Two Characteristics of Great Managers.

Two Characteristics of Great Managers

Many companies have large matrices to grade managers based on an extensive set of criteria.

In my opinion there are exactly two things successful managers do:

  1. The manager goes the extra mile and does exceptional things frequently
  2. The teams of a manager deliver great things and are happy

The Manager Goes the Extra Mile

The best managers are not just sitting around and having a great time. The best managers excel and are a role model. They do exceptional stuff and make sure the organization is at least 10x as productive as the next competitor.

In one of my last assignments, I had the pleasure to work with such a manager. The company had a problem with their web app. Some customers loaded massive amounts of data that totally killed the performance of that web app.

One of the teams was working on that issue, but they were not able to find the root cause within a couple of weeks. It seemed to be a very hard and a tricky edge-case. That manager saw that there is a problem - had a look - identified the issue - and fixed the issue within some hours.

Hours versus weeks. Wow.

That manager went the extra mile. Dug deep. Helped the team with expertise and set an example to follow.

This was not only 10x more productive but 1000 times more productive. Your best managers will do these random acts of excellence over and over again. Hold on to these managers and let them know!

The Teams Deliver and Are Happy

Successful managers will have teams that deliver constantly. You can see this easily using OKRs, roadmaps or any indicator. They just get stuff done with great quality.

At the same time the teams are happy. Use something like an eNPS to measure whether that is true.


Whenever you have to deal with managers then use these two simple characteristics to rate your manager. Similarly - if you want to develop great managers then give them these characteristics and develop your managers into that direction.