Managers can make or break a company. A good manager can drive a team forward, keeping them motivated and interested in working toward company goals. A bad manager, however, can drive great employees out the door with a complete lack of inspiration and guidance.
To help businesses avoid creating the kind of leadership team and culture that make people want to quit, a group of successful entrepreneurs shared what they believe it takes to be a good manager. Follow their recommendations to become the type of manager no employee wants to leave.
1. Be predictable.
A consistent and predictable manager is a good one, so make sure your team knows what to expect from you, says Brian Pallas, CEO and founder of Opportunity Network.
"Your decisions and behavior shouldn't come as a surprise or contradict previous actions," Pallas explains. "When an employee expects a promotion and doesn't get it, the employee will become angry and frustrated. When they already expect not to get it, they still won't be happy, but it won't lead to extreme issues either."
2. Listen and ask questions.
Ryann Dowdy, founder of Uncensored Consulting, LLC, recommends listening to your team intently. It's important to ask the right questions and learn exactly what they want to achieve.
"Find out their goals and why they're so important to them," says Dowdy. "This works because most people aren't willing to do it. It takes time and vulnerability and isn't the 'normal' way that people lead -- but that's why it works."
3. Be willing to serve.
Leaders should be oriented and empowered to serve those in their charge, rather than simply "manage" them, says Shane Levinson, CEO of Carpets of Arizona. When this happens, the culture of the organization will shift drastically.
"If you're there to manage employees, problems will show up as a hindrance or a burden to you," Levinson adds. "If you're there to serve employees, problems will show up as opportunities for you to help your people overcome their challenges."
4. Show you have your team's back.
Shu Saito, CEO of All Filters, believes that a manager should advocate for their team and help them grow -- and the team should be able to trust that they'll do this.
"Good managers aren't afraid to stand up to a business owner to defend their team's ideas and efforts," Saito says. "This doesn't mean that a manager always takes their team's side; on the contrary, it means that the manager is always willing to help their team grow with open feedback."
5. Strengthen your communication skills.
A good manager needs to function as a coach who provides constructive feedback, says Andy Karuza, head of marketing at NachoNacho.
"With the right communication skills, you can get your point across and, more importantly, make the person want to do it," Karuza explains.
6. Treat everyone equally.
People are quick to leave a toxic work environment with cliques, especially when managers align themselves with certain people. This, says Kalin Kassabov, founder and CEO of ProTexting, causes bad leaders to take sides and contribute to conflict.
"You don't have to like everyone equally, which is impossible, but you should treat everyone with equal respect and consideration," adds Kassabov.
7. Have empathy and compassion for your team.
For Stephanie Wells, co-founder and CTO of Formidable Forms, good leadership is all about empathy. You must understand the challenges your team is facing and try to relate to them.
"Instead of delegating tasks and letting them figure it all out, share your experience with them and show them how you'd do it," Wells says. "Once you lead by example and with empathy, you'll see that your team will work harder to achieve their goals."
8. Get to know your employees.
Jonathan Sparks, founder of Sparks Law, reminds leaders that their employees are people, and people need to be seen. He recommends taking a little bit of extra time regularly to check in with your team.
"Just sit back and listen," Sparks advises. "They'll be happy to tell you what's going on in their world and the goals they're striving for. If you can align their goals with the company's, they'll stick with you."