The Characteristics Of Really Great Managers

Great ManagerThe Making Of Great Managers

What makes a manager great?  Is it something that you are born with, or is it something you can learn?  Organizational experts believe that, for a long time, we thought leadership was something that you were born with.  As a result, people were often overlooked for managerial positions because they simply didn’t have what it takes.

However, these opinions have had to be reviewed, as companies started to become stagnant.  The old ways of doing things simply aren’t working anymore.  Indeed, it now seems that a lot of what is needed to be a really good manager is something that can be learned.  Let’s take a look at some of the characteristics of a really good manager.

Leading by Example

No leader can lead without setting an example.  They have to be someone that others look up to, someone whom they want to be like.  Additionally, they have to demonstrate that they aren’t above anything either.  It is about leading rather than following.

“Actions speak louder than words.  Managers may rule, but leaders are followed.  You need to demonstrate that you are a leader by your actions, which will help you to build influence.”  Characteristics of an Effective Manager

Others have to be able to look towards a manager to see what sort of behavior is expected of them.  They need to see that every job is valued by management, and that although there may be some kind of a hierarchy, this doesn’t mean that they are below or, even worse, lowly.  Setting an example is something that can be learned, particularly if there has been promotion and progression in terms of climbing the ladder up to management positions.

Communication Skills

Being an excellent communicator is also key to being a good manager.  A lot of people are born with great communication skills, but this doesn’t mean it can’t be learned.  It is about being able to speak in a way that is not condescending, as well as using plain English.  Additionally, managers have to be comfortable speaking to groups and individuals alike.

“Communication is fundamental in any aspect of life, especially for management teams and among employee relations.  Supervisors need to be capable of communicating clearly with fellow managers, employees, other businesses, and customers.”Top Ten Characteristics of a Great Manager

A large part of good communication comes down to personality style.  Some people simply are natural speakers.  However, it is also about confidence and that is something that can be learned.  Hence, organizations should consider developing or delivering communication and confidence building courses for their leaders and managers, including aspiring leaders and managers.  To improve communication discover The Everything DiSC Management Profile.  Great people managers do well at reading the requirements of their direct reports and also adjusting their personality style appropriately.  Managing successfully, utilizing the DiSC Management Profile, usually means shifting from a “one size fits all” management technique to an “it depends on who I’m managing” method.


Once you reach the levels of management, you have very few people above you to direct your actions.  No longer will someone else tell you what to do, or delegate work in your direction.  Instead, you have to be able to largely manage yourself, as well as know when to delegate work to others.

“An effective manager knows that some tasks need to be delegated.  You should be able to identify workers who will do well, and give them tasks they can succeed at – while helping the project.” 
25 Qualities and Characteristics of a Good Manager

However, it is also strongly about self-motivation.  You have to be able to make yourself want to go to work and get things done.  This requires enthusiasm, optimism, a positive attitude and significant knowledge on the company in particular, and the industry as a whole.  Again, some of this can be learned, and some of it is something that certain people are born with.  Indeed, extroverts and optimists can often appear to make better managers, although it must also be recognized that those on the other side of the spectrum can make great managers because they are better at anticipating problems and implementing solutions.

The Ability to Deal with Change

Those who are of the generation who believe that managers are born, not cultivated, generally find it very difficult to deal with change.  This is actually one of the biggest problems with this old line of thinking.  No business is stagnant and only those who are able to deal with change will ever be truly good managers.

“There are several managers who exactly know the whole working process.  They are doing things almost automatically.  The true manager should be flexible and adaptable.  He is able to react quickly when facing any obstacles.  Stress shouldn’t be a factor to prevent him from taking the right decisions.”  The 6 Main Qualities That Make A Manager A Good One

Sometimes, decisions have to be made on the spot, and these decisions may just mean that previous efforts have been performed for nothing.  That is the nature of change, and a good manager will be able to identify when change actually means efforts have been wasted, and when change will lead to improvement, even if that means some efforts could have been done without.  This is an incredibly difficult thing to do, since all humans are naturally resistant to change.  However, this is something anybody can learn; usually simply by getting stuck in and doing what is necessary.

Mental Strength

Finally, managers have to have tremendous mental strength.

“A leader also needs to function in an orderly and purposeful manner in situations of uncertainty.  People look to the leader during times of uncertainty and unfamiliarity and find reassurance and security when the leader portrays confidence and a positive demeanor.”  What Are The Characteristics of Good Management and Good Leadership?

Not only do people turn to their managers when they need reassurance, they also look towards management when things go wrong.  One thing managers can never do is delegate responsibility.  If something is done wrong within their team, they have to accept the responsibility for this, and they must do so fully.  Managers cannot say that the fault lies with the person who did the job because they are the ones who had delegated the tasks to these people in the first place.  Mental strength is absolutely key, and it means staying strong in the face of great conflict and difficulty.  This really takes a special kind of person and some people say that this, above all else, is something you can only be born with.


Co-owner/Co-founder of Intesi! Resources. Educated as an architect I transitioned to technology during my career in architecture. Intesi! Resources was founded in 2004 and my focus is everything Web/eCommerce related from the design and development of our site to all the marketing activities involved. I also provide significant support for our clients on all our products and how they are used to deliver assessment-driven learning solutions that develop self-awareness and interpersonal skills.

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