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Being a good manager is a challenging job. Not only are you responsible for supervising your employees and making sure the work they do is of high quality and completed on time, you must also be effective at interacting with your own supervisors in upper management. While the specific duties of a manager differ by the position and company, there are a few common responsibilities all managers must deal with.
Get the Job Done
One of the most important functions of a manager is to ensure that the people in your department do the job that needs to be done on time and with the highest degree of quality possible. Remember that you are the one who'll need to answer to the board of directors or the owners of the company if your department falls short, so first and foremost make sure the job gets done well, on time and within budget. Communicate with your boss on a regular basis, whether it's through written reports, personal meetings or both, to keep him updated on the progress of your team.
Be a Leader
As a manager, you set the tone for your department. If you're upbeat and positive, your employees will be as well. It is your responsibility to lead by example – not only in regard to your own attitude but also your personal work ethic and how you interact with other people. Treat others with respect, whether they are other managers, subordinates, superiors, customers, suppliers or other stakeholders. Always arrive at work at least 10 minutes before you need to be there. Don't take long lunch hours unless they are necessary to the job, such as having lunch with clients or colleagues. Stay until closing time each day. Make sure that you're the one in charge at each employee meeting, but at the same time act as a facilitator and encourage the participation of your workers. Be as conscientious and thoughtful about your own work as you expect your employees to be about theirs.
Evaluate Performance and Processes
To be an effective manager, you need to know that your employees are being as productive as possible and that the processes in place to facilitate completion of their tasks are working optimally. For this reason, it's important to not only evaluate your workers' performance, but also the processes they're using during the course of each workday. If an employee is falling short, find effective ways to motivate that individual to do a better job. If a process could be improved, gather input from your employees and develop a way to improve it. Make sure that you're completely fair with your employee evaluations and that each worker is given his evaluation on time.
Traits of a Good Manager
No matter what industry you work in, there are several characteristics that good managers have in common. Don't be afraid to praise employees for good performance. If you need to reprimand a worker, don't do it in front of other employees. Instead, talk to the worker one-on-one in your office to discuss the problem. Communicate with your employees openly and often. Keep them informed of what's happening in the company at weekly staff meetings. While it's important to do the best job possible, it's also important to not take yourself too seriously. Becoming vain or arrogant simply because you're in management will have a negative effect on your department and your employees.
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In addition to a successful career as a professional writer, Cindy White spent several years in mid-management positions for a Fortune 500 company. Prior to that, she enjoyed her tenure as a technical writer and technical documentation supervisor in the manufacturing industry. She holds a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Nevada-Reno.
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