Top 10 Qualities of a Good Manager

What Employees Appreciate from Their Manager

By Staff Writer

Keeping with our theme of gratitude this holiday month, we interviewed PayScale’s director of customer service and education Stacey Carroll about the characteristics of a good manager, and what employees are looking for from their managers. See what you think of her list and if you have any comments to add.

The Top 10 Qualities of a Good Manager – According to Employees

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1. Interesting and engaging work as opposed to routine tasks

If an employee is being asked to apply their unique talents, think through a challenge independently and contribute original work, they’re more likely to enjoy their workday more than if they are bored.

2. Feedback that is timely and specific

There is a big difference between an employee hearing, “You’re doing a great job,” every now and then and hearing, “I am so glad you’re part of my team because your attitude has helped create the positive culture we want.” It’s best if they can hear specifically why they have made a difference. The more details the better when it comes to feedback.

3. Being thanked

Most employees want to feel appreciated, whether they’ll admit to it or not. It’s important to recognize and thank them for the contributions they have made that they may feel most proud of. Managers can say things like, “I know that you didn’t have the time or all of the resources you needed, but you pulled the project off anyways,” or “You knew we needed to close that deal in order to make our numbers and you came up with a way to get it done. I’m really grateful to you. Thanks.” Once again, be specific.

4. Simple rewards

Employees enjoy recognition and rewards that are on-the-spot. Even the smallest monetary gift can make a difference, such as a gift card with an announcement of their achievement at a company meeting. Or, a manager could offer the employee an afternoon off because that person has been working hard and putting in extra hours.

5. More money if they perform better

When it comes to compensation, pay-for-performance can be highly motivational. Employees are inspired to put out extra effort and take pride in their work when the following is true: If I work harder, I get paid more. This situation is far more motivating and satisfying that an employee thinking, “Oh, I’m getting rewarded for being here another year.”

6. Having all of the resources they need to do their job

Carroll jokes, “If an employee has a computer that is eight years old and connects to the internet via dial up, that makes it hard for them to be engaged.” Having the right kind of software, an ergonomic chair or even a functioning stapler can make the difference between an employee being efficient or just feeling frustrated.

7. Opportunities to develop their skills

Carroll points out that continuing education is essential not just to help an employee be better at their current job, but to help them with their next role. It boosts an employee’s morale to know that they are growing their career and have more opportunities and higher income possible in their future.

8. Opportunities for advancement

Much like the point above, letting an employee know that there is somewhere for them to go within the company, or eventually in their career, is something they will likely appreciate. Managers can help set goals for their employees and offer them guidance.

9. Their own workspace

Carroll tells the story of being on a tour of a 24-hour call center. A manager was leading her group around. One person on the tour noticed that there were a lot of empty desks. The manager explained that the desks were clear because they were shared between employees on the graveyard and daytime shifts. Someone in finance had thought of this approach for cost savings.

Carroll didn’t like this idea becase she guessed it made the employees feel like machine parts rather than people. She found out later that the company had seen an increase turnover rate in recent months. Why? “People like their own space,” Carroll says. She guessed that people wanted a place to display family pictures or store favorite snacks.

10. Support of a healthy work-life balance

“If your kid is sick, you need to take care of your kid,” says Carroll. Employees should not have to feel the stress of their job compounded by the stress of having to hide their personal needs. What goes on at home affects workers’ happiness and productivity and needs to be addressed respectfully by a manager.

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3 Comments

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