What does it mean to be a good manager?

Paul Hawken, an American environmentalist, entrepreneur, author, and activist, has made this definition of a good manager:
“Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them.”

Being a manager can be a challenging job which comes with a lot of responsibility. It is however a very rewarding role which is essential to the success of a company, whether we are talking about a manager responsible for multiple team members in a large organisation, or manager in a small business responsible for perhaps just one employee. The management position is important in office environments, in the health & social care sectors, busy restaurants, retail shops and just about any sector imaginable. It’s important to note that as many as 50% of employees who leave a workplace do so because they were unhappy with the management (according to a study conducted by Gallup). Any business that currently employs managers or is wanting to develop their workforce into management should ensure their managers’ skills are above the standards.

Here are just 7 skills and characteristics of an outstanding manager, with examples and statistics:

Excellent communication

Did you know that according to a survey completed by Interact 69% of managers are often uncomfortable communicating with employees? This is a baffling figure that has negative impact on the productivity of the workforce.

The skill to deliver clear messages is a substantial quality of a manager or a team leader in order to lead others effectively, and perhaps even more so in these recent times, where much of our communication had to be done virtually. Good communication increases the productivity and morale of a team.

One of the ways to communicate well is to give context for every action required of employees, and why it is important. No employee should work without knowing the “why“ of what they’re doing, and having context will drive and motivate them to perform better at their task. Knowing the background of their task in depth may also help them perform more effectively. Furthermore, it is a good practice to repeat important points. When points get repeated, it helps employees to memorise the point and act on it. It is also important to ensure that communication between managers and employees is a “two way street. “ This will help the manager ensure that employees have a full grasp of the task. They can do so by asking employees specific questions relating to the task.

To ensure their team is performing to their best ability, a manager or leader must give clear and constructive feedback, letting the team know what they did right and where there is space for improvement. 79% of employees who quit their jobs have indicated that the main reason they left was not being commended for their hard work, according to VantageCircle.

Read our article about constructive feedback.

Communication is also an important part of resolving conflict;

Could your employees in a management or supervisor position benefit from our conflict resolution e-learning course?
Perhaps the most important communication skill is listening. Good listeners can effectively lead teams, resolve conflicts and empower employees. Employees who are listened to know their voices count and are encouraged to discuss any challenges. The listening skill is closely related to our next point:


The Oxford Dictionary definition of empathy is “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.“ It is essentially the ability to imagine oneself in the other’s shoes, being able to relate to them and be able to consider their problems with more understanding, knowing how they would feel in their situation. A good managers focuses on being empathetic. When managers listen, it is important they do so with a sense of empathy, or else they are just registering employees’ feedback without being able to respond adequately and provide support to their team. Employees who are listened to and well-treated are more motivated, productive and engaged with their work. A study by Center for Creative Leadership has found that empathy in the workplace is closely related to positive work performance. The managers who were found to be the most empathetic were also rated most efficient by their own bosses.
An good leader should be able to relate to the team and be compassionate. They should demonstrate a genuine interest in their employees, offering them support, as well as watch for signs of burn out and overwork. As many as 75% of employees struggle with feeling overwhelmed with workload, which is a very high figure. Employees need to be closely supported and managers should ensure that they are handling their workload without feeling stressed.

Organisational Skills

Every leader should aim to stay focused on different tasks, prioritse their workload and use their resources efficiently. They should work in a structure and ordered manner and manage their time well. This will a clear goal and mission for the team, without any distractions and obstacles pulling back the progress. Did you know that on average, according to DocuSign, organisations spend as much as 16 days per year just looking for paperwork? Knowing how to divide and organise your time is an intrinsic element to productivity. A clear schedule and time-tracking is a good practice to implement to make the most of our time, as well as staying focused on one task at a time.
A part of being an organised leader is being proficient and skilled in strategic planning – see the next point:

Strategic Planning

The strategy planning process involves identifying the company’s strategic position and gathering information. An efficient manager should have a clear mission, vision, objectives and specific departmental and individual goals, in order to complete projects and manage people succesfully. They should identify the strengths, challenges, opportunities and threats of their business. They should next come up with a plan that will be put into action. They can complete a SWOT analysis to minimise risks, raise awareness on what needs to be approved, make use of the organisations’ best resources and seize opportunities, and further use this analysis to stick to their priorities. After completing these steps, the success of this process needs to be closely monitored.
Training is normally required in this area to ensure that the individual is ready to consider all of these and more aspects of strategic planning, and develop the skills and knowledge to complete these effectively.
At Basegreen Academy, we offer Level 3 and Level 5 Diplomas in Management, as well as management qualifications specific to the social care sector, which cover these and more topics in depth and ensure the manager is well skilled and knowledgeable in their area.


Every manager should stand behind their decision and take ownership of their actions, no matter the outcome. Any failure to achieve an expectation up to standard must be approached with transparency, and criticised constructively. They should never blame members of their team for something that is not their fault. Others will want to get behind an accountable manager, as they trust their decision-making. When leaders hold themselves accountable, they encourage this behaviour in employees as well. This creates a productive, motivated work-place, and especially works well with the other points mentioned in this article, such as empathy and strong communication skills.
In a research program by Effective Managers partnered with the University of Ottawa, a critical link was identified between accountability and effectiveness. The study showed that accountable managers were more effective in their work, and brought more success for their organisation. The relationship between accountability is as high as 67%.

Adaptability Skills

An adaptable leaders and teams make a significant difference to the productivity, motivation and positivity of any workplace. Adaptability minimises the resistance to change. It firstly requires awareness of any changes in the workplace.
It starts in the change of a negative thought process, and opening one’s mind to new processes, ideas and opportunities for improvement, as well as a conscious decision to take more risks. This skill also works closely with the accountability skill, because to take risks and learn, we need to hold ourselves accountable. This skill starts with the manager, that will then lead the remaining employees to follow.
The focus of an adaptable team is on solutions of any problems with positivity and a drive to learn new skills and gain new knowledge, which also contributes to individuals’ professional growth. Motivation to learn will lead to looking for opportunities for development. This may include seeking skill gaps amongst employees, and finding ways to fill them, such as with flexible learning opportunities. Of course, they should also examine their own skills, and see whether there are any gaps in their knowledge, always striving to be the best manager they can be. Middle managers may want to progress onto a higher-level course, such as the Level 5 Diploma in Management and Leadership.
At Basegreen Academy, we offer a variety of flexible courses (see: Top Reasons to Invest in Flexible and Online Learning), tailored to the specific needs, demands and schedule of organisations at their request across a variety of sectors, including business management, which are designed to develop an effective, motivated and skilled workforce. See our available courses, or request a complimentary organisational needs analysis.

‣ In summary: an ability to lead, manage and inspire others.
There are many management styles, but all good managers have one trait in common – they discover the unique set of skills and skill gaps, talents and value of each employee they lead, and learn how to best use it in the business, as well as develop their team to their best potential. Managers should know their employees well enough to know both their career goals but also their interests in their personal life, developing trust and close relationships while maintaining a position of leadership and authority. According to a study by the Predictive Intex, 43% of employees don’t think their managers show favouritism, however, as many as 33.4% said they think their manager has their favourites. Favouritism is an unacceptable trait in leadership, and every manager must ensure they treat every member of staff equally, while adhering to their specific needs and requirements, as each employee is a different individual with different strengths and weaknesses. According to a Harvard Business Review Survey, 58% of employees trust strangers more than their boss – a sad figure, which we must work to change. Maintaining trust between managers and employees is substantial to employees feeling accepted and encouraged in the workplace and it empowers all members involved. It’s simple – trust and close relationships just make people happy. Happy employees also lead to higher retention It furthermore helps avoid micromanaging. Micromanaging is generally a negative leadership style, as it takes away individuals’ freedom, discourages them and can go as far as to make them feel incompetent. Nobody works to their best ability having their boss watching over every step they make. Creating trust and positive relationships will therefore help to encourage and motivate each member of the team to not work hard, but love what they do.
Every manager should lead by example and ensure they do as they would want others to do. This will create patterns and a productive, motivated culture in the workplace, as well as a friendly environment, displaying all the above mentioned skills and characteristics.

In the above text, we have mentioned some surprising, even shocking statistics regarding management skills and characteristics, showing there is room for improvement in the development of managers across all sectors. It may have something to do with the fact that, as a study by CareerBuilder.com found, 58 percent of managers said they didn’t receive any management training. They were chosen because they were proficient at their previous position – but they need further development in management and leadership. What is the solution, and how to grow and and ensure proficiency in these skills in managers?

At Basegreen Academy, our management and leadership qualifications provide an opportunity for managers and aspiring managers to develop the skills, knowledge and behaviours to undertake their roles effectively, which are intrinsic in order to become a better manager and getting great management skills. They are suitable for learners working across all sectors, although we also offer specific management qualifications for the health and social care sector. Many of our courses can be done online through our e-learning portfolio.

Organisational Needs Analysis: Finding The Perfect Solution for your Organisation

An organisational needs analysis is a complimentary consultation with our business development team, either directly on our website or by contacting us, where we discuss the specific requirements of your organisation, and implement an effective learning solution.

Discussing your training needs in detail will aid in finding the best solution for your organisation as we will work in partnership with you to accommodate your demands and challenges.

Our complimentary Organisational Needs Analysis is available on our website – click here. Alternatively, please contact us directly – we are always happy to help.

We are looking forward to hearing from you.

Tel: 0114 212 5910
Email: hello@basegreenacademy.co.uk