We’ve all had good managers, and we’ve all had bad managers. You’ve probably also had a life-changing relationships with your manager at some point in your career. Sometimes these relationships are inspiring, and sometimes they teach you about the person you never want to become.

Reflecting on all the managers I’ve worked under, certain behaviors have had a lasting impact on me. These managers act as organizational  as role models – they are the voice of reason, the moral high ground, and a thoughtful mentor all rolled into one.

THEY TREAT EVERYONE WITH RESPECT. From the mail man who pops their head in the door every morning, and all the way to the C-suite, my best managers have been consistent in their generosity, kindness and goodwill no matter who it’s for.

THEY INVOLVE THE TEAM. They give staff relevant top-level strategic information and then trust their skills and experience to focus on the right work. My best managers have shared C-Level P&L sheets with me and explained to me where my role and my projects contribute and detract. If we don’t know what port we are sailing to, then no wind is favorable.

THEY GIVE POWER TO THEIR STAFF. My best managers have ensured that I get face time with big players and big decision makers. Additionally, they ensure that my delegated authority with contractors and suppliers are handled with the appropriate introductions and organizational support. They create a situation where I can solve problems without constantly appealing up the chain of command. They understand that you can’t take ownership for work that you’re not accountable for. They are not afraid to give their power away.

THEY BEHAVE WITH INTEGRITY. Racial slurs, outrageously sexist remarks, personal insults in a public forum… yes, we’ve all had that manager. Great managers know when to keep their thoughts private, and when to use the appropriate platitudes to diffuse a situation. They set an example for behaving with integrity. They understand that organizational values are top down.

THEY EXPRESS A RANGE OF EMOTIONS. Great managers are people we can relate to. They are human. They are fallible. They show weakness. They admit they’re wrong. My greatest managers have all been caught by their staff with a tear in their eye. They employ their humanity as part of their management skillset.

How has your best managers made an impact on you? Drop a comment below.


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