their legal duty of care is also discharged at all times and staff are not endangered by risks at work.

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