Become a Great Manager

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Identify development actions to support your growth.
  • Build and implement your development plan.

Identifying Development Actions

Now that you’ve had a chance to reflect on what you’re good at and where you can improve, it’s time to get serious and build your plan.

  • Choose 1–2 strengths you can focus on.
  • Choose 1–2 areas for development.
  • Identify specific actions you can take to develop as a manager.

So many ideas to help you improve your management skills are out there. But remember, focus only on the ones that help you do more of what you’re good at or help you improve in the areas you identified. Up for the challenge?

But don’t forget about your strengths! Working on your weaknesses is important, but so is playing up your strengths.

Focus on your strengths and you’ll go far!

Don’t forget—as a manager, you can have a big impact when you focus on the strengths of your team members. Analysis by the Gallup organization revealed that people who use their strengths every day are three times more likely to report having an excellent quality of life, six times more likely to be engaged at work, 8% more productive, and 15% less likely to quit their jobs.

As a manager, you bring this to life in your organization by helping your employees use their strengths. And you and your business will benefit.


Want to learn more about strengths?

There’s lots of buzz right now about how important it is to focus on your strengths and help your team members define and develop their strengths.

Watch Marcus Buckingham, the force behind the strengths movement, in action. His research has shown that when people can use their strengths every day, they’re more motivated, productive, successful, and engaged, thus contributing to the financial performance of a company.

Building a Management Skills Development Plan

It’s exciting to think about becoming a great manager. Get ready to build your plan. First, keep these tips in mind.

  • Start with a goal—have a reason to develop your management skills.
  • Identify specifically what you want to learn or do better.
  • Make sure that the actions you identified are relevant.
  • Make your plan specific—add timelines and measures. How will you know if you are becoming a great manager?
  • Implement your plan. Follow up often and reflect on what you are learning.
  • Ask for ongoing feedback on your leadership.

What does a good plan look like? Here’s one sample.

Skills to Build
To collaborate more effectively with my cross-functional partners in the process improvement project for Q3.
Win as a team
  • Collaborate within and between teams.
  • Welcome debate and discussion, even if uncomfortable.
  • Present our team’s goals and projects at our partner teams’ staff meetings.
  • Gain candid feedback on our direction and input from three other teams who are impacted by our work.
By Q2
The input I solicited from the Marketing team made a big difference in our approach.
To become more effective at driving results when my team faces challenges.
Get It Done
  • Help my team find alternative ways to get the work done.
  • Help the team overcome obstacles.
  • Clarify priorities through the V2MOM.
  • Devote one team meeting a month to discuss how to overcome obstacles the team is facing in achieving their goals.
  • Review V2MOM in one-on-one meetings to ensure priorities are clear.
By Q3
My team reports that they are clear on their priorities and have strategies to overcome the obstacles they are facing.

Want to build your own plan? A plan helps you track your management skills, development goals, and progress. Download the management pack for a simple Management Skills Development plan.

The pack also contains the GREAT Manager Development Ideas Checklist. Use it to get ideas for each of the five GREAT Characteristics and choose what makes sense for you.

Looking for more development ideas? Look no further than the managers around you!

Looking for more development ideas? Every day you have opportunities to learn from other managers around you. And don’t forget to check out the Resources section to learn quick ways to be a better manager, including communicating, being a strategic leader, and influencing.

So what’s the bottom line? We’ve explored what it takes to be a great leader and great manager. Now it’s up to you to take action.

Continue your journey.

Here are some things you can do to continue your journey.

  1. Review your self-assessment. Take a look at the areas where you wanted to learn more and develop.
  2. Consider taking a 360 assessment. Complete the GREAT Manager 360 assessment or another 360 assessment to get more feedback from your manager, directs, peers, and other colleagues.
  3. Build a development plan. Identify the most critical GREAT Characteristics to develop as you continue your journey toward becoming a great manager.
  4. Complete the Coaching & Feedback module. Take the next step by learning more about coaching, feedback, career conversations, and recognizing your employees.

The research and statistics on the impact you can have on your business are pretty impressive. Pay attention to how you lead and manage your team day to day. Demonstrate the GREAT Manager Characteristics, and your team will notice! They’ll be more motivated, engaged, and productive.

Remember, it’s up to you to seek feedback.

And remember, it’s up to you to seek feedback, learn more about yourself as a manager, and plan your development. Identify the actions that will make the biggest difference, and put your plan into action. Do this and you’ll be well on your way to becoming great!


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