10 Traits of an Effective Manager

A recent survey from the Predictive Index asked 5,000 participants to rate their manager from 1 ("terrible manager") to 5 ("world-class manager"). Managers with ratings of 1 or 2 were classified as bad managers, managers with a rating of 3 were considered average, and managers with ratings of 4 or 5 were classified as good managers.  It is encouraging to note that 65% of respondents rated their managers either "good" or "world-class," while only 13% considered them "terrible" or "not-so-great."

What are the traits of these good or world-class manager?   

1. Cares About the Wellbeing of the Team.

With all of the turbulence and uncertainties in the world today, your staff needs to see you as kind, helpful, caring, and compassionate. Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” This may take the form of handwritten thank you notes or genuinely asking about your employees’ hobbies, passions, and families.

2. Recognize the Importance of Work/Life Balance.

Persistent stress results in fatigue, illness, forgetfulness, sleep deprivation, aggravation, and irritability. As a manager, it is essential that you make every effort to empower your staff to achieve work/life balance. This includes, but is not limited to, self-awareness, support from colleagues, nutrition and exercise, recovery strategies, rearranging priorities, and time management.

3. Good Communicator. 

Effective communication improves business performance, builds teamwork, and enhances the customer experience.  Your communication skills allow you to set vision and direction, provide updates, talk about issues, solve problems, confirm that employees understand their responsibilities, and provide feedback. A gifted communicator identifies and overcomes barriers to communication and adjusts his or her message to the audience.

4. Honesty, Transparency, and Authenticity.

To build trust with your colleagues, you must be honest. The best leaders tell their employees the truth – whether good or bad. Transparency promotes openness between managers and employees. It helps your staff feel valued and encourages creativity. Your staff wants to know that you are genuine and true to your core.  Authenticity is the degree to which your actions are congruent with your values. Being honest, transparent, and authentic inspires loyalty and engagement.

5. Make Work Fun and Rewarding.

Bringing some amusement into the atmosphere lowers stress, elevates engagement, and drives retention. Happy employees are healthier, more creative, and more productive. A fun working environment improves communication, collaboration, and attracts an audience. Consider giving each team member a nickname, take trivia time-outs, start every meeting with a bit of laughter, recognize pets, host happy hours, celebrate birthdays, and other milestones.

6. Empower the Staff and Do Not Micro-Manage.

Manager who constantly peer over the shoulders of their staff sends a message that they are not confident that their employees will do a good job. There are significant benefits to an empowered staff that is given the freedom and authority to make decisions. They are liberated and energized to come up with ideas, fix problems, and implement solutions without having to go back to you for permission.  

7. Active Listening.

Great managers are active listeners. They have mastered the skill of being attentive to the point where they are able to repeat back what they heard. While it does not necessarily mean that you agree with the employee’s position, it demonstrates respect, builds relationships, and garners trust.

8. Recognizing Effort and Giving Credit Where it is Due.

When you find an opportunity to acknowledge and recognize the performance of your staff, you uplift spirits and motivate future performance. Giving credit to others does not cost anything, yet it has a huge return on investment including the ability to retain talent. Leading with gratitude strengthens relationships and enhances culture.

9. Development of Your Team.

Your ability to drive the personal growth of your team is the hallmark of an effective manager.  Like a good coach, you send in plays from the sideline yet call timeouts if there is a teachable moment. Timely and consistent feedback is key. Your staff should feel comfortable in approaching you with concerns and questions.

10. Positive Attitude.

The power of a positive attitude in the workplace aligns with employee engagement, team morale, and increased retention.  Your attitude has a direct impact on the work performance of your staff as well as your customer experience journey. Your positivity is a calming influence that brings your team closer to you.