Business Philosophy Research

What makes a good manager? What makes a bad manager?

MAS (n.d.) describes a good manager as a manager that achieves a “hard working, productive and effective workforce that punches above its weight in its performance”. Some qualities a good manager should have, as Gates (n.d.) describes can be summed up as:

  • Working within a field that they enjoy.
  • Not afraid to fire people who are bringing the team down.
  • Uses his resources to create a productive team, whether by financial rewards or better working conditions.
  • Informs employees clearly of what defines success and what the goals are.
  • Interacts with all members of the team and creates a relationship (not necessarily friendship) between all employees.
  • Transfers his/her skills to the employees, train an employee to be better than the manager him/herself.
  • Gives employees a sense of importance, allows them to feel an important part of the company.
  • Is hands on, also takes part in work rather than simply delegates it.
  • Is decisive, must take time to make a clear, first decision and stick with it. Going back on decisions creates doubt.
  • Lets employees know who to please, allows employees to know what to prioritise in their day to day work environments. (n.d.) did a poll to the public to vote on what makes a bad boss, the results show the following from 19137 votes:

  • 34% – Manager provides little direction
  • 10% – Manager offers little or no recognition for success and hard work
  • 9% – Manager is indecisive and changes direction at a whim
  • 24% – Manager micromanages and nit-picks your work
  • 18% – Manager belittles and puts down staff
  • 3% – Miscellaneous answers

Personally, I would put the 2nd and 5th option on the same level as the 1st option as I feel those issues are all very important when it comes to management.

From my experiences I would consider the following points on good and bad management techniques:

  • Encouraging and motivating the team constantly. If the manager is consistent in their encouragement and positive attitude it is reassuring. A manager that is cynical and unmotivated when ‘relaxed’ comes across as being false when they decide to act motivated on cue when they are required to introduce a new project.
  • Managers who are willing to put in overtime hours with you to get a project done rather than leaving at the assigned closing time has proven to keep myself and my team-mates in these situations more motivated. Keeping a positive attitude rather than a negative one in times of missed-deadlines is also good. It is understandable that sometimes management is unable to stay but in these scenarios, staying available telephonically/via some form of communication is also beneficial.
  • Balancing the work-load correctly, being slammed with 12 hour working days for 3 weeks and then sitting idle for the next 3 weeks can create unnecessary stresses. In quiet times it is a good idea to keep employees working on something.
  • Assigning valuable work to employees. I have been assigned projects which were never reviewed and never used – purely to keep me busy while waiting on other departments. This did not make me feel important or necessary and cast out from the rest of the team.
  • Mutual respect. I have been lucky to deal with mostly managers that share a mutual respect and do not treat me as a “lower being”. Managers that treat their staff as lesser people than themselves, in my experience, alienate themselves from the rest of the company; landing up with nobody liking them at all, purely because of the attitude.

In conclusion, I feel that a manager must, most importantly, be personable and authoritative. They must be open to discussion on decisions but, as Gates (n.d) says, must not go back on their decisions unless absolutely necessary. I do not have a problem with a certain level of “arrogance” but, as with anyone who claims to be something, they must be able to prove their worth and earn their respect by performing their duties efficiently and correctly.

Reference List (n.d.) Poll Results – What makes a Manager a Bad Boss [Online]. Available from: z (Accessed: 8 March 2011).

Gates, B (n.d.) A good manager has at least 10 good qualities [Online] Business Times. Available from: (Accessed: 8 March 2011).

MAS (n.d.) What makes a Good Manager? [Online] Management Advisory Service. Available from: (Accessed: 8 March 2011).