Effective Management Criteria
Effective managers lead to business success
1. Know what is going on. Be aware of what is happening in your sector, your organisation and
your team. Knowledge gives you the tools to plan ahead, use your resources effectively and
make informed decisions.
2. Create a sense of direction. Establish clear goals and objectives for your employees – and
explain how these fit into an overall plan. Be ready to alter goals as circumstances change, but
always explain why. Make sure tasks, projects and meetings have a purpose and an outcome: a
shared sense of direction is the core of a tightly knit, focused team.
3. Make decisions. Your staff look to you for leadership, and that means making decisions.
Indecisiveness will wear away at your credibility and create uncertainty in your team. By all
means consult with your staff before making a decision, but take responsibility for making it
4. Lead by example. Whether you like it or not, you set the tone for your team and they will
follow your example. If you are slack, they will be slack; if you are sharp, they will be, too. It is
up to you to set the standards you want your team to aspire to, and communicate those standards
in what you do, what you say and how you say it.
5. Consult and delegate. You cannot do everything by yourself, so don’t even try. Talk to your
staff about the business, listen to what they say and take their ideas on board. Pass work on to
people who can do it and trust them to get the job done.
6. Take responsibility for your team. Ultimately, you are responsible for your team’s
performance. If they perform poorly, that’s a reflection on you. So be accountable for their
performance and don’t pass the buck – blame only creates resentment and division. Accepting
responsibility will earn your employees’ loyalty and respect.
7. Ask your staff what they want to achieve. Successful organisations harness the interests and
ambitions of their staff, who will work with greater enthusiasm and commitment when they have
a personal stake in a business or project. Find out what they want to achieve and give them the
means to achieve it.
8. Praise your staff for work well done. Never pass up an opportunity to commend your staff
for working well and always acknowledge their contribution to successful projects. A pat on the
back costs nothing, but instils a sense of pride and increases motivation. You might even
consider developing some sort of incentive or reward scheme.
9. Be completely fair. Favouritism, however subtle, creates jealousy and damages morale. It’s
vital that you don’t show preference for one person over another, and you give your attention
equally to your staff. This doesn’t mean you treat them all in exactly the same way, however:
good managers realise that people respond to different incentives.
10. Deal with errors calmly. If you lose your temper, you lose credibility. Deal with mistakes
calmly and without rancour. If you have cause to criticise someone, never do so publicly – it is
damaging to individual pride and collective morale.
There are also following facts that should be kept in mind for effective management:
1. Low competence, high commitment. This bucket tends to contain inexperienced or new team
members. They often lack the training and experience to be highly competent, but they make up
for it in enthusiasm and commitment to the job at hand.
2. Low to moderate competence, low commitment. This bucket contains poor performers as
well as good performers who are temporarily frustrated. Frustration is usually caused by
someone who wants to do a good job but doesn’t yet have the expertise to perform to their
expectations. Here are some statements I’ve heard that indicate a person is in this bucket:
• The task is harder than I thought
• No one appreciates what I do
• I’m not getting the help I need
• The more I learn the more I realize how much more I need to know
• The task is boring
• I don’t like my job
The big difference between poor performers and good performers is the time they spend in this
bucket. I always assume an individual wants to do well and will transition out of this bucket as
quickly as they can. The longer they stay, the less optimistic I am that they will ever leave.
3. Moderate to high competence, moderate commitment. This bucket contains solid
performers who are consistent contributors of high value. These are people who have good skills,
but are held back by variable confidence or motivation. This bucket may contain potential
superstars, but only a few are able to put it all together to make it to the next level. Most good
contributors peak in this bucket and never leave.
4. High competence, high commitment. These are the superstars on any team. They are masters
at what they do, they are confident, and they are highly motivated.
Keep in mind that someone can be a level 4 while working on one task and then move to a level
1 when working on something different that requires different skills. For instance, imagine a
brilliant software engineer who decides he wants to become a lawyer. He may have the potential
and the commitment, but he doesn’t yet have the skills. It’s also useful to recognize that people
can bounce between levels from day to day based on personal circumstance and other events that
impact motivation and confidence.
Once I identify the level of development, I match my style of management to it. Bucket 1
matches to style 1, bucket 2 to style 2, etc.:
1. Directing. This style requires a lot of hands on work. I spend time explaining the task,
sometimes step-by-step. I show examples of success and failure. I identify clear goals, timelines
and outcomes. I make the decisions. I provide a large amount of feedback both positive and
constructive in order to accelerate their personal development.
2. Coaching. This style is more interactive than the directing style. I spend more time explaining
my reasoning and the decision making processes. I give more access to behind-the-scenes
thinking and start training the individual to make good decisions on their own. Although I
involve the person in the decision making process, I still make the decisions. Goal setting in
particular is more interactive as the individual is able to start taking ownership of their career and
3. Supporting. In this style I give increasing amounts of responsibility to the individual. I’ll
often ask them to take the lead tasks, planning or goal setting. I become more of a sounding
board and resource rather than a force driving actions and success. Rather than telling the
individual what to do, I’ll take the time to explain how to make the decision themselves. I spend
more time asking questions, even if I know the answer. The thought process and learning
experience is as important as the end decision. At this point, my focus is to remove road blocks,
answer questions, provide support and encouragement, and help them continue to develop their
skills and confidence.
4. Delegating. In this style I am primarily focused on empowerment. I help define the problem
and then work with the individual to set goals and outcomes. I give encouragement and support
so that the individual can take the lead in problem solving and decision making. A large portion
of time goes toward recognizing and rewarding the individual’s contributions to the team. I am
outspoken about the value they bring to the team, my high degree of trust, and then I challenge
them to reach higher levels of contribution.
I’ve realized that some of these styles are more challenging for me than others. I’ve found that
delegating and supporting come pretty natural to me, I tend to trust people until proven otherwise
and these styles are primarily about trust and encouragement. Coaching is the most difficult for
me. I sometimes find myself feeling that I am spending so much time explaining rationale and
reasoning that it would be easier to do the job myself. However, coaching is an important style,
everyone needs it at some point and if not given the proper guidance and management they can
stagnate. I have found that the more time I spend on coaching the more competent I am in its use.
I regularly challenge myself to become a better coach!
There are many ways I measure myself as a people manager, but these are the two that I think are
• Am I able to consistently move members of my team from low levels of development to
high? Ideally everyone would move from bucket 1 to bucket 4 over time. I realize not
everyone can make it to level 4, but I don’t want to be the one holding them back.
• How effective is my team when I am gone? This is really a measure of the overall
development level of my team. The more directing they require, the more impact my
absence will make. If I return from a vacation and things have proceeded as if I had never
left – I know I’ve been successful!