10 Tips for Being a Great Manager

Having a good manager can make the difference between an amazing work experience and a horrible one. At work, you can tell the developers that have a good manager from the ones that don’t based purely on how well they work and how happy they are.

As a manager, making your developers happy and comfortable can increase their productivity and make a better work experience for everyone. Here are 10 tips to becoming a great manager:

  1. Know Your Developers
  2. If you’re going to be a good manager you need to know the people who work for you. Getting to know your developers can be as simple as talking with them. Instead of bringing your lunch every day, go out to lunch with them and chat. Generally people talk about things they’re interested in so you’ll get an idea of what your developers like.

  3. Have Good Communication Skills
  4. You need to have good communication skills to be a good manager. You could be the most brilliant and perfect person for the position but if you can’t communicate your thoughts and directions, you won’t make it as a manager (or at least a great manager). There are plenty of bad managers that I’ve worked with and their biggest problem is they don’t know how to communicate with their staff.

  5. Protect Your Developers
  6. One thing that will make your co-workers and developers like you is to protect them from stupid people. Where I work, theres a certain team of people that no one likes because their requests are always extremely stupid. Whenever the other team does something that could potentially get us in trouble because of its stupidity, our manager will go up and talk to their manager and straighten things out. Protect the people that work underneath you and they’ll be more willing to do their best for you.

  7. Actively Manage
  8. Actively managing is the process of knowing what your developers are doing, and managing while not intruding and trying to enforce your way of doing things. You need to trust that they’re competent enough to do their jobs and you need to focus on managing them instead of managing what they’re doing. This one can be really hard if you’re a control freak.

  9. Properly Reward Your Developers
  10. Realize hard work and also realize what your employees like for rewards. If one of your developers especially likes a certain task, reward them with the ability to do that. These rewards don’t need to have monetary value, they can be as simple as allowing them to work on a different project that they like.

  11. Give Your Developers The Tools They Need
  12. It astounds me when I see a developer working with only one screen. If you’re going to be spending $50k+ a year, why not spend a few extra dollars to get the equipment that they need to do their job properly. Dual monitors, ergonomic keyboards and proper chairs will help the developers be more productive. Spend the money on your team to give them what they need.

  13. Keep In Mind That You’re The Boss
  14. While giving proper rewards and making sure the team has what they need is good, make sure you don’t let your employees walk all over you. I’ve seen a few push-over managers over the years and its always funny to look at (albeit a bit said). You need to remember that you are the boss and they are your employees.

  15. Challenge Your Developers
  16. There is nothing worse than a bored developer. Make sure you challenge your developers to do their very best and they’ll like your for it I promise. Don’t overwork them, just challenge them. See if they can increase the code to bug ratio or finish a project a day early.

  17. Delegate Properly
  18. As a manger, you’ll never be able to do everything. Your plate is always full and things keep on piling on. When you can, delegate things that don’t need your constant supervision to your employees so you can free up your time to do other things. Don’t delegate just because your lazy or you’ll start to annoy your employees.

  19. Treat Everyone Equally
  20. Even if you have a favourite developer, make sure you don’t show this to anyone else. Not only can favouring employees turn other developers against one another, it can also get you fired. Treat everyone with equality and grow a team atmosphere.

Here are just a few tips on being a great manager and I’m sure there are plenty more. Do you have any tips on being a great manager from your experiences? Feel free to share them below if you do.

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