What are the characteristics of a good manager? Describe a good manager that you have known. What were their qualities? If not, what have been your “less than favorable” experiences?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the most essential qualities of a good manager is to possess and communicate core beliefs and values. "A good manager is more than a messenger"  because they  stand for something, and are willing to convince others of the need to "buy in."  I find that the most inspirational managers are the ones who have this ability.  They understand that the great manager is not just a functionary.  They inspire because of their beliefs, and their greatness lies in being able to convince others of the authenticity of their beliefs. They believe in their values and goals and wish for others to accept the same vision.

In the simplest terms, managers that lack this vision are difficult to tolerate.  I find that managers who lack a set of values that guide their being or who lack the communication skills to effectively articulate these values are a challenge to work for.  They are difficult to tolerate because, as a worker, one does not know what they emphasize or about waht they have passion.  I think that they are also difficult to tolerate because these managers are dangerous.  Managers who lack vision can become coopted by those who are in power over them, simply parroting what is said from above or even shifting positions on policy or objectives for their own corporate benefit.  If the goal of a good manager is to inspire and lead, this can be done without a set of core values and the ability to communicate passion to those who are to follow.

The best managers I have encountered possess vision.  The really great managers were ones who were able to communicate their values and stand for their values in public and in private.  They were not ashamed to show their passion towards their core values and were driven to ensure that I shared their passion.  We had disagreements, but there was a firm understanding that what that manager believed and what they wanted me to believe was worthwhile and relevant. The end result was that the managers I felt compelled to work for at my highest level were the ones that had a vision and the courage to communicate it to me so that I shared it with them.