Best Qualities and Traits of a Good Manager

Good managers are crucial to the success of any organization. They provide clear direction, foster a positive work environment, and ensure teams work together efficiently to achieve company goals. With good management, companies can improve employee retention, productivity and ultimately increase their bottom line.

A good manager needs to possess several traits and abilities. In this article, we will cover the top 15 qualities and characteristics of a good manager, along with examples of how they can benefit an organization.

1.    Communication

Effective communication is essential for managers to convey clear expectations, provide feedback, and build relationships with their team. Managers who are skilled communicators can ensure their direct reports are aware of their respective assignments and responsibilities, guide how to improve performance, and foster a positive work environment. Good communication also helps managers to resolve conflicts, build trust, and motivate their teams.

Examples of suitable communication traits as a manager:

  • Holding regular team meetings to discuss progress, challenges, and goals.
  • Encourage open dialogue and feedback.
  • Clearly articulate tasks and expectations.

2.    Problem-solving

Managers are often called upon to solve complex problems and make difficult decisions. Effective problem-solving requires managers to use critical thinking skills to identify the root causes of the problem, gather and analyze data, and develop and implement a solution that addresses the underlying issues.

Examples of methods to implement problem-solving abilities as a manager:

  • Identifying a bottleneck in the production process by analyzing data
  • Implementing new workflow methods to increase efficiency.
  • Develop creative solutions to overcome challenges based on key trends.

3.    Collaboration

Collaboration is essential for managers to build strong relationships with their team members and other organizational stakeholders. Effective collaboration requires managers to communicate effectively, build trust, and work together to achieve common goals.

Examples of ways to develop collaboration as a department manager: 

  • Promoting cross-functional projects and open communication between departments.
  • Implement collaboration tools like Slack or Microsoft teams
  • Involve the team members in the brainstorming process
  • Invite your coworkers to social activities beyond work
  • Encouraging teamwork through brainstorming activities
  • Fostering a collaborative environment by having open spaces and a coffee corner.

4.    Delegation

Effective delegation is essential for managers to maximize their team's productivity and develop their team members' skills. Managers who delegate tasks and responsibilities effectively can free up their time to focus on strategic initiatives while providing opportunities for their team members to learn and grow. Delegation also helps to build trust and confidence between managers and their team members and can improve team morale and motivation. Effective managers know how to distribute duties and responsibilities according to each team member's skills and competencies.

Find below several examples of delegation methods as a manager:

  • Assigning a skilled programmer to lead a critical software development project.
  • Encourage brainstorming sessions to tackle challenges.
  • Implement training on problem-solving techniques.
  • Encourage team members to approach problems creatively.

5.    Motivation

A decisive responsibility of managers is to motivate their team members to achieve their goals and perform at their best. Motivated employees are more engaged, productive, and committed to the organization's success. Effective managers use a variety of ways to inspire and motivate their team members.

As a manager, you have multiple examples of strategies to inspire and motivate tour team members: 

  • Setting challenging but attainable goals and recognizing team members for their accomplishments.
  • Recognize and reward hard work and achievements.
  • Provide opportunities for professional development.
  • Foster a positive and engaging work environment.

6.    Performance management

Effective performance management helps managers to set clear expectations, provide feedback, and hold team members accountable for their actions and results. Performance management also involves providing opportunities for team members to develop their skills and improve their performance.

How do managers showcase good performance management skills?

  • Conducting regular performance reviews and discussing areas for growth and development.
  • Set goals and KPIs according to each employee's abilities and level.
  • Use tools to track performance and progress.
  • Coach your team members to achieve goals.
  • Set solid areas of development for the direct reports.
  • Provide constructive feedback to help team members improve.

7.    Decision-making

Managers are responsible for making important decisions that impact the organization and their team. Effective decision-making requires managers to gather and analyze information, consider different perspectives, and evaluate potential outcomes. Good decision-making also involves taking risks and making tough choices when necessary.

Examples of decision-making situations when the stakes are high as a team manager: 

  • Deciding to pivot a project's direction based on new data or market trends.
  • Gather all necessary information before making a decision.
  • Involve team members in the decision-making process when appropriate.
  • Stand by their decisions and take responsibility for the outcomes.

8.    Conflict resolution

Conflict is inevitable in any workplace, and managers skilled at resolving conflicts can help maintain a positive work environment and cultivate close bonds with their teammates. Effective conflict resolution requires managers to listen actively, Identify the conflict's underlying causes, and work with the parties concerned to identify a resolution that will work for both.

Examples of conflict resolution techniques to have as a manager: 

  • Mediating a disagreement between team members and finding a mutually beneficial solution.
  • Address and resolve conflicts within the team to maintain a positive work environment.
  • Encourage open and respectful communication.
  • Support reaching an agreement between a senior and new hire when there is an argument professionally.
  • Implement conflict resolution training.

9. Adaptability

In today's quickly evolving corporate landscape, adaptable managers can navigate uncertainty and make timely decisions. They can adjust their approach to meet the changing needs of the organization and their team. Flexible managers are better equipped to handle unexpected challenges and crises and quickly pivot to implement new strategies or processes.

Examples of adaptability skills as a manager:

  • Adapting project plans to account for unforeseen challenges or changes in the market.
  • Stay updated on industry trends and changes.
  • Encourage continuous learning within the team.
  • Be open to new ideas and approaches.

10. Strategic thinking

Good managers who think strategically are better equipped to anticipate future challenges and opportunities and make decisions that support the organization's long-term success. Strategic thinking involves analyzing data, identifying trends, and developing and implementing plans that align with the organization's goals and objectives.

Examples of abilities that great managers possess: 

  • Crafting a 5-year plan to expand the company's market share.
  • Regularly review and adjust strategies as needed.
  • Encourage team members to think strategically.
  • Set long-term goals for the team.
  • Developing and executing long-term plans helps managers align their team's efforts with the company's vision.

11. Time management

Effective time management is essential for managers to balance their own responsibilities with the needs of their team and the organization. Skilled time managers can prioritize tasks, delegate effectively, and avoid distractions that impede productivity. Good time management also involves setting realistic goals and deadlines, and being flexible when unexpected priorities arise.

How to demonstrate good time-management skills as a manager:

  • Developing a timeline with milestones and monitoring progress towards goals.
  • Set priorities for jobs and make sure that projects are finished on time.
  • Implement time management tools and techniques.
  • Encourage team members to manage their time effectively.

12. Integrity

Managers who demonstrate integrity are trusted by their team members and other stakeholders in the organization. Integrity involves honesty, transparency, and ethics in all interactions and decisions.

How to demonstrate integrity as a supervisor:

  • Admitting to a mistake and taking responsibility for its consequences.
  • Uphold company values and policies.
  • Be transparent with their team.
  • Treat all team members fairly and equally.

13. Mentoring

Effective mentoring helps managers to develop their team members' skills and knowledge and prepare them for future leadership roles. Mentoring involves providing guidance, feedback, and support to help team members achieve their goals and reach their full potential.

Example of good mentoring abilities as a team manager:

  • Offering one-on-one coaching sessions 
  • Encouraging employees to attend industry conferences.
  • Match junior employees with more senior colleagues so that the exchange of experience happens faster.

14. Empathy

Managers who demonstrate empathy are likelier to cultivate close bonds with their teammates and create a positive work culture. Empathy helps managers understand their team members' needs, concerns, and motivations, enabling them to provide support and guidance tailored to each individual. Empathetic managers are also better equipped to handle difficult situations, such as conflicts or performance issues, with sensitivity and tact.

How to demonstrate empathy as a manager?

  • Recognizing when an employee is overwhelmed and offering additional support or resources.
  • Regularly check in on team members' well-being.
  • Show understanding and flexibility in personal emergencies.
  • Encourage a supportive and inclusive team culture.

15. Accountability

Accountable managers take responsibility for their actions and decisions and hold themselves and their team members to high-performance standards. Accountability helps build trust and credibility with team members and other organizational stakeholders.

How to demonstrate accountability as a manager:

  • Admit mistakes and learn from them.
  • Hold regular performance reviews.
  • Encourage team members to take ownership of their work.

Discover additional accountability examples at work.

16. Resilience (Bonus)

Resilient managers are better equipped to handle the challenges and stresses of the job and bounce back from setbacks and failures. Resilience involves being adaptable, persistent, and maintaining a positive attitude in the face of adversity.

Team leaders can demonstrate resilience by implementing the following activities:

  • Maintain a positive attitude during challenging times.
  • Encourage team members to see failures as opportunities to learn.
  • Provide support and resources to help team members cope with stress.

Worst mistakes good managers should avoid

Another mental model to consider in your day-to-day work is avoiding the common mistakes of toxic management. The following traits should be avoided so that you become respected, rewarded and followed within your organization:

  • Micromanagement: Overly controlling every aspect of employees' work can stifle creativity and autonomy, decreasing job satisfaction and productivity.
  • Inconsistency: Managers who are inconsistent in their expectations or treatment of employees can create confusion and undermine trust.
  • Ignoring feedback: Failing to listen and respond to employee feedback can lead to disengagement and missed opportunities for improvement.
  • Poor communication: Inadequate communication can lead to misunderstandings, confusion, and a lack of alignment with company goals.
  • Favoritism: Showing preferential treatment to certain employees can create resentment and damage team morale.

Key takeaways for good team managers

If you're just being promoted to the role of team manager, then these are the details you need to know when it comes to running your job successfully:

  • Empower your team: Give your team members the resources, autonomy, and support they need to succeed.
  • Lead by example: Demonstrate the work ethic, values, and commitment you expect from your team.
  • Communicate effectively: Convey expectations, listen actively, and be approachable for feedback and discussions.
  • Foster a positive work environment: Encourage collaboration, support work-life balance, and resolve conflicts to create a positive and productive atmosphere.
  • Invest in your team's growth: Provide opportunities for professional development, mentorship, and growth to help your team members reach their full potential.

A good manager can create a robust and cohesive team capable of achieving great things.

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