There are many obvious qualities of a good manager—they are often empathetic, driven, strong communicators, and in some cases, natural-born leaders. But some leadership characteristics are less obvious than others.
Your company is only as strong as the talent it attracts. And given that this is the pool from which you’ll likely draw future leaders, you need to ensure that you are correctly identifying your top employees. Of course, when assessing people, it’s critical to recognize that high performance is not the same as high potential. While high performing individuals are certainly valuable to your company, they aren’t necessarily built to be great leaders. Instead, you might want to focus on which employees have the top qualities of a good manager.
So how do you determine who has the qualities of a good manager versus who is better suited to be an individual contributor? A lot of it lies in whether they have a few key attributes and characteristics.
Here are nine common qualities of a good manager to help you identify your organization’s future leaders:
1. They aren’t afraid to ask for help
You could be the smartest, most competent person in your office. You’re still not going to know the answer to everything. The best managers readily acknowledge that fact. More importantly, they are comfortable with it. These individuals aren’t saddled with fragile egos that stop them from asking questions. They have the strength and wherewithal to request assistance. And they are eager to learn from the experience.
2. They are innovative
Good leaders don’t just tow the company line and maintain established protocols. These people recognize the value of flexibility and creativity. They push themselves to think outside the box and test out new ideas. After all, they realize that this how businesses successfully grow and evolve.
3. They are engaged
You don’t want to invest in an employee who isn’t invested in their job or the company at large. Find workers who express an interest in the firm’s goals. Look for people who proactively make suggestions, even for projects beyond their particular scope or job description.
4. They are principled
It’s obviously a bad idea to promote an employee that doesn’t have a backbone. You need managers who won’t automatically opt for the easiest route and who aren’t immediately dissuaded by naysayers. A leader has integrity, stands behind his ideas and won’t sell out his employees.
5. They are driven
Good managers aren’t content with the bare minimum. And they certainly don’t want to coast. Instead, they are intrinsically motivated to do the best job possible. They have a strong work ethic and they are known for going the extra mile. Just as important, they express a desire to move up the chain of command.
6. They can multitask
Managers often oversee multiple projects and multiple people. Therefore, the ability to multitask is integral to their success. Keep an eye out for employees who can handle added responsibilities and maintain grace under fire, even when they have numerous (metaphorical) balls in the air.
7. They have strong emotional intelligence
Sure, you want your leadership to be business savvy and have solid analytical skills. But you should also place a premium on emotional intelligence. After all, managers must be able to retain relationships with their employees. Top qualities of a good manager include being able to display empathy, appear approachable, and form bonds with people.
8. They are good communicators
No matter if they’re relaying a message from the higher-ups, implementing a new policy or assigning a project, managers are in constant communication with their employees. They have to express their thoughts in a clear and concise manner so everyone involved understands both the work and the expectations.
9. They confront problems
When issues arise, it’s natural to want to ignore them or simply hope someone else addresses them. But good leaders are willing to deal with problems head-on. They are capable of having tough conversations. And they acknowledge friction rather than avoid it. Ultimately, the best managers realize that holding back won’t solve anything.
It’s critical for companies to understand how to identify and develop top talent. After all, if you can easily pinpoint these individuals, you can groom them for future leadership positions. And that’s bound to strengthen your overall business.
Now that you know the qualities of a good manager, it will be easier to identify your top talent and rising company leaders. Next, you must continue to develop your employees’ leadership skills. Hone offers a number of great courses that are designed to help employees meet their full potential.