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12 Things A Great Manager Does Differently

Two Warehouse Employees With Their Manager

What is one thing a great manager does differently?

To help you understand what a great manager does differently, we asked small business owners and experienced entrepreneurs this question for their best insights. From holding a vested interest in staff to staying on top of trends, there are several traits and actions to look for in a noteworthy manager. 


Here are 12 things a great manager does differently:



  • Hold a Vested Interest in Staff
  • Provide Feedback and Constructive Criticism
  • Show Forgiveness 
  • Create an Environment of Success
  • Set Goals and Expectations
  • Offer Second Chances 
  • Advocate for Employees in Tricky Situations
  • Delegate Responsibilities 
  • Build a Team From Individuals
  • Learn What's Unique About Each Person and Use It
  • Give Credit, Take Blame
  • Stay On Top of Trends

Hold a Vested Interest in Staff

Being a great manager is not some complicated over thought out process. It stems from gaining the trust and respect of your employees. Sadly, most managers never achieve this as they handle their management position in a selfish manner.

Great managers do one thing very differently than others, they actually care about their employees. They unselfishly want their employees to succeed and enjoy their work environment, so they will sacrifice to ensure that is the case for their staff. The employees see this level of commitment to them as individuals from their manager and it inspires them to work harder for their leader. These types of managers are the ones that employees will remember for their entire work career as the individuals they enjoyed working for most. A simple thought but it makes a world of difference in the eyes of the employees.

- Mark Smith, University of Advancing Technology

Provide Feedback and Constructive Criticism

Your company culture should be one in which providing feedback and constructive criticism is valued by all. Team performance is strengthened by everyone taking part in constructively offering feedback and graciously accepting it, too. Champion a constructive feedback culture, and you'll help create a positive work environment that will have a direct effect on employee performance and morale in a big way.

- Ryan Nouis, TruPath

Show Forgiveness 

Great managers forgive people for making mistakes. This is not to say that the gravity of the mistake would never be considered, but especially if a manager encounters a mistake that is not too severe, they can conclude that everyone makes mistakes from time to time.

Furthermore, leaders can work with those who have made mistakes to understand what led to these errors, and they can come up with solutions to help people avoid those mistakes in the future. Great managers do not just lead - They make an effort to understand their employees in order to help them.

- Miles Beckett, Flossy

Create an Environment of Success

A great manager understands that their role is not to do the work themselves but to create an environment in which their team can be successful. They set clear goals and expectations, provide feedback and coaching, and remove any roadblocks that might prevent their team from reaching their goals.

A great manager also understands the importance of creating a positive work environment where employees feel valued and respected. They encourage collaboration and teamwork, and reward employees for their accomplishments. And they realize that it's not all about the numbers - a healthy balance between work and life is just as important.

Ilija Sekulov, Mailbutler

Set Goals and Expectations

A great manager sets goals and expectations right at the start. Your team members should be able to walk away from a goal-setting meeting with a clear plan of action and a realistic timeline. This can create better alignment with your employees and empower them to track their own performance based on set expectations. Everyone working for you will realize exactly what they have to do to help make a successful team, and the camaraderie will contribute to a positive work environment.

- Roman Olshansky, On Time Talent Solutions

Offer Second Chances

The greatest managers offer second chances. They don’t give up on training and developing the people they hire. They want to see their team members succeed. If you see a workforce with a high turnover rate, that might be the most obvious sign that management is deficient or derelict in certain areas.

Great managers find a way to keep their workforce motivated. Maybe some people need more patience and training or maybe people are working in the wrong role and just need a chance in a different department. The greatest leaders find a way to make everyone maximize their effort and performance.

- Trevor Ford, Yotta

Advocate for Employees in Tricky Situations

Great managers are willing to advocate for their employees, even if it sometimes means putting their own necks on the line. Sometimes, in the workplace, issues arise that stress the parameters of established protocol and it requires quick-thinking and creative problem-solving in order to fix.

A good manager recognizes those qualities in his or her employees, and even if proper protocol wasn’t completely followed, the manager makes sure those employees are recognized going forward. If higher-ups question why a certain employee used a particular tactic, it’s the job of the manager to explain the circumstances and establish how the employee’s quick thinking rectified the issue.

- Alex Wang, Ember Fund

Delegate Responsibilities

A great manager delegates responsibilities and jobs. They can manage from afar because they have trust in their employees' abilities and will not micromanage. This type of manager is aware of what is going on and remains involved in larger problems but tends to not step in unless it is a last resort. They have confidence in their employee's thinking and decision-making that they can handle most problems themselves.

- Steve Mascarin, Taunton Village Dental

Build a Team From Individuals

A great manager these days can be defined as a person who possesses the art of motivating a group of different people to achieve specific goals. It is based on uniting independent individuals into a team going in a specific direction and is based on a set of soft skills to manage thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, enabling the achievement of personal and professional goals. What is he doing differently? He doesn’t insist on thinking in the same way, he understands that the different points of view of each of the members make the team strong. A good leader is able to understand and accept this, a great manager is able to use this.

- Tomasz Bartczak, PhotoAiD

Learn What's Unique About Each Person and Use It

Learn what makes each person unique and capitalize on it. We all know that every person is unique. You cannot employ identical strategies for all of them. This is not how things work! Great managers aim to figure out what makes each person unique and capitalize on that. Everyone is talented in some way. If that uniqueness can be found, matching skills and increasing production becomes easier.

- Tanner Arnold, Revelation Machinery

Give Credit, Take Blame

Give all the credit and take all the blame. Too often–in an effort to appease higher-ups, I assume–managers will throw employees under the bus when something goes wrong. It’s refreshing to see managers own a mistake, even if I know that it’s not actually their fault. In that same vein, I like to see managers share successes with their employees, even if they did the majority of the footwork. This shows the manager possesses humility–a rare but valuable quality–and knows how to support a team. The managers who can do this are the first ones I think of when there are greater leadership roles to fill and promotions to be made.

- Asker Ahmed, iProcess

Stay On Top of Trends

An effective leader knows what is moving the needle. You have to be able to spot the trends and identify what your competitors are doing. You have to see what works and what doesn’t. In order to trust your intuition – something that every great leader does – you can’t rely on others to analyze your market and give you forecasts. It’s up to you to give your team a compass of clear direction. A great manager is always on top of things. Team members are more confident in managers who have command of the industry.

- Mona Akhavi, VRAI


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