The Qualities of a Good Manager

A company’s top priority in hiring is threefold: bring on top talent who will be productive quickly, and remain with the company over the long run. But it’s not a simple proposition, especially when you consider that study after study reveal that employee engagement and longevity are directly related to how they perceive and interact with their direct manager or supervisor. That means, even when hiring managers succeed in finding and hiring the best candidates, the new hires may not work out because of problems with team leadership. To hire and retain the best talent, and maximize their value to the organization, companies must ensure their ranks of managers are top notch as well.

Effective managers have a talent for dealing with people, which allows them to manage both ‘up and down’: they’re as effective dealing with their boss(es) as they are dealing with their direct reports. Depending on their exact role in the organization, their superior people skills also enable the best managers to interact successfully with customers and vendors. But there are some other core qualities which should be considered when hiring, promoting, and training team leaders, as we explore below.

Positive Attitude

In an ideal world, all company employees would have a positive attitude, but, HR professionals know, in practice, that is an unreasonable expectation. A consistent positive attitude is crucial, however, in the case of department managers and team leaders. Their positive approach to work serves as a model for their direct reports, and gains them the confidence of their superiors. It’s also important for fostering positive relationships with clients and vendors.

Being able to mask one’s own emotions, when necessary, and display a consistent ‘game face’ in the workplace requires a certain amount of fortitude, confidence and maturity. Not everyone has this special talent—which is important for bolstering morale. When the team leader is upset, angry or depressed, their mood filters down to others.

Patience and Flexibility

Related to a positive attitude is the ability to remain patient dealing with direct reports, even in the face of frustrating or challenging personalities and circumstances. It also helps to be flexible, understanding and responding to each direct report’s particular needs and motivations.

Excellent Communications Skills

Managers must have strong verbal and written communications skills in order to excel in their role. They must be able to communicate effectively throughout all levels of the organization, as well as with customers and suppliers. They must also be able to clearly communicate team members’ roles and responsibilities, as well as provide regular, constructive feedback. The ability to communicate effectively in today’s multicultural and multi-generational workplace is particularly important.

Problem-Solving Ability

In order to deal with the inevitable myriad of issues related to managing people on a day-to-day basis, managers must have strong problem-solving skills. Whether dealing with minor, daily, personnel issues or major organizational crises, managers must be able to systematically evaluate the situation and come up with a plan of action which will hopefully lead to a good solution. Being able to focus and prioritize is key. They should also have the confidence to empower their team members to contribute to the problem-solving process, fostering team cooperation and collaboration along the way.

Ability to Delegate

Related to the last point, above—empowering team members—good managers are also skilled at delegating work. They are good at recognizing talent on their team and don’t feel compelled to micro-manage every project.

Honesty and Trustworthiness

The best team leaders are always direct and forthright with their direct reports, letting them know what’s going on and where they stand at all times. They don’t ‘trash-talk’ team members behind their backs and are always willing to go to bat for them.

Compassion and Empathy

The best way a manager can motivate team members is showing them they care, and that they understand whatever challenges they might be facing. In order to do this effectively, a manager must be available and willing to really listen to what their direct reports have to say. Similar to the other core skills required of managers, this is not easy, especially in a high-pressure environment.


A good manager not only takes responsibility for everything their team does, they know how to establish a culture of accountability within their team so everyone is working collaboratively and constructively for the benefit of the entire team.

In order to motivate team members to pull their own weight for the greater good of the organization, it’s imperative that the team leader is able to clearly convey the organization’s mission, along with the need for everyone to do their part. Managers hold team members accountable through positive reinforcement, rewarding them regularly for a job well done.

Two other important qualities of a good manager is they’re always willing to pitch in to get the job done, and they know good team talent when they see it.

The challenge for businesses is figuring out how to identify and groom strong candidates for management roles—either from within the company or from outside the organization.

Contact LINK today for help finding effective team leaders.