Three Secrets to Being a Great Manager

Posted on August 1, 2011.

What do you value most in a manager?

Hoping for clues in my own quest for excellence as a manager, I often posed that question to folks. The answers were always consistent over time, gender, age and race, and revealed the vital ingredients to being a great manager.

What were they?

  1. Support.  Assuming nothing illegal or unethical has been done, employees expect to be backed up by their boss.  Sounds easy, but what about when that buttressing puts you in opposition to your own boss or puts your goals at risk? That kind of support takes personal courage - the willingness to put yourself out for someone else.  Easy to say, very hard to do.
  2. Remove Obstacles.  Every company has some level of nonsense. Managers are relied on to make employees and customers’ lives easier by streamlining complex processes and tasks. In essence, removing obstacles means reducing the 10-page PowerPoint deck outlining a new policy or product to a sound bite of 25 words or less.
  3. Be Fair. Everyone deserves a level playing field. Whether you’re handing out sales leads or recommending a promotion, each team member should be given a fair shot. It sounds easy, but we’re human after all, and there are just some people we don’t like. A good manager looks beyond personal bias and aims to provide fair assessments.

Need to know if you are managing your team fairly or how to better support your employees? Send your questions to Cindy & Laura at, or put it to your peers in the Fearless Community at-large and hear what they have to say!