What’s the secret to being a great leader? Here are some do’s and don’ts…

“The best manager is the one who has sense enough to pick good people to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt

How to be a great manager or leader? Excellent leaders and managers come in all shapes and sizes. They can be extroverted or introverted, loud and quiet, stressed or relaxed. Management style is as unique as personalities.  But while the elements of managerial style may vary, there are absolutes one can point to about management substance and what can be universally agreed to be the qualities of a great leader.

Here are 5 things we think the best managers do – and don’t do:

  • Do have the big picture in mind – They have a strategic mindset.  They know their company’s business and unique selling point, and ensure that the activities of their department are always firmly aligned with broader initiatives and strategies.
  • Do earn the trust of those they manage –  The best managers are credible and always true to their word. In short, trustworthy.
  • Do be unafraid to question their own management – In a thoughtful, respectful way, of course.   A great manager should be open independent and honest thought.
  • Do have consistent behaviour – People like and need routine. Problems arise for employees when a manager is changeable – for example, relaxed and upbeat one day, and then controlling and moody the next.
  • Do treat their employees’ time as if it’s as important as their own – The best managers earn respect by being every bit as timely and respectful with their own employees as they are, for example, with their own boss.  It shows they value their employees as individuals – a feeling that if honoured will be mutual.

And here are a couple of don’ts:

  • Don’t avoid conflict – Since a lot of management involves addressing or adjudicating conflict situations, management is no place for someone who can’t deal with conflict.  Resolving all types of conflict diplomatically and effectively is an integral part of the job, a core managerial skill.
  • Don’t let the power go to your head – A little power goes a long way; it’s easy to abuse. When a lot of people are eager to please you, it’s tempting to take advantage.  The best managers realise that power is a privilege.
  • Don’t play favourites – As obvious as this point may seem… most managers will admit it’s normal to enjoy working with some more than others. Some people are more naturally likeable; and some always have a great attitude, while others may not have the same charm.  But any tendencies toward favouritism should be resisted; it’s not only unfair – it’s a quick way to lose, or at least damage, the respect of your team.

With this in mind, Understanding ModernGov are delighted to launch our ‘Management Series’ – a three-day series of workshops aimed at managers and senior professionals. These are:

Day One – Effective Coaching and Mentoring for Managers – Led by our chair Jacqueline Baker, this training day looks at the ability to be an effective coach or mentor. Coaching and mentoring your staff is a powerful and cost-effective tool for you as a manager to improve your staff’s skills and professional development. To embed coaching and mentoring structures within your organisation requires you as a manager to develop the understanding of the key techniques and methods. This highly interactive Effective Coaching and Mentoring for Managers training course helps you develop the key skills and techniques that are required to become an effective coach or mentor.

Day Two – Effectively Communicating and Managing Change – The success of your organisation’s strategy depends on managers communicating and managing change. As a manager you are at the forefront of delivering change within your organisation, however you need the full support of your staff to achieve this. By gaining senior buy-in, engendering an appreciation for change amongst your staff, and communicating your strategy to key stakeholders, you will be able to create a change-ready public sector organisation.This course led by our chair David Elverson, gives you the necessary tools to utilise your leadership skills to deliver change. Learn how to engage and manage staff through the change process, communicate change to your staff and overcome structural and organisational barriers to change.

Day Three – People Performance Management – As the saying goes, “you’re only as strong as your weakest link” so it’s important you have the tools and techniques at your disposal to help you manage performance across your team. You might have someone who is underperforming, which is impacting productivity and morale. Conversely, you might have someone who is a star performer who gets frustrated at not being stretched enough. And then there is everyone in between. On this Effective People Performance Management training course led by our chair Hayley Lewis, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of performance management, along with tools and techniques to help you get the best out of everyone in your team. We’ll also explore those exceptions when someone simply isn’t able to perform to standards and give you ways to handle this effectively.

If you would like to attend more than one course in our management series, there are multiple booking discounts available: £100 off if you book two days and £200 off if you book all three days. For more information please call 0800 542 9440 email or fill in the form on the course page, here.

Join the conversation…

We’d love to hear from you. You can tweet us using #UMGTraining @UModernGov.

If you would like to discuss any of the details you have read in this blog; including our ‘Management Series’ training, taking place from Tuesday the 27th of November to Thursday 29th November, please get in touch.

Can’t make the date?

We can also run this course for you In-house, at your organisation or a venue of your choice, on a date to suit you.

Contact our In-house training team on or call 0800 542 9414 to find out more.