Employee Engagement

13 Essential Qualities Of A Good Manager In 2023

By
Jasmine Panayides
"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." — Maya Angelou

This quote by Maya Angelou is a perfect way to describe the qualities of a good manager. With many teams operating in hybrid working models, being a good manager in today's world requires many different skills. Managers are handling so much, from being able to lead and motivate their team to having excellent communication and problem-solving abilities.

Whether you are managing remote employees, a cross-functional team, or just working on a project with a group of coworkers, certain management qualities are essential for success in today's workplace.

Trait Theory, one of the earliest leadership theories, posits that some people are simply born with the innate qualities required to be a good leader. Actually, research has shown that only 30% of leadership is inherent, and the remaining 70% can be developed through training and education.

Even if you don't have all the qualities of a good manager right off the bat, you can work toward developing your skillset with the right mindset and effort.

So, in this article, we will explore some of the essential management qualities needed to succeed in an ever-changing business landscape while giving tips to develop these skills in yourself and others.

Table of Contents

Why Hiring Quality Managers Matters

Quality management is essential for any successful business. Managing a business requires the ability to:

  • Lead and motivate a team
  • Communicate effectively
  • Solve problems creatively

Unfortunately, this can be incredibly challenging in today's rapidly changing workplace. With rapid changes in the workforce, it is essential to have managers with quality skills to make intelligent business decisions that will keep your company ahead of the curve.

And if you look at the research, the benefits of having quality managers are clear:

  • A manager influences 70% of the variance in employee engagement
  • 57% of people quit their jobs because of their manager
  • Companies with quality managers tend to stay in business for longer

To go even deeper into the ripple effect of what poor managers can do to a company, research conducted by Better Up found that:

  • Managers perceived to have low resilience harm team performance by 23%
  • Managers with low cognitive agility have a detrimental effect of 29% on their team's agility
  • Team innovation shrinks by 23% when they have a manager of low strategic thinking
  • Net promoter scores decrease by 20% when a team has a manager with low emotional regulation.

So, whether you are hiring for a management position or hoping to develop your own skills in this area, it is clear that quality managers are essential to the success of any organization.

With the right qualities and training, you can build a motivated and engaged team equipped to handle whatever challenges come their way.

A manager sitting in front of a computer talking on a phone

13 Qualities Of A Good Manager

While the Trait Theory may not have been correct in its claims on the innateness of management qualities, it hit the nail on the head with certain traits that make up the backbone of a good manager. 

1. They Walk With Confidence

One of the essential qualities of a good manager is the ability to project confidence, even in stressful or uncertain situations. This helps managers:

Employees can sense a lack of confidence from a mile away. And if they can sense it in their manager, they will likely be reluctant to follow them or take the risks necessary for innovation and growth.

Tips For Improving Self-Confidence

  • If you struggle with self-doubt or feel that your confidence is lacking, it's important to address the root of these feelings.
  • Challenge those negative thoughts by being proactive and taking action toward what you want to achieve. These actions can build momentum, which will improve your confidence and self-esteem.
  • Reach out for support. Whether from a friend, family member, or mentor/coach, seeking support from someone who has been in your position before can help you navigate the road to confidence in your leadership abilities.
  • Recognize your strengths and talents as a way to reinforce your self-confidence. Whether in the workplace or outside of work, find ways to celebrate and build on what you're good at, which will help boost your confidence.

2. They Lead With Empathy & Compassion

To lead with empathy and compassion means to put yourself in the shoes of others. You must try to see things from their perspective and understand where they're coming from. Empathy and compassion are crucial management qualities, as it helps you better understand your team and communicate effectively.

It also allows you to build strong relationships with your team members, which can lead to increased motivation and performance. For example, research conducted by the Catalyst during the peak of the pandemic found that 61% of employees with empathetic leaders reported higher levels of creativity than those with less empathetic leaders.

Tips For Showing Empathy & Compassion In The Workplace

  • One of the key ways that you can show empathy and compassion in the workplace is by paying attention to your body language. These cues can be important indicators of your level of kindness and compassion, so you must ensure you're sending the right signals. Ask yourself the following questions:
    —Are you making eye contact with others?
    —Are you sitting up straight and leaning toward others?
    —Do you tend to keep more distance between yourself and coworkers?
  • Listen actively. Take the time to understand others' perspectives, even if they differ from yours. Then, respond in a way that shows you've heard them. Ask follow-up questions and try to see things from their point of view rather than waiting for your turn to speak.
  • Try putting yourself in other people's shoes. Try to understand how they feel and what they're going through. This can help you be a more supportive and understanding leader, motivating your team to do their best work.
A mom sitting in front of a laptop with a baby in her lap.

3. They Have Effective Listening Skills

While empathy and compassion are essential qualities for managers, they are often challenging to implement without effective listening skills.

Managers can build strong relationships with their team members and show that they care about their well-being by:

  • Actively engaging with others
  • Listening to what they have to say
  • Responding in a way that supports them 

Not only is this crucial for maintaining a positive, supportive work environment, but it also has been shown to improve performance and creativity.

Tips For Honing Your Listening Skills In The Workplace

  • Be present and engaged. When communicating with someone in the workplace, you must be present mentally and physically. Your employees will know if your mind is elsewhere, so make a conscious effort to stay focused and listen to what the other person is saying.
  • Use verbal and non-verbal cues to show you are engaged in the conversation. Signals like nodding your head or using facial expressions convey understanding.
  • Asking questions are crucial to show that you are listening and engaged in the conversation. Questions help you better understand what the other person is saying and signal that you are interested in what they have to say.
  • Minimize distractions. Noisy office environments or constant notifications on your phone/computer can distract you from the task at hand. When conversing with someone in the workplace, be aware of these potential distractions and minimize them. For example, turn off your phone or put away other work-related materials so you can focus on the person speaking to you.
  • Repeat what the person speaking to you has said. For example, summarize the main points they have discussed or ask clarifying questions that demonstrate your understanding.

4. They Can Make Decisions Quickly And Effectively

As a manager, you need to be able to make decisions quickly and effectively.

Whether you are faced with an unexpected challenge or need to respond to changes in your team or industry, good decision-making skills are essential for success. Research shows a 95% correlation between decision-making effectiveness and financial results.

Tips To Help Improve Your Decision-Making Skills

  • Actively listen to others' perspectives and weigh their input when making decisions.
  • Maintain a clear head and avoid emotional or impulsive reactions when making decisions.
  • Objectively evaluate different options using logic, data, and experience as a guiding framework.
  • Ask for feedback once you have made a decision to understand how it was perceived and ways to improve in the future.

5. They Are Accountable For Their Own Decisions

Have you ever heard the saying the buck stops here? This saying is an excellent reminder that as a manager, it's up to you to own your decisions and be accountable for their outcomes. Whether things go well or poorly, taking responsibility for your decisions shows that you are confident in yourself and your choices.

Accountability is necessary because it builds trust. When employees know their manager is accountable for their decisions, they can trust that those decisions are being made with the company's best interests in mind. This knowledge creates a positive work environment and fosters a sense of confidence and security among team members.

Tips For Improving Your Accountability As A Manager

  • Be honest and transparent with your team members about your decisions and why you make them.
  • Take ownership of the good and bad outcomes. Then, use these experiences to learn what went well or what you could improve.
  • Seek out feedback from others and be open to criticism or suggestions, even if it's about a decision you have already made.
  • Embrace change as an opportunity for growth rather than getting stuck or fearing the future.
A man standing in front of a laptop in a coffee shop.

6. They Build Trust And Transparency

Did you know that employees who rate their managers high in transparency report more than 6x higher job satisfaction than those who don't?

As a manager, you inspire and motivate others toward achieving common goals. Building an inspirational environment requires creating a work environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas, concerns, and feedback with you. Transparency lies at the heart of building trust.

Tips For Increasing Transparency As A Manager

  • Encourage open communication and honest feedback up and down the chain of command.
  • Share relevant information with your team members. For example, data on performance goals, financials, or other metrics can help them understand how their work contributes to the bigger picture.
  • Be proactive in openly discussing your strengths and weaknesses. Ask for feedback from others to help you improve.
  • Ensure that team members feel comfortable speaking up when they have concerns or want more information on a particular decision or project.
  • Communicate clearly and concisely, rather than providing vague or unclear directions that can cause confusion at work.
  • Create opportunities for collaboration and brainstorming within your team. Encourage open discussion and feedback on the decisions you are making.

7. They Recognize A Job Well Done

Recognition goes a long way in boosting morale and motivating employees. Too often, managers fail to take the time to acknowledge or celebrate the good work of their team members. And while this may seem like a simple thing, it can have a profound impact on the overall performance and happiness of your team, not to mention how they perceive your management skills.

In a recent survey conducted by Nectar of 800 full-time employees in the United States, we found that:

  • 84% of surveyed employees felt recognition impacted their motivation to succeed at work.
  • 78% of surveyed employees would be more productive if they were recognized more frequently.
  • 40% of surveyed employees felt that recognition from their manager had the most significant impact on them.

Tips For Recognizing A Job Well Done As A Manager:

  • Take the time to formally acknowledge and celebrate team achievements through individual or group recognition. If appropriate, you can also consider offering a reward or bonus to recognize key milestones.
  • Be quick to say thank you when someone has gone above and beyond. Ensure your team members feel appreciated for all of their hard work.
  • Go out of your way to praise the efforts and contributions of your team members. Don't take them for granted or focus heavily on their flaws.
  • Encourage your team members to recognize and celebrate each other's successes as a way of building up a sense of camaraderie and teamwork.
Create a culture people won't want to leave with Nectar

8. They Treat Everyone Fairly

Whether they admit it or not, many managers have a personal favorite among their teams. We are all human. While forming closer relationships with certain employees is natural, it's important to remember that everyone deserves to be treated fairly.

As a manager, your role is to set an example for the rest of your team. This example includes showing respect to everyone on your team by treating them fairly and equitably. If not, you risk alienating certain team members, causing conflict and tension within your group, and possibly losing some of your best talent.

Tips For Treating Everyone Fairly As A Manager Include:

  • Listen attentively to all team members without giving any one person preferential treatment.
  • Actively review project assignments and promotions to ensure they are distributed fairly.
  • Encourage dialogue among your team members, so everyone feels like their opinions are valued and listened to.
  • Document your decisions or feedback in writing, whenever possible, to provide clear evidence of your fairness and impartiality as a manager.
A group of employees sitting around a table, with one standing up to present.

9. They Are Consistent And Reliable

As a manager, your employees will quickly form opinions about everything that you say and do. Actions such as how you:

  • Handle a conflict with a team member
  • Show up to work on time
  • Interact with other managers or team members

Your actions have a powerful impact on those around you.

If you are inconsistent or unreliable in your actions, this can quickly lead to losing trust among your team members. They will have difficulty knowing what to expect from you on any given day. This erosion in confidence can lead to questioning whether they can count on you to make sound decisions or provide the support they need.

Tips For Improving Your Consistency And Reliability As A Manager

  • Set clear expectations and goals for your team. Provide regular feedback to let them know how they are doing.
  • Foster an environment of accountability and transparency so that your team members feel comfortable coming to you with questions or concerns.
  • Be conscious of your habits and schedule. Make sure your work is organized and structured, so you are consistent in your approach.
  • Stay in close communication with your team members, whether it's through regular check-ins or ongoing conversations about their progress on specific projects.

10. They Know How To Delegate

The power of delegation is often overlooked by many managers, who mistakenly believe they are somehow more capable or better than their team members. However, a good manager can strategically delegate tasks and projects to their team members. After all, delegation lets workers build their skills and develop a sense of ownership over their work.

Teams need direction and the freedom to explore new ideas on their own. A good manager will find a balance between these two concepts.

Tips To Improve Your Delegation Skills:

  • Make sure to carefully assess each team member's strengths and weaknesses so that you can match projects to the right people.
  • Help your team members clearly understand their goals and objectives for any given project.
  • Encourage your team members to come up with their own ideas or solutions whenever possible rather than simply following your instructions blindly.
  • Set clear deadlines and parameters for each project while allowing room for creativity and flexibility in the process.
  • Continuously provide feedback to your team members, both positive and constructive, to help them grow professionally over time.
The Eisenhower Matrix: how to decide what to do, schedule, delegate, or delete

11. They Have Mastered The Art Of Goal-Setting

Goals give people something to strive for and are critical to any successful team. But it's not about setting unachievable goals designed for failure, as these tend to affect self-esteem and motivation negatively. Instead, employees need to set specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely goals, also known as SMART goals.

A good manager understands goal-setting and takes the time to set clear short and long-term objectives with their team members. They work with their team members to define the steps that need to be taken to achieve these goals and are always available to provide support, help, or advice when needed.

Tips For Setting Effective Goals As A Manager:

  • Ensure that goals are clearly defined and measurable, so there’s no confusion about what success looks like.
  • Be realistic about the time and resources required to achieve each goal, and balance this with what is achievable within that timeframe.
  • Involve your team members in setting these goals, so everyone has a shared sense of ownership over their achievement.
  • Continuously track progress towards each goal, and provide regular feedback to help your team members stay on track and make necessary adjustments.
  • Celebrate smaller goals that are achieved along the way to reinforce positive behaviors and motivate your team to reach larger goals.
An employee standing in front of a whiteboard presenting in a room.

12. They Have A Knack For Resolving Conflict

No matter how close your team is, conflicts are bound to arise. As a good manager, it is your responsibility to help resolve these conflicts in a timely and effective way. This means:

  • Taking the time to listen to both sides of the issue
  • Understanding the underlying root causes behind any disagreements
  • Using your problem-solving skills and people skills to find solutions that work for everyone

Tips For Resolving Conflict As A Manager:

  • Establish clear guidelines and processes for handling disagreements, including how to escalate issues if necessary.
  • Listen carefully to both sides of the story, without allowing your personal bias or emotions to influence you.
  • Remain objective and calm when dealing with conflict, and focus on finding a win-win solution that is fair for everyone involved.
  • Work with your team members to find creative and mutually beneficial solutions, rather than simply imposing your ideas on them.
  • Be prepared to make difficult decisions, if necessary, to prevent issues from dragging on and creating even more tension or animosity within the team.

13. They Practice What They Preach

In other words, a good manager walks the walk and talks the talk. This means they set a good example for their team with their actions/behaviors and actively encourage others to follow suit.

Whether it's promoting healthy work-life balance, encouraging ethical behavior and integrity in all dealings, or modeling the organization's values, a good manager is constantly setting a high bar for their team and inspiring them to meet those expectations.

Tips On Practicing What You Preach As A Manager:

  • Be aware of your actions and behaviors at all times, and ensure that you are setting the right example for your team.
  • Lead by example in all aspects of your work, including communicating with others, dealing with conflict, and managing time and resources.
  • Communicate openly with your team members about your expectations for their behavior, and work together to establish clear standards of conduct that everyone can follow and uphold.
  • Encourage your team members to hold each other accountable for meeting your standards and be prepared to intervene if necessary.
  • Foster a culture of honesty and integrity in everything you do, by promoting transparency and challenging unethical or dishonest behavior whenever you see it.

How To Hire High-Quality Managers

If you're looking to build a high-performing team, hiring top-quality managers are essential. A good manager can help your team reach their goals and achieve success and act as a role model and advocate for best practices within your organization.

To start, it's essential to recognize the qualities of a good leader. Then, focus on finding managers who embody these qualities and can effectively lead your team to success.

It's all good to say that you want a manager with specific qualities, but how do you go out and find one? Here are some tips to help you navigate the hiring process and find high-quality managers that will take your team to the next level:

  • Start by building a clear job description, outlining the skills and qualities you are looking for in a manager.
  • Look for candidates with a proven track record of success in their previous roles and within your industry or sector.
  • Actively seek out candidates who have experience managing teams or projects, as this will give you an idea of how they perform under pressure and handle conflict.
  • Pay close attention to the way candidates interact with others during the interview process, and look for signs of empathy, collaboration, and leadership potential.
  • Consider conducting performance or personality assessments to help you identify candidates with the right mix of skills and qualities for your team.
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Conclusion

There you have it, 13 vital traits and qualities of good management. By focusing on finding managers that embody these qualities, you can build a high-performing team equipped to succeed in any situation.

If you're looking for a way to empower your managers and leaders to value and recognize their teams, sign up for a demo with Nectar. Our powerful recognition software can help you create a culture of recognition and appreciation, and build the strong team you've always wanted.

Actionable workplace tips & insights for fellow people lovers

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