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Do Business Owners Know What Makes For A Good Manager?

As many companies nationwide deal with declining returns on investment (ROI), more business owners are taking a look at those who manage their companies in different capacities, be it others or themselves.

Having stellar managers in charge of different facets of the company, be they CFO’s, COO’s, CEO’s, the head of production etc. can make the difference between a company that is growing and always looking ahead and companies that are struggling to just stay afloat.

While the final business decisions oftentimes come down to the individual or individuals owning the company, the various departmental managers and chief officers can be found to have a say in how things are run.

So, as a business owner, what are some of the attributes that you not only want but need in a good manager? Again, we define managers as anyone from a CFO to the editor of a newspaper.

Among the things business owners should look for are:

  • Build a creative environment – Managers who are not allowed to be creative oftentimes end up failing. Provide an environment where managers can try out new things, not be afraid to fail at times, and have the ability to have input on final decisions;
  • Set achievable goals – Managers should be given goals that are within reason. Yes, you want your managers to shoot for the stars and even exceed their goals, but don’t place the goals so far out there that they are destined for failure;
  • Do not micromanage – While the business owner should be involved in all aspects of the company’s management, they should also not be micromanaging. You hired your respective manager/s for a reason, let them do their job;
  • Hire good communicators – Open lines of communication are essential to a company’s success. Make sure that the managers you put in place are good communicators that work well with others. Your manager/s will be responsible for overseeing a number of employees, so it is paramount that they have good communication skills in order to work through any issues. They will also need to be able to communicate to you any concerns, issues, questions that they or those under them have;
  • Back your managersThere is nothing more upsetting to an employee than when they feel they are being undermined. While you need to make the final call on important decisions, do not hire a manager or managers and then be second-guessing and reversing all their decisions.

Business owners also need to set the tone for the office from day one.

If you’re running an open ship with room for discussion, the ability for managers and other employees to succeed and grow, and a fun environment where people want to come to work each day, your company should prosper.

On the flip side, if you have an ironclad handle on things, there is little or no room for growth and managers and other employees stare at the clock all day, your business could find itself in a world of trouble.

Hiring good managers to run your company is not all that difficult. It is what you do with those managers once they’re in place that becomes the real issue.

“Image from Yuri Arcurs/Shutterstock.”

With 23 years of experience as a writer, Dave covers a wide array of financial topics, including discussing SafeAuto and its auto insurance offerings, along with internet reputation management and payroll companies.

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  • Hi Dave, another great post! I think your advice around building a creative environment is very important and especially what you said about giving managers the freedom to sometimes fail. This takes some courage from the business owner but is a very important process in getting people to achieve bigger results.    

  • Hi Niall,
    I think the key is the third point, not micromanaging. Just like parents have to let their kids stand on their own two feet, managers need to do the same with workers under them. Constantly standing over their shoulders and “babysitting” them if you will does no one any good. The best managers are the ones who give employees the ball and let them run with it. While managers are held accountable for their decisions, they should be there as a guide to those under them, not holding their hand throughout. I have been lucky to work with some great people over 22 years and try to take something from each job into the next.

  • I think ‘provide incentive/reward them’ is a candidate for this list. I just read (warning its pretty long, i read the print version) and it reminded me how important incentives are.

  • Excellent & thought provoking. I believe that shareholders / owners might begin with articulating strategic objectives for the enterprise and from these develop objectives AND behaviors for department / unit managers. These would begin the definition of the qualities within the context of the owners business. 

  • Thanks for the comment Niall! The Design and Creative Sector not to mention fledgling arts Orgs in the cultural sector have embraced social media and are indeed very savvy users armed with natural creativity. They have no large marketing budgets but are high on ideas and adept at creating a buzz from the community in their locale. Watching some of them do their promotional work using no high cost websites and free online platforms can be good case studies for SMEs and startups.

  • Elish a very informative post, especially to illustrate the creative use of social media, but more importantly to illustrate how a community – focused effort can thrive with the right ingredients. 

  • Elishbul

    Thanks Warren, worth noting that They don’t employ any advertising above the line whatsoever – however traditional PR via traditionsl press and broadsheets does work well for them as they present a coherent good news story and their community focus brings huge goodwill from journalists. They also participate in forums, city discussions and festivals and are therefore using all the free guerrilla opportunities a city can offer to gain publicity .

  • It’s amazing what can be achieved on little or no marketing budget – requires inspiration and creativity, and there is no shortage of that with Louise and Philip.
    A huge takeaway here for Ireland Inc is “Organisations operating in parallel are less effective than organisations operating in partnership” We need more partnerships, more collaboration, more openness  and more honesty. Great post Elish!

  • Thanks Elaine! Perhaps its time to talk about the things that stand in the way – the fear of sharing too much info, begrudgery,  the fear of taking the risk of depending on others and the desire to be sole owners of our ventures. Definitely no way to be if you are a start up! Hmm another blog idea?

  • Janine Gilmour

    I gravitate to the money-back model more strongly that a few of your other options. While I liked them, maybe you have some data to back up the effectiveness of each approach?

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