A manager should be a leader, while a leader doesn’t necessarily have to be a manager. A leader can simply be a charismatic figurehead, really. They lead, that is they inspire people to follow them, but they don’t necessarily have the logistical skills to organize.
Leadership is a subset of management. While you don’t have to be a leader to manage a project, if you’re not, the battle is going to be waged uphill. You’ll be at a disadvantage. So, a good manager first and foremost should have those leadership skills to rally the troops and get the project moving forward.
There are good and bad managers, just like there are good and bad leaders. The mark of
a good manager, as Jennifer said, is to look at what they manage. If they manage an athlete or an actor, a business or whatever, if that person or enterprise is successful, then it had good management.
Think of managers as gatekeepers. They manage time and money, and handle the contractual obligations related to them. A manager takes a person or enterprise from where they are to where they want to be.
Qualities of a Good Manager
- Time Management –Time is money, they say, but it is so much more. You have a certain amount of time to do what you must do in a project. Simply put, you have a deadline. A good manager can then manage that timeline and break it down into large phases of the project, called milestones, and then into smaller parts that are called tasks. But it’s not merely creating a plan, it’s also monitoring that process and adjusting accordingly to stay on schedule.
- Communication – You can have skills up the wazoo, but without the ability to clearly and effectively communicate these ideas, you’re dead in the water. Communications isn’t giving orders, though that’s part of it. Communications is a two-way street, with as much emphasis on listening as there is on talking. If you can get your message across then you’re working efficiently, and won’t be wasting time on the backend fixing what should have been done right on the frontend.
- Conflict Resolution – Put two people together and they’re eventually going to disagree. That’s normal. Put a team together and there will be conflicts, which you’ll have to resolve those conflicts fairly and quickly to keep the project on track. This is a tricky skill because you don’t want to simply use your authority or risk resentments. You should allow people to be heard and create an environment where people come together for the greater good of the project.
- Team Building – It’s one thing to assemble a team, it’s another to create a unit that works together seamlessly. That takes time and effort. Some people might just adhere like glue and get down to work. If you every have a team like that, tell us, because they’re likely hanging out with Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. But seriously, individuals can work in groups, but not without some real bonding through team-building exercises. If you put this work in before the project, you’ll have less issues during its run.
Be that leader!
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