I have read a few books, exchanged views with people, and spent time introspecting about this. In my belief, there are three basic qualities of a Great Manager:
At its fundamental level, every Manager should have a “Strong Work Ethic”. Great Managers are self-motivated, self-disciplined, conduct themselves with warmth and trustworthiness. They are often the most hard-working in a team.
A Great Manager is excellent in at least one area that matters to the team. The Manager is continuously honing and developing this capability, while also imparting it to others. So, in a nutshell “Skill and Continuous Learning” is a characteristic of a great manager.
Great Managers always have the “Right Intent” at heart. They take on challenges not because they want the next big promotion or accolades from others. They are not corrupted by the menial matters of the world but are motivated by a bigger purpose. They will make mistakes but are always guided by a moral compass that puts the benefits to the others at its center, no matter what!
I believe that family and environment play an important role in the development of Managers into Leaders. I was fortunate to have received good grounding from my grandparents and parents. To them, upholding the principle was sacrosanct. I was also fortunate to have had a similar environment at my previous company, where it was not as much about revenue & profit as it was about doing things with the right intent. I am indebted to them forever!
Many of us still don’t evolve into Leaders even after having the right intent, great skills and a strong work ethic. Managers can only become Leaders by conducting themselves with “HUMILITY”. Constant bragging and talk about personal achievements will isolate Leaders from their team, thus forming a culture of ‘me’ and ‘them’. Humility may be construed as a weakness in today’s world, where showboating one’s work is a means to establishing a superior position within a team. Yet, in the long run, Humility by far is the greatest quality to developing oneself without getting into a hubris, not introspecting, not accepting failure, and eventually perishing.