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10 Characteristics of Successful Managers

written by: Mike Sweeney•edited by: Donna Cosmato•updated: 7/28/2011

Good managers make all the difference to a team's success. Here are 10 key performance factors that distinguish a good manager from a mediocre one. Perform these 10 attributes well, and you will virtually ensure the success of your team and probably your career.

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    Want to Have an Impact?

    In any business organization, one of the most effective ways to have an impact on your career and the people you interact with is to be universally perceived as an accomplished and successful manager. Most organizations don't throw the term "leadership" around too lightly, but when they do, it's a sure sign of an exceptional person, and most likely, an accomplished manager. These are the people who have a real and measurable impact on the organization. How are you perceived in your organization? What kind of impact do you have?

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    Keys to Management Success

    Shaking hands 

    The performance factors listed below are some of the key attributes of a good manager. How do you measure-up?

    1. Confidence - First and foremost, you must believe in yourself and your team members. A confident looking and sounding manager instills a sense of commitment and conviction in his employees. When you are in the workplace, be very aware of what you say and how you portray yourself to others. Effective managers are consistent in their displays of confidence throughout the day.

    2. Positive Attitude - A positive attitude in the workplace is essential. It always sends a good, powerful message to your employees and by its very nature, invites employees to mimic your same positive attitude. It can be infectious to be around. Being open-minded and expecting success from everything you and your employees do in the workplace increases the likelihood that you achieve your individual and team goals.

    3. Effective Listening - Listening is a very important attribute of a good manager as well as a good employee. Being a good listener means you have the desire and ability to focus on what employees are saying by giving them your full attention. Good managers are also able to confirm back to the employee that they are following what’s being communicated at that moment. Just as importantly, an effective manager is able to be respectful of an employee's opinions without interrupting or becoming negative.

    4. Ability to Coach - Coaching is one of those skills that can make a tremendous difference in an employee's career, and because of this, providing coaching insights and feedback is an important skill for managers to have at their disposal. To perform this skill at a high level, you need to have strong observation skills in the workplace, with an easy-going ability to indicate to employees what they are doing well through positive reinforcement, and what needs to improve regarding projects, tasks, goals, skills, and work flow through informal and formal coaching sessions.

    5. Effective Verbal Skills - Proven managers understand the power of words. They are able to easily and effectively articulate their point of view in as few words as possible. By minimizing slang and industry jargon, a strong manager is able to paint word pictures through their use of simple-to-understand words and phrases.

    6. Enthusiasm - Engaged managers are enthusiastic about the workplace and their team of employees. This visible energy comes through in how they approach their job responsibilities and interact with the team. Team meetings are highly charged, positive events with the expectation that employees become as enthused as management. This level of enthusiasm becomes contagious in the workplace.

    7. Action-Oriented - This type of manager has a take-charge attitude and is not afraid to take some risks with his employees. Being action-oriented also means you can think and react quickly to situations in the workplace. Because of this action orientation, a good team manger is also flexible in making decisions, and if necessary, based on what’s happening at-the-moment, able to change course quickly and effectively. Action-oriented managers also have a tendency to become mentors in the organization and participate in many volunteer activities both in and out of the workplace.

    8. Good Organization Skills - Administratively, the skilled manager knows what’s going on around the workplace with every employee that works directly for him. Meetings, presentations, one-on-one sessions, and even casual conversations, are all well organized and designed to maximize the value of everyone’s time. Good organization breeds efficiency in the workplace, and as a result, higher levels of productivity.Mentoring 

    9. Empower Others - A sure sign of a confident manager is their ability to delegate responsibility to others. Empowering others instills a sense of confidence that is tough to replace. It’s a great way to cross-train employees while allowing them the opportunity to make decisions on their own and live with the consequences, both positive and negative.

    10. Problem Solver - One of the most often overlooked skills of an effective manager is the ability to solve problems quickly and efficiently. It could be something as simple as assigning tasks or determining project responsibilities or as difficult as removing an employee from a project.

    One of the bigger challenges is solving problems of motivation. Skilled managers have a strong sense of what motivates their employees and due to their excellent communication skills, are able to successfully find solutions to these types of problems.

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    Sources

    Blair, Gerard M., "What Makes a Good Manager," The University of Edinburgh School of Engineering, http://www.see.ed.ac.uk/~gerard/Management/art9.html

    Stephenson, James, "25 Common Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs," Entrepreneur, http://www.entrepreneur.com/homebasedbiz/article200730.html

    Levinson, Meredith, "Six Attributes of Successful Project Managers," CIO, http://www.cio.com/article/447182/Six_Attributes_of_Successful_Project_Managers

    Image credits:

    Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

    photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net