5 Essential Qualities of a Good Manager

But as a manager, you don’t just work your primary job. You’re also now responsible for managing a team.

June 30, 2022
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You’re finally a manager. 🙌

You’ve upskilled your way into your dream job and you’re ecstatic.

But as a manager, you don’t just work your primary job. You’re also now responsible for managing a team.

So, what sort of manager would you like to become?

Should you focus on being consistent? Or should you focus on being an agile manager, prepared for change at a moment’s notice?

The truth is, you should be a complete package.

You need consistency and the ability to change when required. But you probably need more than that to understand why you need those qualities. 

In this guide, we discuss five essential characteristics of a good manager and why you need them.

  1. Communication

Managers should have excellent communication skills. As a manager, you should be able to communicate clearly and concisely. You probably imagined yourself talking to a team member as you read this. But the thing is, communication is an essential part of managing your manager too. To become an effective communicator, you need to maintain regular contact. Have a water cooler chat or share a pizza every once in a while. 🍕

One of the biggest challenges you’ll face with communication is that many of your team members might hold themselves back to avoid over-communicating. You need to proactively encourage them to communicate and make them feel comfortable when they do. Make sure your team knows their job isn’t at risk when they share a grievance or ask for assistance.

Of course, communication doesn’t necessarily have to be verbal. Your body language and management approach say a lot too. So reward good work and always invite feedback. You should be just as proactive about providing feedback for manager.

Allow your team to request feedback from you after regular intervals (suggest constructive questions to ask), or provide feedback yourself when you think it will be helpful. While you might not have the time to sit with each member and discuss feedback, you can use Assembly’s Manager Feedback Flow to share feedback within minutes:

Once you’ve completed feedback, employees can ask questions if they have any. 

Since this isn’t a one-on-one interaction, you can answer questions whenever you’ve got a few minutes on hand.

  1. Goal-Oriented

Goals give you direction. 🥅

But you probably already know this. You’re determined to become a good manager and you’ve put goal-setting on your checklist.

The problem? You realize it’s not a cakewalk only once you start. For example, say one of the goals you’ve set for a team member is that they should improve customer satisfaction.

Great goal.

Just a few problems, though. How do you or the team member know when they have achieved the goal? And by when should they achieve the goal? 🤔

Your team will have a tough time reaching for their goals when the goals are ambiguous.

This is why you might consider using the SMART framework. SMART is an abbreviation for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. SMART goals are clearer and enable employees to understand what they’re working towards.

Even when you’ve set achievable goals for the team, you should ensure that your team gets the help they need when they need it. Checking up on your team via a group chat isn’t the best way, though. Many members might feel reluctant about asking questions in a group.

But Assembly’s Goal Defining Flow can help:

It allows you to ask specific questions to your team anonymously. You can customize the workflow and ask project-specific questions to the team. It’s also excellent for remote teams with little opportunity to discuss a team member’s goals individually.

  1. Consistency

A company needs stability “anchors” in a business environment dominated by change. And that’s why consistency is one of the most valuable traits of a good supervisor or manager. Consistency isn’t about applying the same management techniques as other managers. It’s about being consistent with your chosen style.

Consistency makes you predictable, and that’s a good thing.

How do you deal with a leader who requires approval sometimes, and sometimes asks you to work more independently? Or who allows you to speak for the whole team sometimes and not others? 🙄

Your team needs a stable, reliable leader. They’ll need you as a guide when navigating an issue at work. And if they don’t have faith in you, they probably won’t ask for help. A good manager is calm and composed when interacting with the team.  They encourage the team to ask constructive manager questions when they don’t understand why you did something a certain way. 

  1. Ability to Change

The business environment changes fast. The technology, factors that motivate your team, and the business’ priorities—everything’s going to change.

You’ll no longer be relevant or competitive if you can't keep up. That’s why the ability to change is one of the most crucial characteristics of a good manager. The best managers are agile and accepting of change. They’re flexible with their approach and capable of shifting their focus without disrupting the day-to-day.

But you don’t expect the team to just accept a change, do you?

As John O’Rourke, Industry Consulting Manager at NTT DATA Service, explains:

“Managers and supervisors should anticipate resistance to any change effort and prepare for it. They should make special efforts to assess and deal with individual reactions to change.”

When implementing a change, make sure you listen to your team’s concerns and ask for feedback. Address the team’s apprehensions about change, and when possible, find a middle ground.

  1. Accountability

Accounting is among the most crucial characteristics of a good manager. So much so, that it can quickly differentiate a good manager from a bad one.

Have you had a boss that always found a way to blame someone else for failures that were so obviously because of something they did? 😏

That’s what bad managers look like. On the other hand, good managers own their mistakes. They see failures as a lesson and share their learnings with the team.

But that’s not all. They dig deeper. They invite insights from the team and listen to ideas with an open mind. They look for the loophole in the plan and prepare an alternative course of action should the situation reemerge.

Acing Your Managerial Skills 🏆

This isn’t an exhaustive list of characteristics of a good manager. But these are must-haves, not nice-to-haves.

Taking your managerial skills up a notch requires time. In the meantime, you can start inculcating the traits of a good supervisor and make consistent efforts toward keeping the team engaged and happy.

And if you ever need help keeping your team engaged, you can turn to us. 😊

Assembly provides a comprehensive platform to engage, interact, and reward your team. If you’re curious, why not sign up for Assembly’s free trial?

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Assembly SOC 2 compliant?

Yes, at Assembly, security is a top priority. Each quarter, we have ongoing security work that is everyone’s responsibility. While we maintain a strong security posture, it was important for us to prove to our customers that we do everything we claim to do. This led us to pursue a SOC 2 Type II report that would provide evidence of our compliance with industry gold-standard security practice.

What's the ROI for employee recognition?

There is study after study showing that employee recognition leads to increased engagement. This in return creates an environment where employees are happier and more motivated which increase productivity and reduces voluntary turnover significantly. In order to filled critical roles, companies tend to spend nearly twice the value of an annual salary. Assembly is an investment in your employees that supports your bottom line.

Does Assembly offer longer-term contracts?

Yes, we will offer contracts for companies with longer-term agreements to help larger customers have more certainty around future costs.

The minimum agreement term is a 12-month subscription.

Does Assembly offer onboarding support?

We do and for FREE! Any new customer needing further support to get started with Assembly to ensure you're set up for success can request custom onboarding support. Improving your employee experience is about much more than just using our amazing software; it’s about transforming your business to create a workplace that people love. That’s much easier to do with the personal support and advice from our passionate people experts.

Is there a free version of Assembly?

Yes. We offer a completely free plan for up to 50 team members. This plan is intended for teams or organizations that are looking to get started with an employee engagement tool. Keep in mind, this plan is limited in features.

All customers can open an Assembly account for free and get started without a credit card. Then you can change plans as necessary.

How much do rewards cost?

At the time of redemption (when your employees exchange their points for a paid reward) you'll pay face value. If a reward is a $10 Amazon gift card, your cost will be $10. All paid rewards are billed for on a monthly basis.

The good news is that you don't have to pay for rewards upfront because we only charge you when points are redeemed, not when they're earned.

Does Assembly offer discounts?

We offer discounts or educational or charitable organizations. In order to secure a discount, you'll first need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

For all other organizations, we are willing to consider longer-term agreements in exchange for discounts. To set up annual plans or longer, you will need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

How do I cancel my plan if needed?

If you're on a month to month plan, you can go here and cancel anytime. If you're having concerns or need help setting up your account for success, you can always book a demo with a customer support specialist.

If you're on a longer-term custom plan, you'll need to reach out to your customer support specialist to cancel your account or email us at support@joinassembly.com.

What customizations are available?

Great question! You can customize your core values to match your organization's to boost and track alignment. You can change your currency from the 🏆 emoji (our default) to any emoji of your choice. You can swap our logo for your own. You can also set up company culture rewards such as, "Lunch with the CEO," "Buy a book on us," and so much more!

Who can give or receive recognition?

While we recommend a peer to peer set up where anyone in your organization can give or receive recognition, you can set up Assembly however you want. If you need to limit the people who can give or receive recognition, that's perfectly fine and can be done from your Admin, here.

What integrations are available?

Assembly connects to the tools your employees use every day to offer an easy, seamless experience with minimal change management.  

Assembly has integrations with HCM/HRIS systems like ADP, Google, Office 365, and Slack. We also integrate with communication tools like Slack and Teams so you and your employees can access Assembly wherever they work now.

What's your average adoption rate?

That depends on the company's permissions set up. That said, over 90% of the employees on Assembly's platform are recognized on a monthly basis. That means nearly every employee across all of our customers are receiving regular recognition from their peers, managers, or leadership. We're extremely proud of this.

Must rewards be set up to use Assembly?

They are not required. You can use Assembly without having rewards set up. However, we don't recommend it if you intend to have a high adoption and usage rate. You can always keep the costs down by offering internal culture rewards that are fulfilled by you internally.

Are points required to use Assembly?

No, you can remove allowances from anyone or everyone. It's up to you but we do recommend using points whether they're worth a real dollar value or not. Companies that use points have a much higher engagement rate even if those points don't exchange for real dollars.

Could find the answer you are looking for?

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