5 Unusual Traits Employees Want Their Managers to Have

You want to be a good manager who brings out the best in your team, and you spend a lot of time considering each person’s skills, goals, and ambitions, but have you thought about what traits your employees want you to have—and whether or not you’ve developed those qualities? Everyone knows that those in management need to be good leaders, but what does that mean? Here are five distinguishing characteristics employees look for in a manager.

traits for managers

1.  Going Beyond Just Listening

Legendary management consultant Peter Drucker said, “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” The ability to read between the lines, pick up on nuances, and understand body language and facial expressions is an essential part of superior listening. Don’t always take what a person is saying at face value—use insight and intuition to pinpoint the meaning behind the words. Nobody expects a manager to be a mind reader. However, emotional intelligence is a trait most employees truly appreciate.

2.  Being Human

Managers walk a fine line between being a boss and a friend. This can be a difficult undertaking, and many supervisors tend to lean too far in one direction or the other. Remember, most employees aren’t really looking for a boss to be their best buddy, but they don’t want a cold and inaccessible automaton either. Just because you’re in charge doesn’t mean you’re required to bury all emotion, hide your sense of humor, or drone like Charlie Brown’s teacher. Let your employees see you’re a human being who has passion, compassion, and even a few flaws. An environment of sincerity is a great motivator. 

3.  A Willingness To Learn

Your employees have a lot to learn from you. After all, you’re performing at a level of expertise they don’t yet possess—and they’ll come to you frequently for advice on all sorts of issues. Your staff wants to know that when they have questions, you’ll be able to answer them. But at the same time, nobody wants to work for a know-it-all. Your employees have valuable contributions to make. Take the time to listen to their ideas—not just as a courtesy, but because you know they’re smart and capable. If they weren’t, you wouldn’t have hired them. 

4.  Staying Cool Under Pressure

We’ve all had stressful, overwhelming days when it feels almost impossible to remain calm and composed. But you’re going to need to remain calm and composed. The way you deal with pressure sets the tone for how the entire team will handle a difficult situation. You’re leading a group of adults who deserve to be treated with respect, and a big part of respecting people is choosing to be consistent and reliable. Show your team that you’re steady and trustworthy, and you’ll prove how much you value both them and yourself.

5.  Flexibility

Nobody wants to work for a boss is who refuses to grow or change. Just because something has always been done one way definitely doesn’t mean it’s being done the best way. Times change, technologies advance, people evolve, and, if we’re honest, many of our methods weren’t the most efficient in the first place. Your willingness to recognize this and behave accordingly will separate you from the pack of middle management and set a good example for your employees.

You care about your employees and you’re invested in their success and the success of your business, so do everything you can to lead by example and develop the qualities that will empower, motivate, and encourage your team to produce great work and fulfill their potential.

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