From experienced staff to student social workers alike, I’ve been asked lots of questions as to what I would consider to be a good or effective manager . Well, here I have listed 10 top tips that will help you become or identify a good manager.

1) Honesty 

If a staff member has asked you for help on a certain task and/or your opinion, be honest. Sounds simple, right? But you’d be surprised at how many managers try to ‘wing it’ or misinform their staff.

2) You won’t know everything, live with it!

The difference between being a good manager and an average one is that a good manager will be the first to admit they don’t know everything. But they will know where to find it. By being open about not being all knowing will break down barriers and show that you are human after all!

3) Do not be afraid to get your hands dirty

One of the most common themes when highlighting the difference between a boss and a leader is that the latter is not afraid to get down and dirty in completing work with staff. Whereas the former is happy to sit back and bark orders (usually to hide their own incompetence) even when there are staff shortages. A good leader will not be afraid to do as well as say.

4) Do not punish good practice

As managers we can all be guilty of being over reliant on our highly skilled staff. We do this because we know that work will get done and to a satisfactory or high standard, right? As such, we often allocate the most complex or inundate them with a pile of cases. However, think about it, this isn’t good practice. In doing so, you are likely to increase staff burn out as they will be spread too thinly. At the very least, you will create resentment within a team, which can be toxic.

5) Good communication skills are essential

To manage effectively, it is wrong to assume that you can communicate with all staff at the same level. It should to be tailored to their own individual needs if staff are fully to process information. Remember learning styles when working with service users/customers? Well, the same applies here! Some learn best by doing and others by watching or following. As managers, you need to adapt to these variants.

6) Compliment staff work

All too often managers only comment on staff work if it is not of the expected level. This can create an atmosphere of hostility and one that will be counter-productive. Whilst it sounds a bit cheesy, positivity really does breed positivity. So, the next time a staff member does something well, tell them. It doesn’t hurt!

7) Accept responsibility for staff error

Sounds simply, but unfortunately, I have witnessed all too often a manager’s inability (or reluctance) to support or accept responsibility for staff error. Yes, if it is a reoccurring theme then performance issues may need to be looked into. However, staff need to feel supported the most when an error has occurred. It is up to you as the manager to identify how best they can learn from this experience (see point six).

8) Be careful not to create anxiety

Sometimes it is difficult as managers not to feel the strain of the job. Whilst this will always (to some extent) be a part of our role, it is essential that this is not fed through to front-line staff. It is your role to protect them from this feeling. By not safeguarding staff from the top down anxieties will result in panicked decision making. This is not good for them or their service users!

9) Embrace change

Change happens every day. As managers we can sometimes become complacent and stick within our ‘remit’ of policies, procedures and guidance. However, as is the very nature of the social care setting, a good manager must embrace and be fluid to change. Instead of being resistant, accept it. Think of it as moving forward with the times to improve standards for staff and service users.  By not being forthcoming with new ways of working, will only result in an out dated service and/or team.

10) Finally, enjoy the challenge

I love being a manager. I believe that by helping my staff, I am able (in a small way) to help service users get a better service – one that promotes their welfare and needs. Help staff develop and don’t be afraid to invest time (and money) in them. Enjoy watching them grow and take on new roles and/or responsibilities. It can be immensely rewarding!