The Four Habits of “Champion” Managers

By Abel Pagaling

(This article was originally posted at

TFCCI am fortunate to have worked with excellent managers, or “champion” managers, in the last few years and have picked up good management “habits” from them.

I say ‘”habits” because good management is about consistency. And consistency builds credibility.

Each manager did things differently, but there are four habits I noticed that champion managers do on a consistent basis that motivates their staff to perform at a high level.

  1. Staff Involvement

There’s a saying that “involvement leads to commitment”.

My previous manager who is now a VP always involved his employees in his projects. He reviewed every major decision with his staff and asked for input. He wanted us to challenge his thoughts, find weaknesses in his logic, and see how his choices could improve. He expected us to “test” his reasoning. Sometimes, our team meetings became team debates. He made sure we were involved in his decision-making process.

My favorite quote from him was, “If everyone agrees with me, then no one is thinking.”

And here’s what I admire about his approach: He delegated key tasks to his employees. Not only were we involved in the discussions, but he also made sure we were part of the action as well.

  1. Celebrate Success

Another manager I reported to always celebrated success.  It was her way of showing that the team is moving forward and that we are achieving results.  She was concerned if we didn’t have anything to celebrate about. She took us to dinner or lunch after each project completion and reminded us how hard we worked to get the job done.

When I became a manager under her, she said to me, “Abel, if getting things done is the food for the mind, recognizing that things got done is the food for the heart. Recognition creates dedication!”

I’ve since adopted this to my management style.  I always remember that a team that doesn’t have anything to celebrate about is either stagnant or in decline.

  1. They Say It Respectfully

Employees are not perfect, and so are managers.

We all make mistakes, which is why “continues feedback” is imperative. But here’s the key when it comes to giving feedback – RESPECT.

Constructive feedback can become destructive if it is delivered in a disrespectful manner.

Going back to my old boss who is now a VP, if I made a mistake or didn’t meet my objectives, he said it to me as it is, but in a very respectful way. He also asked how we can move things forward. This made me work harder for him because I know he respects me and my contribution to the team.

You know you’re giving constructive feedback when your employee doesn’t feel threatened that he or she risk being fired for his or her mistakes.  Sure, some mistakes could lead to job termination, but for the majority of the time, all that’s needed is a respectful, one-on-one talk to go over what happened, how it was handled, what went wrong, why, and how it can be done better next time.

  1. Listen, Listen, and Listen

I had a manager who loved to talk and talk. She was a talking head at all our meetings. She was a very smart, bright lady, but I felt like an audience in our meetings instead of a participant. We got things done, but I wasn’t motivated to perform. My work became just another job instead of something I love to do where I can showcase my skills and take pride in my accomplishments.

As a manager, I do my best to listen, listen, and listen some more.  It’s a difficult habit to just listen, but my employees are more involved in the discussion because I listen to them. This adds to their motivation. And the more I listen, the more creative they get with their input, and the more confident they become. I don’t always agree with what they say, but the point is that I take the time to listen.  I’m showing them that I value their opinion and that their perspective matter.

I believe being a “champion” manager is having excellent “habits” that you automatically do each day.

Anyone can fill a management role, but only those who make it a habit of involving their employees, celebrate team successes, give feedback respectfully, and those who listen to their staff are the ones that become “champion” managers.


Abel Pagaling is a co-founder of FCM.

He is a manager, an entrepreneur, a writer, a community servant, and a motivational speaker. His passion is personal development and leadership.



Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.