Perhaps you’ve heard that one of the most common reasons people give for leaving jobs is a bad supervisor.
Then, logically, it would stand to reason that a good supervisor would make the difference between a so-so job and a great place to work.
Of course, some things are beyond even the most magical manager’s control, like the nature of the field you’re in, the economy and – to a certain extent – the range of benefits she or he has to work with.
Generally, if you’ve got a good supervisor you know it. But I’ve outlined a few key characteristics to help people better recognize their good fortune, and also to encourage emerging managers to adopt these traits.
A good supervisor is always a step ahead of you. At least. He or she is aware of larger issues in your company and your field. This makes serious planning possible, which is just what a good manager is always doing – along with making sure those plans get implemented.
A good supervisor is like your conscience, but better. As a general rule, we all have too much to do. In addition, we all have tasks we don’t like to do, so we relegate our least favorite tasks to the Round Tuit waiting pile (you know, the things you’ll do when you a get a Round Tuit). Unfortunately these unfavorites of yours could be things your company needs done, and a good manager will make sure you do them.
A good supervisor knows a lot. Most effective managers have a firm grasp on the specifics of their industry, or field. They know who’s working where and their strengths and weaknesses. They know the forms you need to fill out to get things done. They know what common acronyms mean. They know when you can swing taking shortcuts and when you can’t. Perhaps most importantly, they know how to put this information to good use.
A good supervisor benefits from – but isn’t blinded by – experience. Some people let their experience and knowledge make them set in their ways. They know how things are done, so that’s the way they do them. Forever. But not good managers. They know when their experience counts for something and when it doesn’t. They stay open to new things.
A good supervisor makes decisions based on reality, not regulations. Good managers know when to do things by the book and when to bend the rules.
I’ve been fortunate enough to work with several good managers in my day, and I know this is only a partial list.
What do you think makes a good manager? Would you like to be one?
by Danielle Dresden