Are you a good manager or a bad manager?

Good managers inspire and motivate. Their employees are satisfied, committed, and productive. Employees who work under bad managers are usually dissatisfied and often hate their jobs enough to walk out, which then creates turmoil for the team. At the 2012 Silicon Valley Code Camp executive coach Mary Mills encouraged bosses  to "focus on solutions, not problems." During her presentation, “For New Managers: How to Be a ‘Good' Boss," Mills covered SCARF, the five social dimensions that bosses need to aim for to increase employee satisfaction and productivity. Here’s a summary of the acronym's meaning.
  • Status: How do your employees perceive their position in the organization? The lower the pecking order and relative importance, the greater their dissatisfaction. Finding ways to increase your employees' status strengthens the team.
  • Certainty: Can you predict the future? If not, you must communicate well and often. Be able to explain what you’re doing and how it fits into the big picture of the project. If you can’t do this, your employees will not know what's going on and will become alienated. Offer clear expectations, a clear vision and encouragement and the team reaps rewards.
  • Autonomy: Can you make the big decisions AND delegate? Whatever you do, don't micromanage. Employees who don’t have reasonable autonomy are demoralized.  When bosses trust, support, and encourage, they get a proactive staff.
  • Relatedness: We all need to feel safe. Employees can feel threatened when they feel they can't trust their boss or coworkers.  You need to build trust across the team.  Show empathy and remain engaged.
  • Fairness: Leave your sociopathic tendencies at home. Don't play favorites or take credit for employees’ work. Your employees will be well aware of unfair competition and compensation. Bitterness will abound. The work will suffer. Integrity, fairness and transparency have bigger rewards.

Already a Good Manager? Become an Inspiring One

Want to bump your management skills up a notch? Mills offered her ten favorite traits for truly inspiring managers. Compiled by analysts at Zenger Folkman, the list was created by evaluating a group of Fortune 500 executives who were relieved of duty. The ones who were actually fired all lacked at least three of the following qualities:
  1. Have energy and enthusiasm
  2. Contribute to your team
  3. Use clear vision and direction
  4. Create high trust
  5. Collaborate
  6. Be a role model
  7. Continue to learn
  8. Utilize good interpersonal skills
  9. Remain open to new ideas
  10. Develop others

Related Links

Silicon Valley Code Camp Mary Mills Image: IT engineer in network server room [Bigstock]