Newsletter by Barbara Mintzer

Barbara Mintzer's Newsletter
The Power of a Vision... a Leader's Journey

>> back to list of newsletters

March 2007
Three Qualities of a Competent Manager

Before I start this Newsletter, I want to extend my thanks to those of you who sent me e-mails regarding the managers you work for and how they create "community" at work. It was gratifying to see how many of you appreciate your managers and the work they do. The following e-mails are reflective of the many I have received:

"Thank you for the opportunity to tell you about Debra Henley, Public Health Nursing Director at Butte County Public Health Department in California. She is a role model for all of her staff. She takes care of many details, she cares about the people that work at Public Health and she understands about service to the community. She listens, she seeks our opinions, she has high expectations for us, and she is there to cheer us on."
Alice Kienzle
Butte County Public Health Department

"I would like to share with you that even though I no longer work with him, the nurse manager of CVICU at Florida Hospital Orlando, Jean Turcotte RN, fits every description of a good manager I have ever read, including yours."

"Here are some of the qualitites I love about my manager: she is a friend to everyone and still manages to be our leader; she is very organized and is on top of everything that goes on in our unit; she respects everyone's opinions when she presents a problem in the unit, and considers and weighs the things that we recommend to her; we always feel we are part of the decision making process though we don't make the final decision."

The qualities you most admire in your managers fall into two distinct categories. The first quality is your manager's organizational skills and how he/she does the job. The second quality is your manager's inter-personal communication skills and ability to relate to staff. This month's Newsletter will discuss how a manager fulfills her/her own job description, and the affect that has on the staff.

First and foremost, a manager must show competency in performing the job. As a manager, you are a role model, like it or not. Your staff looks up to you, they WANT to respect you, and they want to learn from you and emulate you if you are a good manager in their eyes. The following are three important questions to ask yourself, as they are strong indicators of performing a job with competence.

  • Do you approach your job duties with confidence and assurance?  When you get to work do you know what needs to be done, and have your prioritized those needs so the most important ones get done first?  Of course, things come up during the course of a day and we have to change on a dime, but knowing what needs to be done and doing it efficiently and effectively is a benchmark on how a manager is evaluated. If you need help with performing a particular job function, are you comfortable with seeking help, and do you know who to turn to for that assistance? I bring this point up because I have been working with managers for over 20 years now, and I have seen managers tell their staffs over and over "if you need help, let me know, and I will help you." They are genuine in their desire to be the person to help, but they are reluctant to show their vulnerability and seek help when they need it. This is a mistake. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness or incompetency, it is a sign of someone who genuinely wants to do the best job, and needs assistance in doing that. Saving face is not the criteria you are judged on; getting the job done is.
  • Are you a decision maker? Can you make a decision with the information you have in front of you, knowing that you can never be 100% right all the time? Another benchmark for grading a manager is his/her ability to make decisions. For people who are afraid of making mistakes, decisions can cause tremendous anxiety. Every detail is weighed over and over, much more time than is necessary is spent on the "research" process, and many opportunities are missed because a timely decision was needed, and you just weren't ready to make it. Can you take responsiblity for your decisions? If you make a mistake, are you willing to assume responsibility for that mistake, learn from it, and move on? When I thought about the managers I have worked for, one manager in particular kept coming up for me. One of the reasons he was such a good manager was that he was able to admit his mistakes, ask for advice, listen and respect input, and move on. We live and work at such a fast pace today, the ability to make decisions quickly and effectively is a quality managers must have to be on top of their jobs.
  • Can you deal with change? Change is the operative word in business today, and managers must be able to accept change to implement it throughout the organization. Change is not is disruptive, it is confusing, and it takes us out of our comfort zone. However, you cannot be a "status quo" manager and effectively implement change. How do you deal with change, personally as well as professionally? Do you look at change as an exciting opportunity, or do you dread it as something new to get used to? Your feelings about change will greatly impact the way you implement change in your department or organization. It is another part of your job that your staff will judge you. The way you present and frame change within your organization, postively or negatively, will be a direct reflection of how you handle change. If change is difficult for you, share this with your team, so you can all go through it supporting and helping each other. Organizational change requires teamwork, and as the leader of the team, you can set the stage so that change is implemented as smoothly as possible.

We have had a lot to think about in this Newsletter. Next month I will share an e-mail I received from a manager expressing her thoughts on what it is like to manage "both sides of the fence."  If you would like to share your insights with me, I would be most happy to hear from you. Your input helps your colleagues go through the challenges they are facing, knowing they are not alone. I always honor all requests for confidentiality. For past Newsletters, please log on to and click on Newsletters. They are archived by subject and date.

About the Author

Barbara Mintzer is a nationally recognized speaker and consultant with over 30 years in business and healthcare. She speaks from experience! Her how-to programs provide participants with immediately applicable skills and strategies for getting buy-in and commitment from staff and staying on top of their professions in today's competitive and constantly changing workplace. Barbara presents keynote talks and breakout sessions for international, national, regional and state Conferences. She also conducts management retreats and in-house seminars. She facilitates panel discussions and roundtables and can be a master of ceremonies for your event...a good investment for your meeting budget. To explore the possibility of having Barbara speak at your next event, or work with your staff/leadership team, please contact her office.

Phone: (805) 964-7546
FAX: (805) 964-9636

>> back to list of newsletters