What Makes a Manager?

What are the TOP 30 characteristics in an effective manager? Generates great discussion.

Learning Objectives

  • To establish key attributes of efffective managers, supervisors and team leaders
  • To understand the concept of the 'whole' manager
  • To reflect on participants' own strengths and weaknesses
  • To pinpoint areas for performance improvement
  • Participants

    Up to 4 teams of 3-6 per team

  • Timing

    1 hour

  • Uses a computer?

    Not required

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    £15

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    (1-2 working days)

    £29

  • World delivery

    (1-5 working days)

    £39

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The Activity

What are the TOP 30 characteristics in an effective manager? What Makes a Manager? allows teams to explore the key attributes of great managers. It generates much discussion, so keep an eye on the clock!

Your teams each have 72 cards each stating a characteristic that a manager or supervisor might possess - some desirable, some less so, some irrelevant.

Participants must sort the cards into four categories of attributes: Personal, Organisational, Interpersonal and Irrelevant. They then narrow down the number of cards and agree on just 30, across the three categories, that in their view describes their ideal manager. Their definitive 'profile of a manager' is then scored against a definitive profile supplied in the pack.

How much do their selections deviate from the definitive profile? Can they offer robust reasoning in support of their choice? Where are the individuals' strengths? What areas for improvement are flagged up?

The sorting and eliminating process generates masses of valuable discussion around manager attributes. Participants take away a lot of useful learning from the session - and thoroughly enjoy the process.

Trainer's Role

  • Issue a set of cards to each team and allow 20 - 30 minutes for sorting into the four categories.
  • Use the secret Trainer's code to double-check teams have put cards in the correct categories.
  • Allow teams another 20 minutes to select their top 30 cards.
  • Issue the Assessment Forms to profile their ideal manager.
  • Lead a discussion on team profiles and manager attributes and score each team.
  • Trainer's Notes on how to run and debrief What Makes a Manager? are supplied in the pack.

Pack Contents

  • Trainer's Notes
  • Card Sets x4
  • Assessment Forms

We use 'What Makes a Manager?' a lot - especially with new managers. It gets them talking and focusing on what management is all about.

F. Brawn, 3M UK

I use 'What Makes a Manager?' for internal training as well as recruitment and it works well in both situations. The best learning points come from observing teams' conversations to identify the main areas and methods they used to select and eliminate. A very good icebreaker, it helps bring teams together.

Estelle Harris, Robert Muckle Solicitors

Dynamic and easy to run. We used 'What Makes a Manager?' at a conference for 150 motor dealer business managers and we were able to collate the views of a high number of managers to bring out both people and practical skills required by a modern manager.

Mike Wilding, BMW Financial Services GB

I ran the What Makes a Manager activity in the first module of our ‘New Managers’ programme. It worked really well and the delegates really enjoyed it. It helped them to identify that being a good manager is about having good people skills – as well as technical skills. It reinforced nicely, that what they were about to learn over the course of the programme is really important.

Sarah Stevens, Learning and Development Business Partner, TLT LLP

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