Successful managers aren’t born overnight. Many successful managers have even struggled for years, thus learning valuable lessons about what not to do to lead a positive, efficient team. If you want some concrete examples of what to develop in yourself to become a successful manager, and the management traits you don’t want to develop then you have come to the right place. Settle in and take some notes to further your career in the right direction.
Traits to Develop (Positive Manager Traits)
When people are surveyed, they often state the following personality qualities as ones that they would like to have in a “good boss”: emotional intelligence, non-verbal intelligence, good listening skills, confidence, respect, honesty, drive, conflict resolution, time management, critical thinking, delegation, and a work/life balance. These are all detailed below.
People make choices based on how they feel, not just what they know. If you can understand where someone is coming from emotionally, you can help them achieve goals more easily.
You can speak to someone all day and not truly understand what they are saying if you aren’t paying attention to their facial expressions and body language. Non-verbal communication might even tell you more than a person’s actual words!
Listening is not the same as hearing. You might hear what someone is saying (while hopefully paying attention to their non-verbal communication), but listening requires processing and understanding on a deeper level. Read between the lines and infer what someone is actually saying beneath their words.
No one wants to follow a weak leader. If you don’t trust your decisions, why should the people who work for you? When you make a decision, stand by it and back up why you made that choice.
Just because people work “for you” doesn’t mean that they aren’t deserving of the respect which you want yourself. This is just the Golden Rule: treat people the way you would want to be treated. Disrespect causes people to feel poorly about themselves, and when people have low self-esteem they are not going to work to their full potential.
Trust is an essential part of the workplace. If everyone on the team cannot trust each other, they cannot work collaboratively. If employees feel that their boss is not being honest with them, they will not want to give their all. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
When people see that their boss is working hard, too, they will be even more motivated to work hard themselves. If you are asking your team to stay until a certain time each day, then you should, too. When they come into your office, are you actively working on a task or are you playing a game on your computer? People notice. Let them notice you leading by example.
Whenever you get a group of humans together, there is going to be conflict sooner or later. This doesn’t always have to be a bad thing, though. Conflict can bring about improvements as long as it is handled respectfully. When people can see each other’s point of view and work to compromise, then more often than not both (or all) parties can come away feeling as if they have won.
People like to have a plan for their days and like to know what to expect. If something is thrown on their plates last minute or they are all of a sudden forced to complete a task in a short amount of time, that can cause frustration. Manage your time effectively as a manager so that you can help your employees do the same.
Sometimes problems require thinking outside of the box. That is the way new and innovative things come into our lives! As an employee, it is inspiring to have a manager who is creative in the ways that they solve problems. This encourages the entire workplace culture to take healthy risks and try new things in the name of improvement.
Every good manager needs to give tasks to their team. This needs to be done in a way that is fair and takes everyone’s strengths and weaknesses into consideration. Don’t try to take on everything yourself, or your team will not feel valued.
A job is just that: a job. When you can leave your work at work and refresh yourself with family or leisure time, you will be a better leader. Your employees need this, too! A balanced life should be a part of the workplace culture.
Traits to Stay Away From (Negative Manager Traits)
Sometimes it is helpful to understand what you don’t want to do to help keep you on the right track. Managers who people have often cited as negative or as “bad bosses” have a variety of traits, some of which are: inflexibility, overconfidence, micromanagement, and aggression.
Inflexible Managers want to have all the control. They often fear that letting their team have an input in the way things work will allow power to be taken away from them. Rigid managers require things to be done a certain way 100% of the time without ever allowing for grace or exceptions to be made for a certain situation. This creates frustration in the team as it is unrealistic to expect that changes will never come up in the real world.
Managers who are so inflexible that people are afraid to tell them the truth will inevitably have team members who hide things from them, which creates a culture of disrespect and distrust from both sides. Stay flexible and allow open communication.
No one likes a bragger, humble or otherwise. Sure, as a manager you might have worked hard to get where you are and you might have a great deal of experience under your belt, but that doesn’t discount the experiences and strengths of everyone else in the office.
Someone who is overconfident is difficult to work with because those who work for them feel that their ideas will never be taken seriously. This is a hindrance in the workplace because no one will ever speak up for change, which will hold a company back in the long run.
People who are overconfident almost always get spoken about behind their backs, as well, which breeds discontent. Remember that to err is human, and there is no shame in admitting a mistake or an area of weakness. Rather, it can be seen as a strength to know when to ask for help or ask for an apology.
Whenever anyone who has ever been a part of a team hears the word “micromanager,” they probably cringe. Absolutely no one likes to have someone looking over their shoulder at every second. It creates pressure and frustration because we cannot create well or have the freedom to correct our own mistakes when someone is always right there to say, “That’s wrong, do it this way instead.”
Micromanagers essentially don’t trust those who they are overseeing. Efficient, confident employees need to know that their boss trusts them and is sure that they can produce quality work.
A good rule of thumb is “trust but verify.” Allow your team to do the things you have asked or required, then check-in when the job is said to be completed. If there is a pattern of things being done incorrectly or with corners cut, then you can give a little more guidance. But if things go well without you watching every step of the way, then you have less work to do, freeing you up for more important things.
A hostile work environment is not only unpleasant, it is a source for legal action. People can leave and require monetary compensation if you as the boss are creating a place that is emotionally unsafe to work. Aggression is the easiest way to go about this.
Someone who is angry all the time has a great deal of work to do… no pun intended. A good place to start is realizing that anger is a secondary emotion. No one is ever angry just for the sake of being angry. Take a look at a situation that “makes you mad” and think about how you are feeling underneath. Are you jealous, frustrated, afraid, or overwhelmed? If you can get to the root of the issue then you can solve it more easily.
Sometimes people who show aggression aren’t really even angry at the people whom they take out their aggression on. If you have an issue at home or in your personal life that you are allowing to carry over into the workspace, then it is important that you deal with those issues.
Therapy is becoming more and more accessible and the stigma around it is being lessened with each passing year. If you have aggressive tendencies, it might seem frightening to tackle this, but you will only be better for it.
No matter how much experience a manager has, there are always qualities that they can develop. Good can become great, and struggles can become strengths. Choose one or two things from this article that will help you and your workplace become a better team, and watch as the benefits carry over into your life and everyone else’s.