Leadership Qualities to Look for When Hiring a Manager

Linda Mars

Managers can greatly affect the success of your organization. Besides making sure day-to-day operations go smoothly, great managers also offer support and encouragement for employees to reach their full potential. This, in turn, can drive productivity and produce quality work ⁠— helping organizations reach their goals and succeed.

This is why you must pick a managerial candidate who knows how to lead. After all, nobody listens to a horrible boss. Indeed, the Wall Street Journal's Lauren Weber points out that half of the employees resign just to get away from their manager. So if you’re on the lookout for someone to fill a managerial position in your organization, we’ve listed below the essential leadership qualities of a manager.

Leadership Qualities of a Good Manager in the Workplace

Conciseness

Conciseness

A key indicator of good communication skills is conciseness. Being able to say what you need to say with the least amount of effort is an art. And in the corporate world, being concise can eliminate any instances of miscommunication. Managers who know how to be concise can get their team on the same page without over-explaining and wasting their time.

During the interview with a prospective manager, you can gauge their conciseness by looking at how they answer your questions. If they can explain their answers properly while being brief, you have a good communicator on your hands.

Focus

Focus

Good managers should be able to focus on company goals and objectives and keep up with the many projects and initiatives they have to deal with daily. Despite having many competing priorities, a manager should be able to give each priority an equal amount of dedication and attention to lead the company to success. Conciseness and focus are the key strengths of a good manager.

So when hiring a new manager, be sure to look at their track record and ask if they’ve been able to oversee multiple projects at the same time ⁠— up to completion. Managers who are focused don’t only wear multiple hats at once ⁠— they also place importance on finishing a task and doing it well. This is what makes a good manager.

Empathy

Empathy

Everyone needs to understand why empathy is an essential human trait. Putting yourself in somebody else’s shoes can help you understand their actions and reasoning. Managers should empathize with their employees and imagine what it’s like to do their jobs to lead them correctly. What’s more, empathetic managers can strengthen the trust between them and their employees.

As HR practitioner and expert Taruna Lohmror wrote in a previous post here on the blog, empathy also goes both ways. By being understanding, your employee will also try to be more understanding of a manager's decisions.

To gauge a potential candidate's empathy, try to ask questions that put them in tricky situations. Managers who practice empathy will be willing to look at all angles and understand different perspectives first before moving.

Resilience

Resilience

Any good manager should recover and bounce back from the many stressful and chaotic situations that can arise in the workplace. Resilience helps people learn from their mistakes and acknowledge that something has gone sideways while they’re in charge. The great thing about resilience is that it can be learned through experience, but this value should already be present when hiring a manager for your organization.

This is all the more important today when workers and managers alike have to adapt to constantly changing policies and uncertain everyday realities. In this light, resilience coach L. Barbour told Marcus that a key marker for resilience is the ability to recognize stress and understand how one tends to respond to it. Only through this can a person figure out how to best respond to different and constantly evolving challenges.

So, when analyzing potential new managers, be sure to evaluate if they have any gratitude for past experiences and how they’ve been shaped by the hardships they faced in the past.

Commitment

Commitment

You should make sure that the person you hire for the managerial position is in it for the long haul. Staffing firm Robert Half reports that 64% of today’s workers favor job-hopping, so finding a manager who’s more than willing to stick around can get difficult. You must find someone ready to commit to your organization to create a culture of growth.

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Moreover, employees don’t trust uncommitted leaders, so finding one who displays this trait is crucial to driving the organization to success. So, be sure to assess a prospect’s CV, check how long they stayed at their previous employers, and ask their reason for leaving. By doing this, you can gauge the level of commitment a potential hire is willing to give to your organization. ⁠

Conciseness, focus, resilience, empathy, and commitment are the five important traits of a good manager.

Overall, you want to hire a manager who’s ready to go the extra mile. Cleopatra's editor Alexandra Hearth suggests on Medium that great managers use their experience to guide and offer suggestions that can drive their teams and organizations to success. So, be sure to use our sage advice and look for the leadership qualities we’ve listed above during your next interview with an aspiring manager.

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