Describe your perfect line manager

(19 Posts)
bundleeveryfight Thu 30-May-19 09:32:19

I'm not the most experienced line manager and want to try and be the best I can be at supporting my staff.

Any advice on what you'd describe as good line management? Both from the perspective as an employee and any advice from seasoned managers about what works!


OP’s posts: |
redexpat Thu 30-May-19 09:42:31

Clear expectations of me.
Available when I need guidance.
Not afraid to day can I get back to you on that.
Fair - no favourites.

Sickofphd Thu 30-May-19 09:48:37

My line manager is brilliant, the best I've had. Here are a few things he does:

-Lots of praise when you do well
-Always says thank you for doing tasks
-Tells you outright that you have his complete confidence - this makes you want to work really hard so as not to let him down
-Loads of autonomy but also an open door policy for when you need help
-Flexibility and an understanding that people have a life outside of work
-Fairness and openness about promotions and performance - you'll never be puzzled as to where you stand

I love my boss grin

bundleeveryfight Thu 30-May-19 10:22:02

Thanks that's really helpful! I try and praise a lot but always worry I'll sound patronising!

OP’s posts: |
Violetroselily Thu 30-May-19 18:29:56

Gives honest feedback
Is clear about their expectations
Backs up their team when necessary
Delegates, without offloading all their shit on the team
Treats all team members fairly
Listens to feedback
Approachable and available when needed

CherryPavlova Thu 30-May-19 18:38:39

My line manager is the loveliest.
He’s courteous at all times, asks rather than tells and allows almost total autonomy in exchange for reliability and sound decision making.

He is available but not omnipresent. If I want to discuss something or just bounce an idea off him. He gives feedback and encourages reflection but with a positive slant.

He’s unfailing in his kindness and consideration. At the moment my mother is very poorly. He’s supportive of me working from the hospital, has made arrangements for me to dial into meetings that are face to face and minimised my work commitment.

He recognises where I am more experienced or better qualified than him and doesn’t feel threatened by that but respects my opinion.

He has four beautiful teenage daughters and we spend coffee time together looking at photographs of our children. He is definitely not afraid to show his feminine side and has a strong affinity for women in a good way.

EBearhug Fri 31-May-19 16:18:30

I try and praise a lot but always worry I'll sound patronising!

I don't think it would be patronising if you highlight specifics, and can show how it was good. Also, if you're in the habit of doing it when it's deserved, so people know it's genuine, it'll be appreciated. I'm sure we can all recognise the difference between praise when it's truly deserved, and praise that is mostly to put the manager in a good light, when we're on the receiving end, so you do know what good praise sounds like.

goodwinter Fri 31-May-19 16:29:32

My current manager is basically perfect!

- understanding of my MH issues and allows adjustments without needing to go through formal channels. Checks in on me periodically to make sure I'm ok, coping well, not overwhelmed
- monthly 121s where I can set the agenda
- doesn't micromanage - leaves me to get on with things, but equally will also make time for me if I ever need help or advice with resolving an issue
- gives good, honest feedback
- very supportive when I applied for an internal role recently; even offered to help with interview prep, and told me if I didn't get the role then he would talk to his manager about giving me more of the tasks that I enjoy in my current job (that need to be done somewhere in the team, but not necessarily by me)
- funny, friendly, diplomatic, and we all respect him more for not being petty or wielding power for the sake of it

Isleepinahedgefund Fri 31-May-19 17:17:05

My current manager is amazing. He only manages me which helps I think, but we work as a team and there isn't any sense that he's senior and I'm junior. Some things he does that I like:

Supportive of my development - the job isn't for me long term and he points out opportunities that will help me get where I'm going.
Listens to my ideas and doesn't take credit for them
Acknowledges that I know more about some things we're doing than he does, and wants to learn from that (this is mutual!)
Leaves me to get on with my work and doesn't micro manage
Redirects people to me if their queries relate to my area of responsibility, rather than asking me and then responding himself
Asks for my advice eg when writing a difficult external email
Is understanding, flexible and realistic about work/life balance
Deals with HR stuff promptly
Says thank you and compliments my work
Will listen if I voice my concerns about his wellbeing (it's been stressful the last few weeks and I've sent him home a couple of times!)

However he has in common what all my best managers have had - we get on well and respect each other, and he is a nice person. He isn't trying to be a great manager.

bundleeveryfight Mon 03-Jun-19 13:55:16

Thanks everyone for the super comprehensive and helpful responses!

OP’s posts: |
thatmustbenigelwiththebrie Mon 03-Jun-19 14:13:23

Absent a lot

PrincessSarene Mon 03-Jun-19 14:19:25

Spend time getting to know your linees (not sure if that’s really a word, but that’s what we use where I work!). Get together regularly for an informal chat e.g. go for a coffee together once a month and spend time talking about work and non-work things. That way, if anything does become an issue on either side, then you’re already used to talking together and easier to bring things up before they become massive problems. I think you need to be prepared to put the effort in to developing a good rapport when it’s all going fine in order to be able to be a good line manager when there’s something wrong.

EBearhug Tue 04-Jun-19 00:20:21

Our director - he treats everyone like intelligent human beings, regardless of rank (in contrast to one of his DRs.)

It's okay to disagree with him, as long as you do it respectfully - there's always more than one way to achieve things.

He will sometimes pull rank, because of pressure from above, or time limitations, or because of factors the rest of us may not be aware of, but he will always explain why, as far as he is able. (It has occasionally been, "there are reasons, but I can't share them," but because that's a rare thing, we trust he is telling the truth, and also trust him if we confide in him, that he won't tell anyone unnecessarily.)

He's also been the best chair of a meeting I've ever known - kept it on track and to time, but when necessary paused the meeting to summarise the points made, to be sure he understood properly.

I was talking to him today, and he apologised for not having replied to an email (I hadn't been hassling him about it, we were talking about something else entirely.) He said he would reply soon. I just said, "I know, you always do reply." And he thanked me for trusting him.

I also know he sometimes has doubts about whether he made the right decision about something - I think recognising you might not always make the best decision is good. Those with no self-doubt are usually the ones who most need questioning.

I think trust and fairness goes a long way, as well as the ability to put pressure on when it's needed. Open to listening, open to disagreement in the sense of debate and looking at different options. A sense of humour and a sense of respect.

bundleeveryfight Tue 04-Jun-19 07:23:17

@EBearhug how does he respond to those who are less competent? Like really hard working and committed people who just aren't that great at the actual work?
One of the people I line manage is lovely to work with but not overly competent- confidence hugely impaired by a shouty former manager so I'm having to try and build up their confidence but hard to be like "I have faith in you" when actually they mostly don't deliver. I have huge respect for their professionalism and work ethic which they know, just not their work products

OP’s posts: |
EBearhug Tue 04-Jun-19 09:14:32

It depends. If there are extenuating circumstances, he will have your back and give you the space to go off and be ill and recover, or to care for a dying parent or whatever it may be. He will work with you to make sure work is shared out to deputies or other teams, that sort of thing. That implies someone who usually performs well, but life has got in the way, and I think is different from someone who just isn’t so good.

When they're just crap, from what I've seen, he will try to focus on what they are good at, and if possible, make that their focus. He's also keen on training and we've had some pretty good courses over the years, and I think that can be helpful when someone is quite inexperienced and struggling with the demands of a new role which is a step up, be it prioritisation or dealing with different cultures or whatever else.

He is generally quite laissez faire, and will tell people what he wants to happen, but will then leave them to it - this is partly through necessity, because he has a massive global team, and travels a lot, so just can't be available at all times for people in Singapore and Canada and Colombia and Germany and so on all at once (we benefit from him being Europe-based.) However, if someone isn't doing so well, he will get more focussed on them, setting smaller goals rather than one overall one, with more deadlines.

What we have recently experienced is quite a major reorg - some of this was for entirely sensible reasons, with two departments covering similar roles, so it's made sense to merge them and split the teams differently to avoid duplication (and I can foresee some redundancies a bit further down the road.) As part of this, he took the opportunity to rejig the teams so that one manager has lost quite a substantial number of staff, almost half of what he had had, and while it can be justified for operational reasons, quite a lot of it has been to reduce the number of people reporting to an under-performing manager and reduce the scale of what he's expected to deal with. Things are still settling down, so it remains to be seen if this will do the job, but it's mostly looking positive so far. I think director felt limited - he did comment (with no names,) that it can be almost impossible to get rid of staff in Germany and the Netherlands, and I wonder if he feels this is an area where he hasn't achieved his own best results - but that is pure speculation. Getting rid has clearly been a consideration, though.

bundleeveryfight Tue 04-Jun-19 22:52:58

@EBearhug thanks, that's really helpful. I think focusing on their positives will really help. I'm trying to hand hold a bit but need to be really aware not to micromanage especially when I'm tempted to do the work myself just so it's done. I'm glad you've got a good manager, it makes so much difference which is why I'm so keen to try and improve my own management skills. It's really helpful to get some different perspectives on here

OP’s posts: |
Taffeta Tue 04-Jun-19 22:54:42

Having my back
Trusting me to do a job well
Not all about task

GrumpyOldMare Tue 04-Jun-19 23:25:29

I have the perfect manager.

He says please and thank you.

He's polite and respectful even when giving us a bollocking.

He won't micromanage us,he says he works on trust that we'll work and work well,not stand chatting.

He'll message us and say thank you/well done when we've had a busy shift.

He's always happy to help out when we're busy,whether that be in potwash/kitchen/front of house.

Last but not least,he refuses to show favouritism and says he hates us all equally. His sense of humour works well with us.

EBearhug Tue 04-Jun-19 23:54:52

Have you heard of situational management? It's where someone new will need more close management and support while they learn the ropes, while experiencedriving, motivated people, you just need to work with them to set goals and then leave them to it and just be available if they need it. And everyone else is somewhere in between, needing more or less direction and support according to experience and motivation. To each according to their needs, I suppose.

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