The 13 traits of amazing managers

13 traits of amazing managers

This article is based on research for our recent eGuide, How to hire amazing managers.

According to the State of the American Manager, companies hire the wrong manager 82 per cent of the time. They either promote a star performer that doesn’t have a knack for management, or they bring in outside candidates with plenty of experience and skills, but not a lot of raw talent.

So how can you avoid making the wrong hire? By looking at personality traits and soft skills, rather than just experience.

We asked John Wright, president of the Canadian Management Centre, for his top personality traits and skills to look for.

An amazing manager is:

Self-motivated: “It starts with how good they are at self-management. So they’ve got to be very focused on their own self-management and self-motivated.”

People-oriented: “Meaning that they enjoy interacting with other people, they enjoy the responsibility of managing people, they enjoy checking in on people in a positive way.”

Passionate for success for and through others: “The best managers that I’ve ever seen are the ones that know that the glory comes in building a high-performance team and letting the team members get the credit that they deserve for what they’ve done.”

Results-focused: “They’ve got to be comfortable with taking responsibility for whatever results their team is supposed to be generating and playing a meaningful role in the pursuit of getting those results.”

Empathetic: “Guaranteed they’re going to face challenges with their team members. But how they react to it, and if they make their team feel understood, feel supported, that’ll make a huge difference to how loyal they are to the manager and ultimately to the organization.”

An amazing manager can demonstrate:

Substance: “If they don’t have the core expertise or substance of the function they’re managing, why would anybody on their team respect their point of view?”

Productivity and focus: “If they’re trying to help others manage their time, manage their tasks, manage their productivity, they’d better be good at it themselves.”

Delegation: “The more effective they are as a manager in delegating properly, the better they are at setting themselves and the person they’re dealing with up for success. Because it’s crystal clear what their expectations are, what the timelines are, and what resources they’re offering.”

Planning: “They’ve got to take a subset from the business plan and then do the plan for their team. So planning skills are important.”

Performance management: “It’s one of those skills that is quite trainable but if they’re really good at it they’ll get their team to a higher level of performance faster, and sustain it.”

Three next-level traits

According to Wright, these are the three traits that take candidates from good to great. Consider these your deal-makers:

They know how to collaborate: “As the composition of the workforce is changing, as more baby boomers are leaving the workforce, really good collaboration skills are really really important. As the managers managing this new dynamic with new age cohorts, that ability to be an effective person with collaboration skills is huge.”

They put their team ahead of themselves: “If your team members realize that every time they do something well their manager is just going to take credit for it, where’s their motivation?”

They have a good daily attitude: “Some managers are doing the job, but frankly are not that engaged. And then you’ve got other managers that really are psyched. They’ve really bought into what the organization does, what their role is, and how they make a contribution. That positive daily attitude, is hugely contagious with the people around them.”

Having trouble keeping these traits straight? Here’s a little infographic to help you remember:

13 traits of amazing managers

Remember: to learn how to find managers with these traits, download our free eGuide: How to hire amazing managers.

See also:
3 signs you need to hire a manager
How to get the really top-tier managers to accept your job offer


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