For decades, managers have tracked the performance of their employees. The employees who were most successful at their jobs and produced the best results were rewarded and promoted while those who underperformed were let go and the average workers stayed put.
But work has evolved over the past several decades, and it’s changed even more rapidly over the past few years thanks to the integration of technology into the workplace.
If you want your organization to reach the next level, managers need to manage their teams effectively — which means managerial performance needs to be tracked too. Those who work for great managers are happy to show up to the office each day (or at least most of them) and aren’t afraid to go above and beyond.
But how exactly can you tell whether managers are doing a good job managing their teams? And how exactly can managers tell whether they themselves are doing good jobs?
Here are some telltale signs:
01. Employees have autonomy
You don’t hire a manager to meticulously micromanage every member of their team. You hire them so that they can help employees become the best professional versions of themselves. If every time you check in on one of your managers only to find out that they’re meeting with employees or staring over one of the team member’s shoulders, it’s probably safe to say they are a little too hands-on. Anyone who’s ever worked for a micromanager can tell you how discouraging it can be to be told precisely what to do, down to which emoticons to include in an email to a client.
On the flip side, if a manager’s employees are consistently working without their boss’s supervision, they’re probably enjoying quite a deal of autonomy — which signals their manager is doing a good job.
02. Employees are happy
If you’ve ever worked a job you didn’t like, you know the routine. You show up to work, stare at the clock all day, and go through the motions to make sure you don’t get fired. When you aren’t happy at work, it’s impossible for you to reach your full potential.
When employees are happy, on the other hand, that’s when good things start to happen. Happy workers are more likely to support their colleagues and take initiative. Of course, it’s possible for employees to be happy at work without being great workers. But it’s impossible for workers to reach the next level if they’re miserable. Employee happiness is a sign of effective management.
03. Employee retention rates are high
A recent Gallup study revealed that half of U.S. workers have left their job at some point to get away from their managers. This makes sense because nobody wants to work for someone they don’t like if they have other options. When you notice that a certain manager’s team has been there forever, odds are that manager is effective and supports their employees — encouraging them to stick around.
04. The team is consistently productive
One of the easiest and most obvious ways to gauge a manager’s effectiveness is by seeing how productive their team is. If a manager’s team is consistently over-delivering — e.g., closing more deals, retaining more customers, or producing more products than similar teams — it’s probably safe to say that manager is doing a great job managing their team. When employees like their bosses, they’re much more inclined to accomplish more than their job responsibilities require.
05. Employees are supported
Great managers understand that their job is to help their employees develop new skills, refine existing ones, and otherwise grow as professionals. To this end, they support their employees by sharing their expertise; coaching them in their weaker areas; and listening to their thoughts, ideas, and concerns. When managers consistently support their employees’ development and initiatives, they are doing their jobs well.
06. Employee feedback is a top priority
If you had a choice to work for a company where everything was dictated from the top down or one that was more collaborative by design and everyone’s opinions were considered, which would you choose?
Great managers understand that their employees are busting their tails for them day in and day out. They log just as many hours each week, and the company is as big a part of their lives too. That being the case, effective managers ask their employees about their ideas and opinions on proposals and initiatives before moving forward with them. They also regularly ask how everyone’s holding up to see whether any changes need to be made to improve team morale. Quite simply, employee feedback is a top priority for managers who do a good job managing their teams.
07. They communicate extensively
No one likes to be kept in the dark about what’s going on at their company or in their department. Great managers understand this, which is why they routinely loop in the members of their teams into important discussions. If the manager is planning to hire a new member of the team, they might ask the rest of their employees whether they know any qualified candidates. If a crazy new client is coming down the pike, great managers give their employees a head’s up so they know what to expect in the coming months.
Managers who are great at their jobs also make it a priority to help their employees reach their personal goals. While some managers might wait until the end of the year to chart employee progress, the best ones are on top of it throughout the year making sure that no one falls behind.
While every organization tracks individual performance, there are also tools out there that provide visibility into team performance. While we’re not saying you should hover over your managers and become a micromanager yourself, you should track their performance to ensure they’re effectively leading their teams.