Qualities of a Good Manager: 13 Soft Skills You Need (2023)

Qualities of a Good Manager: 13 Soft Skills You Need (1)

You’ve put in the effort, you’ve honed your skills, and you’re finally a manager. While this is great news, being proficient at your job doesn’t necessarily equate to being a great manager. When you manage people, you are responsible for inspiring, motivating, and encouraging them. It’s no longer just about you and what you bring to the table — you need to get others to bring all they can to the table, too. Essentially, being a manager is about more than just hard skills. When you consider the qualities of a good manager, you’ll notice that they can’t all be proven and measured. Some of the qualities will turn you from a good manager to a great leader — these are known as “soft skills,” or “interpersonal skills.”

These skills are so valuable, in part, because they are harder to learn. They are developed over time as you observe, interact, and work with your teammates to help them become more productive. Soft skills are vital for effective leadership and performance management.

Research theorizes that of all the qualities of a good manager, soft skills are king. SHRM found that employers care more about soft skills such as active listening, communication, and flexibility than they do technical abilities.

Other sources state that hard skills are useless without soft skills. Soft skills enable us to build relationships, relate to people, and encourage others to succeed. Given the ongoing trend towards continuous performance management and regular coaching conversations, soft skills are becoming an essential part of a manager’s armory.

Below, we explore the qualities of a good manager — specifically, 13 soft skills that make managers great.

1. Transparency

Once upon a time, it was acceptable to keep things on a need-to-know basis with your employees. Times have changed.

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Employees expect you to be transparent with them. They want to know what’s going on with their company and how they are doing. They want direct and honest feedback regularly, and a manager who won’t patronize them by sugarcoating the truth or hiding difficult realities from them.

Your employees are adults; you don’t need to protect them. They want the truth, and good managers know how to be transparent, authentic, and direct. Transparency and an ability to be honest and open are skills every manager and human resource executive needs to improve employee engagement.

(Video) Management skills | 10 Management skills every manager should have.

2. Excellent Communication

Managers need to be excellent communicators, which means maintaining regular contact with everyone on their team, providing frequent feedback, and delivering rewards and recognition for excellent performance.

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Communication doesn’t only happen face-to-face — it happens via email, chat applications, body language, and much more. Managers need to communicate with their employees in ways that make them comfortable. It’s about getting to know your employees and understanding what they need to get them to perform well — it isn’t all about communicating in a way and on a schedule that suits you.

Good managers should let their employees know that they can discuss anything work-related on a regular cadence. Consider implementing an open-door policy if you haven’t already done so, as well as incorporating tools and technology that can offer real-time feedback. Managers should also clarify that their employees are free to communicate openly and honestly — employees shouldn’t feel their jobs are at risk whenever they want to air a grievance or ask for help.

3. Listening Skills

When we hear the phrase, “good communicator,” we generally think about speaking or writing rather than listening. But when discussing the qualities of a good manager, listening is just as important. Employees want to know that their opinions and insights are being heard.

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Take the time to focus on your employees and what they are saying. Ask for their insights if they don’t readily offer them. When you get valuable feedback, make a conscious effort to take action based on it. This will show your employees that when they speak up, they can make a difference in their working environment.

4. Appreciating and Encouraging Teamwork

Companies that encourage teamwork enjoy improved efficiency, work outcomes, and individual development. Managers should support collaboration at every opportunity and mitigate toxic behavior and unhealthy competition.

Qualities of a Good Manager: 13 Soft Skills You Need (5)

Workplace processes can be adjusted to complement this approach. For example, some companies still operate on a “stacked ranking” system, as popularized by General Electric decades ago. This system ranks employees, and the lowest-performing employees are shown the door. Employee rankings, in general, have been shown to be demotivating to employees. Furthermore, ranking employees against each other creates toxic relationships and reduces the likelihood that employees will help one another when given the opportunity. Companies implementing this system should consider removing it.

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5. Consistency and Reliability

Employees need to know that their leader is stable, secure, and reliable. They will come to you for clarification regarding organizational objectives, views on their work, and advice. And more importantly, employees should feel comfortable approaching you when they are struggling and need help. Employees need to know that their manager is a level-headed person who won’t fly off the handle at a moment’s notice. Otherwise, they won’t feel able to open up to you and their trust in management will weaken. This brings us to our next point:

6. Trustworthiness

Good managers are trustworthy, and they respect confidentiality. Employees need to have faith in their leaders and know that their managers have their employees’ best interests at heart. If your employees feel like you don’t support them, it’ll lead to a toxic work environment, reduced collaboration, and unhealthy competition in your workplace. Employees also need to be assured that management is telling them the truth. Your trustworthiness is built on respecting the privacy of your employees and offering honest advice based on what aligns best with your company’s goals.

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7. The Drive to Set Goals

The new trend in goal setting is empowering employees to determine their own goals. Doing so gives employees more ownership over their goals, which results in more work being done (and to a better standard).

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While employees should be placed in the driver’s seat, managers still play an important role in goal setting. Good managers need to be able to understand how to form motivational and realistic goals, then guide the process to align with organizational objectives. These goals also need to be challenging, so leveraging this soft skill is a delicate balance managers must maintain to keep employees engaged and motivated.

8. Making Decisions (and Accepting Responsibility)

New managers sometimes struggle to make decisions — especially important ones. Some suffer from a concept known as “analysis paralysis” (over-thinking a decision) or “bikeshedding” (focusing on insignificant details). Other managers obsess over possible negative outcomes, no matter how unlikely, and some might rush into a decision despite lacking the right information.

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Managers need to make decisions for the benefit of their team and company, taking a structured, logical approach to decision-making while keeping a cool head.

Managers also need to be able to make difficult decisions with regards to performance issues. Employees need to believe you’re on their side, but as a manager, you also need to put your foot down. If an employee is exhibiting behavioral or performance issues, managers need to have the confidence to step in and risk being seen as “the bad guy”.

If there is a problem, it needs to be addressed. It’s entirely possible to resolve issues amicably and productively, but managers shouldn’t shy away from confrontation when it’s warranted.

9. Empathy and Sensitivity

Emotional intelligence, which encompasses sensitivity and empathy, is a soft skill all modern managers need to have.

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Emotional intelligence can make all the difference between an engaged employee and one who is burned out, frustrated, and unmotivated. Managers need to pick up on signs that an employee is pushing themselves too far, which can cause burnout, anxiety, depression, and disengagement. More often than not, good managers will pick up on signs of these conditions in advance, before the employee approaches them to discuss the situation.

Sensitivity is certainly needed when it comes to issues like anxiety. Managers need to be able to put the right provisions in place. This could include putting flexible working measures in place, being understanding about mental health breaks, and being mindful of anxiety during the goal setting process. Taking measures like this shows employees that they are not alone — and that the company is able and willing to help them.

(Video) Qualities of a Good Manager

10. Rewarding and Recognizing Employees

Employee recognition isn’t just a good idea in terms of employee morale; it is also a significant driver of employee engagement. A good manager understands the value of rewarding and recognizing employees.

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Employees don’t just work for a paycheck. It takes much more than that to keep employees aligned with your company objectives and going that extra mile. Employees need to know that their work — and more importantly, their efforts — are acknowledged and appreciated. Leaders need to be perceptive in this area and take the time to reward and recognize employees where appropriate.

11. A Willingness to Change

The world of work is constantly shifting. The ways we operate in terms of technology, motivating employees, and reviewing performance are processes constantly subject to change. From year to year, your business will look different — and this is a good thing. It means you’re staying relevant and competitive, which means you’ll be around for years to come.

Managers stuck in their ways stagnate, while good managers are adaptable and flexible. They are ready for change and they plan for it, seeing disruption as an exciting challenge rather than a burden.

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12. Conflict Resolution (Rather than Conflict Avoidance)

Workplace conflict is an ongoing issue in most organizations. This can occur for several reasons, with personality conflicts being a primary cause. Good managers need to not only be aware of conflict and able to pick up on signs of incivility and bullying but also stamp it out. Leaving such issues to fester is terrible for employee morale and performance. Confronting these situations head-on allows managers to arrive at a solution before it escalates and becomes unbearable.

13. Empowering and Motivating Your Team

Every generation and individual is motivated by different things. Good managers can relate to every member of their team, which will help them understand how to empower and motivate employees to get the best out of them and help them become the best they can be. This can come in the form of sales SPIFFs, competitions, or simply recognizing employees for their hard work. No matter what motivational technique you adopt, be sure to understand what motivates your team and give them incentives to work toward.

Qualities of a Good Manager: Looking Ahead

Now that you have a better understanding of the soft skills you should master in your management role, it’s time to take action. Take these 13 tips and integrate them into your workday. Keep notes on how impactful implementing these skills is, be sure to make adjustments as-needed, and check in with your team members often. You might be surprised about how quickly your team will change for the better.

Qualities of a Good Manager: 13 Soft Skills You Need (12)Stuart Hearn is CEO and Founder of Clear Review. Stuart works with companies to improve relationships and communication between managers and employees.

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FAQs

What are the qualities of a good manager explain your answer? ›

Managers become great communicators by being good listeners. They allow time for others to speak. They have a clear understanding of the organization's vision and share it with the people in their team in a way that motivates them. They keep their team up-to-date on what's happening in the organization.

What are the 3 main skills managers need to have to be successful? ›

Robert Katz identifies three types of skills that are essential for a successful management process: Technical skills. Conceptual skills. Human or interpersonal management skills.

What are the skills of manager? ›

6 Essential Skills for Managers
  • Good communication. Having good communication skills is probably the most important skill of all for managers to have. ...
  • Good Organisation. ...
  • Team Building. ...
  • Leadership. ...
  • Ability to Deal with Changes Effectively. ...
  • Domain Knowledge.

What are the qualities of a good manager PDF? ›

Characteristics of an Effective Manager
  • Leadership.
  • Experience.
  • Communication.
  • Knowledge.
  • Organization.
  • Time management.
  • Delegation.
  • Confidence.

Why are soft skills important as a manager? ›

When managing a group of people, soft skills are even more important because you're responsible for leading, motivating, and encouraging your team. In fact, managers with great leadership soft skills can boost their team's productivity by up to 30%.

What makes a good manager and leader? ›

Good managers support their staff and trust in their abilities. They stand up for their team and defend them to senior leadership. They delegate tasks with confidence and never micromanage. They know putting faith in capable employees empowers them to further their ability and professional development.

What is a successful manager? ›

Effective managers are always good delegators. They can distribute tasks to their team as well as ensuring that their own time is well used for management issues and important tasks. Employees that feel trusted are better placed to achieve their potential and are given an incentive to ensure that they perform well.

What is a good management? ›

Good management involves individualizing every employee to maximize their potential and best utilize their unique skills. Good managers can improve employee satisfaction and development by getting to know the employees personally, consequently promoting greater success and productivity with the rest of the company.

What is your ideal manager? ›

A good boss is one who leads a team in a common and unified direction. The boss needs to clearly understand the big picture regarding the company including the company's vision, mission, and strategic goals, and then clearly identify where his unit, department, or team fits within the overall company vision.

What are the 5 basic managerial skills? ›

  • What are Management Skills? ...
  • Management Skills #1: Relationship Management. ...
  • Management Skills #2: Planning. ...
  • Management Skills #3: Prioritisation. ...
  • Management Skills #4: Critical Thinking. ...
  • Management Skills #5: Industry Knowledge.
5 Aug 2021

Why is management skills important? ›

Management skills are important for many reasons. They position you to act as an effective leader who can make good decisions, an effective communicator with the soft skills necessary to inspire a team, and a problem-solver who can bring clarity to any situation.

What are four important skills a successful manager must possess? ›

The 4 must-have General Management Skills:
  • Visionary Leadership.
  • Strategy & Development.
  • Negotiation and Conflict Management.
  • Team-building & Interpersonal Skills.

What is the role of manager? ›

The role of managers is organising and overseeing a particular group, project or sector within a business. The extent and scope of a manager's responsibilities can vary depending on their position in the company. The job title of manager can mean that somebody is managing a team or managing a certain function.

What are the 3 types of managers? ›

The four most common types of managers are top-level managers, middle managers, first-line managers, and team leaders. These roles vary not only in their day-to-day responsibilities, but also in their broader function in the organization and the types of employees they manage.

How can I improve as a manager? ›

How to Improve Your Management Skills
  1. Strengthen Your Decision-Making. Sound decision-making is a crucial skill for managers. ...
  2. Cultivate Self-Awareness. ...
  3. Build Trust. ...
  4. Be a Better Communicator. ...
  5. Establish Regular Check-ins. ...
  6. Carve Out Time for Reflection. ...
  7. Complete Management Training.
9 Jan 2020

What are the qualities of a leader? ›

The Top 10 Qualities of a Great Leader
  • Vision. ...
  • Inspiration. ...
  • Strategic & Critical Thinking. ...
  • Interpersonal Communication. ...
  • Authenticity & Self-Awareness. ...
  • Open-Mindedness & Creativity. ...
  • Flexibility. ...
  • Responsibility & Dependability.

What is the top 10 skills required to become an effective manager? ›

However, we do know that there are certain abilities and skills that are commonly brought into connection with management: these include decision-making, resource allocation, networking, planning, controlling, leadership, communication, learning and development, strategy, and much more.

What is the most important soft skill? ›

The most important soft skills which employers value are: emotional intelligence, communication, problem-solving, collaboration, critical thinking, conflict resolution, flexibility, leadership and interpersonal skills.

How do managers develop soft skills? ›

Find opportunities to practice your skills. Your soft skills can only be improved with intentional practice. As a leader, look for opportunities to engage with employees, participate in professional development programs, and collect feedback from company executives and leaders.

What are the 7 essential soft skills? ›

7 essential soft skills in demand
  • Teamwork. With effective teamwork, teams are more productive, deadlines are met, relationships with your team members are stronger and knowledge is shared. ...
  • Problem solving. ...
  • Communication. ...
  • Adaptability. ...
  • Critical thinking. ...
  • Time management. ...
  • Interpersonal.

Is leadership a soft skill? ›

Successful leadership commonly encompasses strong soft skills that enable leaders to motivate and inspire their teams. Additionally, the ability to lead successfully often depends on a leader's ability to strategize, listen to feedback and incorporate their team's ideas and contributions. Are you looking for a job now?

Is teamwork a soft skill? ›

Teamwork skills is an umbrella term for the individual soft skills that make up the ability to work efficiently in a group setting. Those include both basic social skills and more specific team-working skills.

What are the 3 roles of a manager? ›

Managers' roles fall into three basic categories: informational roles, interpersonal roles, and decisional roles.

Who can be called a manager? ›

A manager is a professional who takes a leadership role in an organisation and manages a team of employees. Often, managers are responsible for managing a specific department in their company. There are many types of managers, but they usually have duties like conducting performance reviews and making decisions.

What managers should start doing? ›

Here are seven things you can start doing today to improve as a manager.
  • Get to know your employees.
  • Communication is key.
  • Develop your emotional intelligence.
  • Lead by example.
  • Build an inclusive and positive work environment.
  • Be a leader as well as a manager.
  • Don't stop learning.
12 Sept 2022

How do you successfully manage people? ›

14 strategies for managing people at work
  1. Manage your own workload first. ...
  2. Get to know your team. ...
  3. Delegate tasks. ...
  4. Take control of communication. ...
  5. Identify clear workflows. ...
  6. Develop clear goals. ...
  7. Demonstrate consistent leadership. ...
  8. Provide positive reinforcement.

What is a strong management? ›

Decisions have to be made and a strong manager has what it takes to trust their instinct and take them. This confidence gives comfort to a team, knowing that they have a clear direction and that there's a steady hand on the tiller. Communication. Working as a manager means guiding and getting the most out of a team.

What motivates you to do good work? ›

Success is what motivates me to do a good job. Knowing the fact that my hard work and perseverance will help me achieve greater professional success is what keeps me going. I feel that aligning the company's vision and values with my own is one way to achieve that.

How do you handle stress and pressure? ›

2. Commit to a Positive Attitude
  1. Decide what you can do. Pinpoint which parts of the situation you have the power to change or influence for the better. ...
  2. Get support. Find someone to talk to about your situation. ...
  3. Care for yourself. Take especially good care of yourself when stress in your life is high.

What makes a good manager UK? ›

Effective managers are always good delegators. They can distribute tasks to their team as well as ensuring that their own time is well used for management issues and important tasks. Employees that feel trusted are better placed to achieve their potential and are given an incentive to ensure that they perform well.

Why would you be a good manager interview question? ›

Give an example of a leadership quality or skill necessary to perform the job. Be specific in your example, discussing a time in a previous job or position when you used that skill successfully. Quantify the success you achieved if you can. Example: "Managers need to be highly organized.

What is a great manager? ›

A good leader sets a positive example and knows how to use their strengths to help their team achieve goals. Successful managers get to know their employees and find ways to support them so they produce their best work. It's important to consistently communicate clear goals, expectations and feedback to your team.

What is the top 10 skills required to become an effective manager? ›

However, we do know that there are certain abilities and skills that are commonly brought into connection with management: these include decision-making, resource allocation, networking, planning, controlling, leadership, communication, learning and development, strategy, and much more.

How can I be a good manager or leader? ›

Top Qualities of A Good Leader
  1. Be Humble. There is a huge difference between being a leader and being a boss. ...
  2. Lead by Example. It is important for leaders to lead by example. ...
  3. Communicate Effectively. ...
  4. Know Your Limits. ...
  5. Keep Meetings Productive. ...
  6. Be Emotionally Aware. ...
  7. Learn From The Past. ...
  8. Never Stop Improving.
21 Apr 2022

What are the 5 basic managerial skills? ›

  • What are Management Skills? ...
  • Management Skills #1: Relationship Management. ...
  • Management Skills #2: Planning. ...
  • Management Skills #3: Prioritisation. ...
  • Management Skills #4: Critical Thinking. ...
  • Management Skills #5: Industry Knowledge.
5 Aug 2021

How do you plan to be a good manager? ›

9 Must-Have Qualities Of A Good Manager
  1. They Align Organizational Purpose With Team Goals. ...
  2. They Demonstrate Empathy With Their Team. ...
  3. They Delegate Tasks Effectively. ...
  4. They Set Clear Goals And Expectations. ...
  5. They Make Communication A Priority. ...
  6. They Bring Out The Best In Their People. ...
  7. They Leverage The Latest Technology.

How do I sell myself for a management position? ›

Describe Your Management Experience

One of the most important skills for any manager is the ability to manage people. So, if you have experience of managing people, it will help you sell yourself to employers. Show potential employers you have transferable management qualities to manage in an unfamiliar environment.

How do you introduce yourself in a manager interview? ›

A Quick Guide On How To Introduce Yourself In An Interview
  1. Start by researching the company and your interviewers.
  2. Dress appropriately for the interview.
  3. Avoid distractions and keep eye contact.
  4. Be confident and comfortable.
  5. Be aware of body language.
  6. Prepare what to say.
  7. Rehearse your introduction with a friend.

What motivates you to do a good job? ›

Good Answers to the Tricky Interview Question "What Motivates You?"
  • learning new things.
  • acquiring new skills.
  • meeting deadlines, goals and targets.
  • coaching others.
  • improving processes, finding ways to solving problems.
  • leading a team or being a part of a team.
  • completing a difficult project.
  • overcoming challenges.
19 Sept 2022

What is the role of a manager? ›

Manager Job Responsibilities:

Maintains staff by recruiting, selecting, orienting, and training employees. Ensures a safe, secure, and legal work environment. Develops personal growth opportunities. Accomplishes staff results by communicating job expectations; planning, monitoring, and appraising job results.

What are the 3 roles of a manager? ›

Managers' roles fall into three basic categories: informational roles, interpersonal roles, and decisional roles.

Why is management skills important? ›

Management skills are important for many reasons. They position you to act as an effective leader who can make good decisions, an effective communicator with the soft skills necessary to inspire a team, and a problem-solver who can bring clarity to any situation.

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