Essential Traits of a Top-Notch Manager

Becoming a manager is often a big goal for people in a variety of industries. Whether it’s the world of retail, food service, or even corporate business, a managerial position often means more responsibilities, exciting tasks, and even a pay raise. But not everyone is cut out to be a manager.

While new managers don’t have to know everything right away, some people are just going to be a better fit than others when it comes to this type of position. Certain personality traits and characteristics can really make a difference, no matter how hard someone works or how fast they can learn on the job. There are also certain characteristics that should be avoided when hiring or promoting a manager, like someone who will pick out favorites or simply won’t put in the time and effort to do their job effectively.

Understanding more about the characteristics of a good manager can make it easier to hire the right person for the job, promote the right person for a special project, or be in charge of a team. Let’s look at some of those essential traits no matter which industry you’re in.

The Best Manager for the Job

It’s probably no surprise that a project manager for an advertising agency might not need the same skills and traits as a manager in the retail industry. They’ll have different people working below them and different daily expectations. There are different types of managers, but they do have a few things in common. The most important of these is that they are all responsible for employees underneath them for some period of time.

A customer success manager that works in retail or the food service industry should have a strong knowledge of best practices, be able to manage a team well, and be able to handle working directly with the public when a problem arises.

A project manager for a business, on the other hand, should be a bit more focused on the task at hand. They should be able to motivate their team, keep them organized and on time with what they’re doing, and be there for whatever their team needs. It’s important for an effective project manager to get to know their team and to appreciate everything each member of the group brings to the table. When you’re a manager that actually works with your team and provides earnest feedback with an eye toward each individual’s personal and professional development, they’re more likely to be happy to do the work for you.

What Are the Characteristics of a Good Manager?

Are you looking to hire a manager or promote one within your company? Or are you an individual looking to move up in your career? In either case, understanding some of the best general characteristics of what a good manager should and shouldn’t be can help you. Some of the most common traits associated with managers include:

  • Experience
  • Leadership skills
  • Strong communication skills
  • Confidence to speak on behalf of employees
  • Time management and organizational skills
  • The ability to respect those higher in power, and lower
  • The ability to delegate tasks respectfully

Where do your strengths lie? Do you have a good managerial skill set, or are you more suited for entrepreneurship? It’s important to pursue a path that suits your skills, but keep in mind that you’ll have to develop your skills going forward, regardless of which path you pursue.

Managers usually end up wearing a lot of different hats, no matter which industry they’re in. They need to focus both on engagement and performance while keeping the employees under their watch content and motivated. They’re also the kind of people who should constantly strive to do better. Whether that means attending classes or training programs, establishing goals, or even something as simple as admitting when they’re wrong, constant growth and maturity should be a high priority for anyone in management.

Finally, a good manager needs to know their boundaries. If you do reach a managerial position, don’t let it get to your head and push your limits. It’s important to get to know the employees under you so you can build communication throughout your team but know your limits. Don’t get too close when it comes to forming personal relationships. Don’t post anything about work on social media, especially if it could be construed as workplace harassment, and don’t abuse the power you’ve been given.

Uncle Ben in Spiderman hit the nail on the head when he suggested, “With great power comes great responsibility.” This might seem trite, but when discussing the traits of a great manager, it really sums up what a manager needs to have in a simple sentence. If you’re looking for someone to be a manager within your company, keep these traits and suggestions in mind as you move forward. If you’re someone who wants to become a manager, ask yourself if you’re the kind of person who has these characteristics or if you’re willing to adapt in order to develop them.


Jori Hamilton
Jori Hamilton
Jori Hamilton is a writer from the pacific northwest who enjoys covering topics related to social justice, the changing workplace, and technology.

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