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What Makes a Great Manager? Do You Have The Potential to Be a People Manager?

Updated: Mar 2, 2022

There is a fine line between an individual contributor and a team leader. Although one may be great at doing something, they may not be the best at leading others to do the same.

Wondering if you have what it takes to be a people manager? Here are some questions to ask yourself:

1. Teamwork & Collaboration: Do you prefer to work alone or with others?

Teamwork and collaboration are both competencies that are required of a people manager. People leaders need to be able to prioritize team or organization goals over their own goals. They establish good interpersonal relationships by helping team members feel valued, appreciated, and included in discussions impacting their work. They work with other departments to break down silos and take partnership-oriented actions.

2. Communication: Are you comfortable delivering bad news?

Delivering disappointing news takes courage. It gets more challenging if you disagree with the message you have to deliver to your team, but you need to stand by the decision and advocate for the company. A people leader’s ability to communicate bad news can reduce the impact on employee morale and productivity.

3. Growing Talent: Do you enjoy teaching others new skills?

A people manager should enjoy acting as a supervisor to their employees and a coach or mentor. People leaders need to create a learning environment to support developing their direct reports’ skills and abilities to build a pipeline of internal talent to fill current and future roles.

4. Conflict Management: Are you comfortable managing conflict and differences of opinion?

It is naive to think there will never be conflict amongst employees or even between employees and their managers. A people leader should find suitable solutions to solve disputes or differences of opinion to make all employees feel supported and heard.

5. Building Accountability: Do you hold others accountable for their work?

With remote work on the rise, leaders need to know how to hold employees accountable for their deliverables. They must know how to communicate their expectations and help remove any roadblocks preventing the team from accomplishing their work goals.

6. Adaptability: Are you able to adjust your leadership style with different people?

It is inevitable to have a team made up of the same employees. Employees will range in race, age, gender, and experience etc. Therefore, being able to adjust one’s leadership style based on the needs of each employee is critical in building and leading teams.

7. Delegation: Do you prefer to complete work yourself or delegate it to other people?

To build an effective team, a people leader must allocate decision-making authority or task responsibility appropriately to others to maximize effectiveness. Rather than telling the employee what to do, people leaders must coach and express confidence in the individual that they have delegated decision-making authority or task responsibility.

8. Decision Making: Are you comfortable making decisions that will affect others?

People leaders often face difficult decisions. They must manage the urge to do something right away when placed under pressure. They also need to formulate clear decision criteria by involving others in the decision-making process and consider the implication and consequences of each option before making the decision.

How can Retainify help? Visit our website and learn how our Employee Engagement Platform can help managers find a unified solution that allows them to track employee sentiment and measure engagement in real-time.

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  1. Norton, P. n.d. How to be a Good People Manager. Retrieved August 10, 2021, from

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