What Traits Make For a Good Manager?

Joe Weinlick
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Being a dream boss who people love to work for isn't as hard as it seems. A recent employee survey by Predictive Index sheds light on key traits that help you gain respect and stand out as a good manager. Employees value leaders who bring passion, positivity and a clear sense of direction to the workplace. Learn what motivates workers to do their best if you want to be a successful leader.

Good Managers Aren't in Short Supply

Managers shape team culture, making them an important factor in attracting and retaining talent. Effective leadership should be a top priority for employers who want to cultivate an engaged workforce with the skills and guidance to bring fresh ideas. Fortunately, good managers appear to outnumber bad ones.

Predictive Index asked 4,273 people across 22 industries to rate their managers on a scale of one to 10, measured from "terrible" to "awesome." The average rating was 7.3, with 70 percent of respondents scoring managers in the "good" to "great" range. Only about 15 percent of ratings fell in the "bad manager" range with scores between one and four.

Employees Respect Well-Rounded Leaders

You don't have to be an all-knowing superhero to be a good manager. Employees understand that leaders aren't perfect, and they mainly want upbeat, even-handed managers who enable them to do their jobs well. After looking at a list of 105 traits, survey respondents chose a strong work ethic, honesty, sense of humor and confidence as the most important qualities of a good manager. Other traits in the top 10 include:

>Has a positive attitude
>Good at making decisions
>Shows recognition for good work
>Passionate about the job
>Knowledgeable in area of management
>Good grasp of the business as a whole

At first glance, it might be surprising to see "sense of humor" rank above crucial traits such as knowledgeability and decision-making skills. However, good managers have to be approachable to lead passionate, supportive teams built on trust and open communication.

Likeability plays a key role in how workers judge a manager overall. In the survey, 99 percent of respondents who rated managers as "great" also like their bosses personally and respect them professionally. By comparison, 41 percent of participants who rated managers as "bad" dislike their boss personally and professionally.

Bad Managers Lack Self-Awareness

One thing is clear. Unlikeable bosses possess selfish traits that poison the work environment. Survey respondents shared these common descriptions of bad managers:

>Fails to communicate clear expectations
>Plays favorites
>Shows no interest in employee development
>Badmouths employees
>Doesn't listen to feedback
>Betrays trust
>Puts personal needs first

Employees want leaders to be compassionate, transparent and accountable. Instead, self-centered managers create an atmosphere of distrust and inequity, where employees don't expect to be treated fairly or recognized for their work. Roughly 77 percent of workers with bad managers plan to leave their job, compared to 18 percent of people with great bosses.

Employees need effective leadership to reach their full potential and deliver better results for the company. Employers should focus on training and promoting the right people, so they can develop productive teams that propel the company forward. Experienced managers, what advice can you offer people who are new to leadership roles? What learning experiences helped you become a good manager? Share in the comments.

Photo courtesy of Sebastiaan ter Burg at Flickr.com


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