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What does a good manager look like?


A colleague of mine is developing a managers induction day for our organisation. One of the elements they want to include is something around "what does a (insert organisation name here) manager looks like?". They would like an exercise that they could facilitate whereby the managers themselves would come up with attributes and behaviours of a good manager which could be mapped across to our corporate views and they could all sign up to. Any suggestions?
craig mitchell

5 Responses

  1. Portrait of a Good Manager
    Hi Craig,

    I just completed a training program for our newly-promoted managers and I had introduced the exercise to ask them worked in groups. Then make use of the materials (a magazine, a pair of scissors, crayons, glue and paper) to portrait what a good manager should demonstrate. When they thought about the qualities, I also reminded them of our company values by asking them to think how good managers deliver their job by aligning to company values.

    Hope this helps,


  2. A good manager
    Alice’s task is a really good one – it will also break the ice and get people working together and having a bit of fun. I often get people to think in terms of zoo animals – so tht their picture might end up as a composite zoo animal.

    It’s also good to link their ideas to the organisation’s values or the management competences – if there are any.

    I might also start them off by thinking about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ managers – what do they do? what does it feel like to work for them?

    Good luck with this

  3. Training consultant
    Hi Craig
    An exercise I have successfully used many times is to get managers into small groups and provide them with newspapers, glossy magazines, glue sticks, scissors and felt tip pens and ask them to make a collage of what makes a good manager. When completed, the groups have to present their collages and explain them.
    I usually give the groups 30-40 minutes to do the creative part and allow them 2 minutes to present it.
    Hope this helps. In my experience this has worked well every time.
    Best wishes
    Damien O’Leary

  4. Good Management
    While I think most ‘good management behaviours’ are generic (even if rather ‘motherhood-and-applie-pie-ish’) there will be plenty that are origanisationally and culturally specific, and possibly even more relevant to you and your colleagues.

    I would suggest these should be encoded in your specific organisation’s Core Corporate Competencies, but failing the avilability of these, why not get your senior colleagues to brainstorm these first? This may need some facilitation as I find even senior managers often find it really hard to think conceptually about desired ‘behaviour’ in *their* organisation – and there may even be some healthy debate!

    But this work, done well, will stand you in excellent stead for other purposes too, including performance management.

    Do let me know if I can help further Craig?

    Best wishes

    [email protected]

  5. Good Managers
    What I have found useful is to create some case study scenarios, ideally real ones that have ocurred or are typical of the organisation, that require management input to resolve eg a performance/discipline/grievance problem., or a project management problem etc. Have syndicate groups discuss approaches to resolutions and then then draw out from this what knowledge, skills and behaviours would be required to be applied and demonstrated for resolution. Then identify what the organisation would particularly value being demonstrated by managers in such circumstances.


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