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Traits of a good manager

There are many traits needed for a good, sucessful manager. Some are listed below:

1. Listening skills

2. Flexibility

3. Accountability

4. Approachability

5. Good decision maker

6. Commitment

7. Positive attitude

8. Delegation

9. Warmth and competence

10. Honesty

11. Patience

12. Empathy

13. Creativity

14. Communicative

15. Confident

16. Leadership

17. Cultural Affinity

You may think that no one possesses all these traits and that may be true,  but it is possible to develop these traits in a manager. Some may think that managers are born with these inherent talents, however with commitment to training and development  a person can become a good manager. The desire must be there for success and a willingness to learn and make changes.

Being a manager of others is a challenging job. People are often placed in a manager role because they have excelled in an operational or technical position. This is a frequent mistake in many businesses. The technical skills developed over time in a job are not a prerequisite for being a good manager. Training is crucial and unfortunately not made available in many cases. The result is often failure. This is a prime example of the “Peter principle” which is a concept in management  where the selection of a candidate for a position is based on the candidate’s performance in their current role, rather than on abilities relevant to the new role.

There are different kinds of management styles. A person’s style is observed in ways they make decisions, relate to subordinates and their leadership abilities. Management styles can vary based on the team and the kind of work to be done. It is important to be flexible as managing different types of employees requires different approaches. An ideal manager will be involved in these leadership activities.

• Setting clear and measurable performance goals  and getting buy-in from employees.

• Communicating regularly with employees on their performance and providing candid feedback.

• Assisting employees in understanding goals of the company.

• Listening to employees and considering their thoughts, ideas and concerns.

• Providing coaching regularly and consistently.

• Making training available.

• Providing professional growth opportunities.

• Allowing cross training and involvement in cross-functional projects.

• Acknowledging employee contributions.

• Being a role model.

• Ensuring actions are consistent with words.

• Being an encourager.

• Insisting on accountability for delivering high quality results.

A survey conducted by Ultimate Software and the Center for Generational Kinetics showed that 75 percent of workers say the top quality of an effective manager is approachability. More workers leave their jobs due to an incompetent manager than any other reason.

Focusing on the development of strong managerial and leadership traits will increase the rate of success for employees, bosses and the companies for whom they work. Employee engagement will increase and result in better customer service. Managers who seek out problems rather than burying their head in the sand will contribute to the overall success of the company. Being accessible and accountable along with engaging with their employees in a positive way will do wonders for individual and team success. 

Being a manager is not a popularity contest but one doesn’t have to be a jerk to be the boss. Being positive, optimistic and enthusiastic will create a desired contagiousness for your team and pay dividends for the entire staff and the company as a whole.

Becky Vaughn-Furlow retired from Trustmark Bank as executive vice president and human resources director. She can be contacted by emailing bvaughnfurlow@gmail.com.