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Average Manger Vs. Great Manager - A Strategic Analysis For Success

Discover the pivotal distinctions between an Average Manager vs Great Manager in this insightful exploration. From vision and communication to adaptability and employee development, unravel the nuances shaping workplace dynamics and leadership impact.

Jan 26, 20242.4K Shares67.4K ViewsWritten By: Alastair Martin
Jump to
  1. What Do Managers Do?
  2. Importance Of Being A Great Manager
  3. Difference Between Average Managers Vs. Great Managers
  4. Traits Of A Great Manager
  5. How To Become A Great Manager?
  6. Mistakes To Avoid To Become A Great Manager
  7. Average Manager Vs. Great Manager FAQs
  8. In A Nutshell
Average Manger Vs. Great Manager - A Strategic Analysis For Success

In the intricate tapestry of organizational dynamics, the role of a manager is akin to a linchpin that either fortifies or weakens the structure. The quality of leadershipwithin a team or department is a defining factor in an organization's success. As we delve into the contrasting realms of the average manager vs. great manager, we uncover the nuanced characteristics that distinguish the two.

From vision and communication to adaptability and employee development, these disparities play a crucial role in shaping the culture and trajectory of a workplace. Join us in this exploration as we unravel the intricacies that set the average manager and the great manager apart, uncovering the profound impact each has on the teams they lead.

What Do Managers Do?

Managers are integral to the functioning of organizations, serving as a vital link between overarching objectives and the efforts of individual team members. Their responsibilities encompass a diverse range of functions that vary based on their position within the organizational hierarchy, the organization's size, and the industry in which they operate. The following outlines the key activities and roles commonly associated with managers:

  • Planning -Managers are tasked with defining goals and objectives for their teams or departments. They develop comprehensive strategies and plans to achieve the organization's objectives, ensuring the efficient allocation of resources to support these plans.
  • Organizing -In the realm of organization, managers design the structure of their teams or departments. They allocate tasks and responsibilities among team members, establish reporting relationships, and create effective communication channels.
  • Leading -The role of a manager as a leader involves motivating and inspiring team members to reach collective goals. They provide direction and guidance, resolve conflicts, and foster a positive work environment that encourages individual and collective success.
  • Controlling -Managers are responsible for monitoring and evaluating performance against established goals. They implement corrective actions when necessary and ensure that teams adhere to organizational policies and procedures.
  • Decision-Making -A critical aspect of managerial responsibility is making strategic decisions that impact the organization. Managers are also tasked with problem-solving and delegating decision-making authority appropriately within their teams.
  • Communication -Effective communication is a cornerstone of managerial success. Managers facilitate communication within their teams and between departments, relaying organizational goals and expectations while actively listening to feedback and concerns from team members.
  • Staff Development -Managers identify the skills and knowledge necessary for team success. They provide training and development opportunities, supporting the careergrowth and advancement of individual team members.
  • Performance Evaluation -Conducting regular performance assessments is a key managerial function. Managers provide constructive feedback on individual and team performance and implement recognition and reward systems for achievements.
  • Budgeting -Managers are involved in developing and managing budgets for their teams or departments. They monitor expenses and ensure financial goals are met to maintain fiscal responsibility.
  • Adaptability -In navigating the dynamic businessenvironment, managers anticipate and manage changes effectively. They foster a culture of innovation and adaptability within their teams and provide leadership during transitions and changes.

Importance Of Being A Great Manager

Two men wearing suit while looking on a paper
Two men wearing suit while looking on a paper

Being a great manager is of paramount importance to the success and well-being of an organization. Great managers contribute significantly to fostering a positive work environment, enhancing productivity, and ensuring the overall success of the team and the organization as a whole. Here are some key reasons why being a great manager is crucial:

Employee Engagement And Morale

  • Great managers inspire and motivate their teams. They create a positive and inclusive workplace culture where employees feel valued and engaged.
  • High employee morale is linked to increased productivity, creativity, and a sense of loyalty, reducing turnover rates.

Team Productivity And Performance

  • Great managers understand the strengths and weaknesses of their team members and leverage these insights to optimize team performance.
  • They set clear expectations, provide resources, and foster an environment that encourages collaboration and innovation.

Talent Retention And Recruitment

  • Employees are more likely to stay with an organization where they have a great manager. A positive manager-employee relationship is a key factor in talent retention.
  • A reputation for effective management can attract top talent, enhancing the organization's ability to recruit skilled professionals.

Effective Communication

  • Great managers excel in communication. They ensure that information flows seamlessly within the team and across the organization.
  • Clear and transparent communication helps prevent misunderstandings, aligns team members with organizational goals, and promotes a shared vision.

Employee Development And Growth

  • Great managers prioritize the professional development of their team members. They identify individual strengths and areas for improvement, providing growth opportunities.
  • Investing in employee development not only benefits the individual but also contributes to the overall skill and knowledge base of the team.

Strategic Vision And Decision-Making

  • Great managers contribute to the organization's success by aligning team goals with the broader strategic vision.
  • They make informed and timely decisions, ensuring that the team remains adaptable and responsive to changes in the businessenvironment.

Innovation And Creativity

  • A positive and supportive work environment created by great managers encourages creativity and innovation.
  • Team members are more likely to share ideas and take calculated risks when they feel their contributions are valued and supported.

Customer Satisfaction

Great managers understand the importance of meeting customer needs. They ensure that their teams are aligned with customer expectations, leading to increased satisfaction and loyalty.

Overall Organizational Success

Great managers are instrumental in achieving organizational goals. Their leadership and management skills contribute to the overall success, growth, and sustainability of the organization.

Difference Between Average Managers Vs. Great Managers

In the realm of leadership, the impact of a manager on a team is profound. Whether an organization flourishes or flounders often hinges on the capabilities of its managers.

Vision And Goal-setting

  • Average Manager-Typically focuses on short-term goals and day-to-day operations. May lack a broader vision for the team or organization.
  • Example -When faced with a new project, an average manager might prioritize immediate tasks without considering the long-term impact or strategic alignment.
  • Great Manager - Possesses a clear vision for the future and sets ambitious yet attainable goals. Inspires the team by illustrating how individual contributions align with the overarching mission.
  • Example - A great manager, when introducing a new initiative, would articulate the long-term benefits for both the team and the organization, fostering a sense of purpose among team members.

Communication Skills

  • Average Manager-Communication may be limited to task assignments and routine updates. Might struggle to convey ideas effectively, leading to misunderstandings.
  • Example -In a crisis situation, an average manager might provide minimal information, leaving the team uncertain about the severity of the issue and their role in resolving it.
  • Great Manager-Possesses exceptional communication skills. Listens actively, provides constructive feedback, and fosters an open and transparent communication culture.
  • Example -During challenging times, a great manager communicates openly, addressing concerns, and providing a clear plan of action, instilling confidence in the team.

Employee Development

  • Average Manager-Views training and development as an expense rather than an investment. Career growth for team members might not be a priority.
  • Example-When a team member expresses interest in developing new skills, an average manager may hesitate to allocate resources for training, hindering professional growth.
  • Great Manager-Recognizes the importance of continuous learning and development. Invests in the growth of the team, providing opportunities for skill enhancement and career advancement.
  • Example-A great manager actively supports and encourages team members to attend workshops, conferences, and training sessions to enhance their skills and contribute more effectively to the team.


  • Average Manager-May resist new ideas or technologies, hindering the team's ability to evolve with the business landscape.
  • Example - When a new technology is introduced to streamline processes, an average manager might resist its implementation due to a fear of change.
  • Great Manager-Embraces change and demonstrates adaptability. Leads by example, showing resilience in the face of challenges.
  • Example-During a major organizational change, a great manager proactively communicates the reasons behind the change, helps the team navigate the transition, and remains flexible in adapting to new methodologies.

Recognition And Feedback

  • Average Manager-Recognition for achievements and constructive feedback may be sporadic or absent altogether.
  • Example-After the successful completion of a project, an average manager may overlook recognizing individual contributions, leading to a lack of motivation among team members.
  • Great Manager-Consistently recognizes and appreciates the efforts of the team. Provides timely and constructive feedback, fostering a positive and supportive work environment.
  • Example-A great manager regularly acknowledges and praises individual and team achievements, reinforcing a culture of excellence and motivation.


  • Average Manager-Tends to micromanage and may be hesitant to delegate tasks, fearing a loss of control.
  • Example -When faced with a project, an average manager might insist on overseeing every detail, leading to team members feeling disempowered and demotivated.
  • Great Manager- Empowers team members through effective delegation, recognizing individual strengths, and trusting the team's capabilities.
  • Example-A great manager assigns tasks based on team members' expertise, allowing them to take ownership of their work, and fostering a sense of responsibility and accomplishment.

Emotional Intelligence

  • Average Manager -Might struggle to understand and manage emotions effectively, leading to difficulties in handling interpersonal dynamics. Example -During a challenging team meeting, an average manager may overlook signs of frustration or stress among team members, exacerbating the tension.
  • Great Manager-Demonstrates high emotional intelligence, understanding, and navigating emotions to build strong relationships and resolve conflicts. Example-In a high-pressure situation, a great manager remains calm, acknowledges the team's feelings, and guides them through the challenges, maintaining a positive and collaborative atmosphere.

Feedback Delivery

  • Average Manager -Provides feedback infrequently and may avoid addressing performance issues directly.
  • Example- Instead of addressing a team member's underperformance promptly, an average manager might delay feedback, leading to prolonged issues.
  • Great Manager-Regularly provides constructive feedback, both positive and corrective, fostering continuous improvement.
  • Example- A great manager conducts regular performance reviews, offering specific and actionable feedback that helps team members understand their strengths and areas for development.

Conflict Resolution

  • Average Manager-May avoid confrontation, allowing conflicts to escalate or persist unresolved.
  • Example- In the face of a disagreement between team members, an average manager might ignore the issue, hoping it resolves itself, risking a toxic work environment.
  • Great Manager- Proactively addresses conflicts, facilitating resolution through open communication and mediation.
  • Example- A great manager intervenes in a timely manner, organizes a team discussion to address underlying issues, and helps the team reach a mutually beneficial resolution.

Risk Management

  • Average Manager-Tends to avoid taking calculated risks, fearing potential failures and repercussions.
  • Example-When presented with an opportunity for innovation, an average manager might choose the safer, more traditional route, missing out on potential benefits.
  • Great Manager -Embraces calculated risks, understanding that innovation and growth often involve stepping out of the comfort zone.
  • Example -Faced with a changing market landscape, a great manager encourages the team to explore new strategies, promoting a culture of innovation and adaptability.

Traits Of A Great Manager

A woman in black coat talking to a person with laptop on the table
A woman in black coat talking to a person with laptop on the table

Great managers possess a unique combination of skills, qualities, and traits that set them apart in the realm of leadership. These traits contribute not only to their personal success but also to the success and well-being of the teams they lead. Here are some key traits of a great manager:

  • Visionary Leadership - Great managers have a clear and compelling vision for the future. They inspire their teams by communicating a sense of purpose and direction, aligning individual efforts with overarching organizational goals.
  • Effective Communication - Communication is a cornerstone of great management. Exceptional managers are adept at conveying ideas, actively listening to team members, and ensuring that information flows seamlessly within the team and across the organization.
  • Empathy and Emotional Intelligence - Great managers understand and connect with the emotions of their team members. They demonstrate empathy, build strong interpersonal relationships, and navigate conflicts with tact and sensitivity.
  • Adaptability - The ability to adapt to change is crucial in today's dynamic work environment. Great managers are flexible and open-minded, leading their teams through transitions and embracing new ideas and technologies.
  • Decisiveness - Great managers make informed and timely decisions. They weigh the available information, consider the potential impact on the team and the organization, and act decisively to move projects forward.
  • Delegation and Empowerment - Effective delegation is a hallmark of great management. Great managers trust their team members, delegate responsibilities based on individual strengths, and empower their teams to take ownership of their work.
  • Feedback and Recognition - Great managers provide regular, constructive feedback to their team members. They acknowledge and appreciate individual and collective achievements, fostering a positive and motivating work environment.
  • Continuous Learning and Development - Great managers prioritize the professional growth of their team members. They provide opportunities for training and development, support career advancement, and encourage a culture of continuous learning.
  • Strategic Thinking - Great managers align their teams with the broader organizational strategy. They think strategically, anticipate challenges, and make decisions that contribute to the long-term success of the team and the organization.
  • Problem-Solving Skills - Challenges and obstacles are inevitable in any workplace. Great managers excel at problem-solving, approaching issues with a solution-oriented mindset, and involving the team in finding innovative solutions.
  • Resilience and Composure - In the face of adversity, great managers remain calm and composed. They demonstrate resilience, maintaining a positive outlook and guiding their teams through challenges with confidence.
  • Ethical Leadership - Great managers adhere to high ethical standards. They demonstrate integrity, transparency, and fairness, earning the trust and respect of their team members and colleagues.
  • Team Building - Great managers create cohesive and high-performing teams. They foster collaboration, build a positive team culture, and leverage individual strengths to achieve collective success.
  • Customer Focus - Understanding and meeting customer needs is a priority for great managers. They ensure that their teams are aligned with customer expectations, leading to increased satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Innovation and Creativity - Great managers encourage a culture of innovation and creativity within their teams. They value diverse perspectives, promote experimentation, and inspire a forward-thinking approach.

How To Become A Great Manager?

Becoming a great manager is a dynamic and continuous journey that requires a deliberate focus on personal development and leadership skills. A crucial starting point is engaging in self-reflection to understand your strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. This self-awareness forms the foundation for effective leadership.

Continuous learning is paramount for managerial growth. Stay abreast of industry trends, management best practices, and leadership techniques through workshops, seminars, and relevant literature. Commit to a mindset of lifelong learning to adapt to the evolving landscape.

Communication is a cornerstone of great management. Hone your ability to articulate ideas clearly and actively listen to your team. Effective communication builds trust, fosters collaboration, and contributes to positive relationships within the workplace.

Cultivating emotional intelligence is another critical aspect of leadership. Develop empathy and an understanding of emotions, both yours and those of your team members. This skill enhances interpersonal relationships and aids in conflict resolution.

Setting clear expectations is essential for both you and your team. Define roles, responsibilities, and expectations to prevent misunderstandings and ensure alignment with organizational goals. Encourage open communication, creating an environment where team members feel comfortable expressing ideas and concerns.

Effective delegation is a skill that empowers your team. Learn to assign tasks based on individual strengths, promoting a sense of responsibility and achievement among team members. Regularly provide constructive feedback, focusing on specific behaviors, successes, and areas for improvement.

Lead by example to set the tone for workplace culture. Demonstrate the values and work ethic you expect from your team, creating a positive environment that fosters collaboration and mutual respect.

Team building is a proactive strategy for creating a cohesive and high-performing team. Organize team-building activities, recognize achievements, and celebrate successes to foster camaraderie and collaboration.

Develop a strategic mindset by aligning your team's goals with the broader organizational strategy. Understand how your team contributes to the overall success of the organization, and make decisions that reflect this strategic alignment.

Enhance your problem-solving skills by analyzing challenges and finding effective solutions. Involve your team in the problem-solving process to encourage collaboration and creativity.

Foster a culture of innovation by supporting new ideas and approaches. Encourage creativity within your team, and recognize and celebrate innovative solutions that contribute to the organization's growth.

Invest in the professional growth of your team members. Provide training opportunities, support skill development, and help team members advance in their careers. This commitment to employee development not only benefits individuals but also contributes to the overall skill and knowledge base of the team.

Demonstrate resilience in the face of challenges. Maintain a positive attitude, adapt to change, and guide your team through difficult times with confidence. Your ability to navigate challenges with composure inspires confidence and trust among your team members.

Uphold high ethical standards in your actions and decisions. Integrity and transparency build trust and credibility with your team and throughout the organization.

Seek mentorship and coaching from experienced managers or mentors. Learn from their experiences, seek guidance, and apply their insights to accelerate your development as a leader.

Stay customer-focused by understanding and prioritizing the needs of your customers. Align your team's efforts with customer expectations to enhance satisfaction and loyalty.

Acknowledge and celebrate both individual and team achievements. Regular recognition boosts morale, reinforces a positive work culture, and motivates your team to consistently deliver their best.

Embrace change and continuously adapt to new circumstances. A flexible and adaptive mindset positions you to navigate challenges and lead effectively in dynamic environments.

Mistakes To Avoid To Become A Great Manager

A woman wearing a polo looking at the monitor in front of her
A woman wearing a polo looking at the monitor in front of her

Becoming a great manager is a journey fraught with challenges, and steering clear of common pitfalls is crucial for success. Here are several mistakes to avoid on the path to becoming a great manager:

Lack Of Communication

Failing to communicate effectively is a common mistake. A great manager understands the importance of clear communication and actively seeks feedback. Avoid assuming that your team comprehends your expectations without proper articulation.


Micromanaging can stifle creativity and demotivate team members. Resist the urge to control every detail and instead empower your team by trusting them with responsibilities suited to their skills.

Ignoring Employee Development

Neglecting the professional growth of your team is a significant oversight. Great managers invest in employee development, provide training opportunities, and support career advancement.

Avoiding Feedback

A reluctance to provide constructive feedback can hinder both individual and team growth. Great managers regularly offer feedback, focusing on both successes and areas for improvement.

Lack Of Adaptability

The inability to adapt to change is a common mistake. Great managers embrace change, displaying flexibility and resilience. Avoid becoming rigid and create a culture where adaptation is valued.

Ignoring Work-Life Balance

Overlooking the importance of work-life balance can lead to burnout and decreased productivity. Great managers prioritize the well-being of their team, promoting a healthy balance between work and personal life.

Failure To Delegate

Hoarding tasks and failing to delegate can overwhelm you and limit your team's growth. A great manager understands the importance of effective delegation, allowing team members to develop new skills and take ownership of their work.

Ignoring Conflict Resolution

Ignoring conflicts or handling them poorly can erode team morale. Great managers address conflicts promptly, fostering an open environment where issues are resolved constructively.

Lack Of Recognition

Neglecting to recognize and celebrate achievements is a common oversight. Great managers actively acknowledge individual and team successes, boosting morale and motivation.

Setting Unrealistic Expectations

Establishing unattainable goals can lead to frustration and demotivation. Great managers set realistic expectations, considering the capabilities and capacity of their team members.

Not Leading By Example

Failing to model the behavior you expect from your team is a significant mistake. Great managers lead by example, demonstrating the values, work ethic, and professionalism they seek from their team.

Overlooking Employee Well-Being

Ignoring the well-being of your team members can lead to decreased productivity and increased turnover. A great manager prioritizes the mental and physical health of their team, creating a supportive and inclusive work environment.

Neglecting Strategic Thinking

Losing sight of the bigger picture is a common mistake. Great managers align their team's goals with the organization's strategy, ensuring that day-to-day tasks contribute to broader objectives.

Fearing Change

Resisting change and maintaining the status quo can hinder innovation. Great managers embrace change, encouraging their teams to explore new ideas and approaches.

Failure To Learn From Mistakes

Refusing to learn from mistakes and adapt is a critical error. Great managers view mistakes as learning opportunities, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and resilience.

Average Manager Vs. Great Manager FAQs

What Qualities Make A Great Manager?

Great managers possess qualities such as effective communication, empathy, adaptability, decisiveness, and a strategic mindset. These traits contribute to their ability to lead teams successfully.

How Can A Manager Improve Employee Engagement?

Managers can improve employee engagement by fostering open communication, providing opportunities for professional development, recognizing achievements, and creating a positive work environment that values teamwork and individual contributions.

What Role Does Emotional Intelligence Play In Great Management?

Emotional intelligence is crucial for great managers as it enables them to understand and manage their own emotions and those of their team members. This skill fosters strong interpersonal relationships, effective communication, and conflict resolution.

How Can A Manager Encourage Innovation Within A Team?

Managers can encourage innovation by fostering a culture that values and rewards creativity, providing a platform for idea-sharing, allowing room for experimentation, and recognizing and celebrating innovative solutions and contributions.

What Are Common Challenges Faced By Managers Today?

Managers today face challenges such as adapting to rapid changes, managing remote teams effectively, promoting work-life balance, addressing diversity and inclusion issues, and navigating the complexities of a global and competitive business environment.

In A Nutshell

In the grand symphony of leadership, the conductor - the manager - holds the power to shape harmonies or discordwithin a team. The chasm between an average manager and a great manager is not merely a matter of semantics; it's a profound dichotomy that influences the very fabric of an organization.

The great manager, with their visionary outlook, adept communication, commitment to employee development, adaptability, and genuine recognition, becomes a beacon guiding their team toward success. Conversely, the average manager, often mired in short-term objectives and a lackluster approach to leadership, may inadvertently steer the ship toward mediocrity.

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