A Team Activity that Takes Managers to the Next Level

Lousy mangers are like a rash that keeps coming back. Harter and Clifton report that spending time with their manager is the worst part of the day for employees. (Wellbeing at Work)

Great managers succeed because they know how to succeed. Results are a by-product.

Ostrich mouth

Any fool can pressure people to meet goals.

Stumbling managers are so busy doing the work that they don’t work on how they do the work. Eventually they lose their legs; results dwindle, frustration increases, and negative practices take hold.

The Manager of the Year team activity:


Before they come to the meeting, ask your team to reflect on the best manager they know.

  1. What makes them standout?
  2. What are their top strengths?
  3. What patterns and daily practices do you observe?
  4. How do they interact with employees?
  5. How do they solve problems, delegate responsibilities, inspire team members, and practice accountability?
  6. How do they balance challenge and support?
  7. How did they practice accountability and giving feedback?

Write at least three paragraphs that explain why your manager deserves the Manager of the Year award.

You cannot include the obvious. You can’t say, they worked harder than anyone else.

Meeting open:

Imagine advocating for someone to receive the Manager of the Year award. The pursuit of results is necessary but knowing the core skills and behaviors that produce remarkable results is genius.

Any fool can pressure people to meet goals.

Have each participant read their endorsement. (Names aren’t necessary.)

Discuss. Clarify.

Make a list of top management skills and behaviors based on your team’s conversation.


With the Top Manager Award in mind, what’s one way you might emulate their skills or behaviors? Be specific and actionable. Working harder isn’t an answer.

What might you adapt or add to the above activity to make it more effective?

What are the skills and behaviors of the top manager in your organization?

How might you emulate one of their behaviors today?