The 4 Personality Traits of Every Good Manager (From Someone Who Knows Best)

The 4 Personality Traits of Every Good Manager (From Someone Who Knows Best)
by Kelly Poulson
Photos Diana Zapata | August 16, 2016
Did you know Kelly Paulson is also one of Career Contessa's mentors? Book one-on-one session with her to get some personalized career advice. 
Managing people is hard. There. I said it.
It's the career world's perfect conspiracy theory. We all know how difficult it is to learn how to be a good manager, but we pretend it just happens. You have a stellar career, get kudos left and right for your work, so when you’re suddenly overseeing a team it shouldn’t be too tough for you to master, right? Guess again. Sometimes even the very best and brightest struggle with the challenges of management. There's a reason why there are countless books written on leadreship. So, let’s talk about how to get you started off on the right foot by talking about some key personality traits you should nurture.

Get ready. This first pointer is pretty tough.

good managers are also human beings

That’s right. To learn great management skills, get in touch with your humanity and your team's. Most of us have heard the term "emotional Intelligence." The definition is really quite simple: To stay in touch with who you are, how you feel, and the feelings of those around you.  Even a little emotional intelligence goes a long way, when facing day-to-day challenges with your team.
If you’re not checking in with each member of your team, one-on-one, at least once a week, you’re not doing your job.

that make time to have meaningful conversations with their team

Regularly. If you’re not checking in with each member of your team, one-on-one, at least once a week, you’re not doing your job. And these conversations shouldn’t be simple status updates. Talk to them about the challenges they’re facing. Ask how you can help. Congratulate them on a job well done. Ask for feedback on your own work. You’ll be shocked at how impactful these regular interactions can be not only on a team’s performance but also their morale. Bottom line: you want your people to be happy. 

good managers aren't afraid to Take action

So now you're on your way to champ manager status. You’re having conversations and doing so in a human way. That's all great, but it doesn’t mean much if you don’t act. Noticing that someone on your team seems stressed out isn’t enough—you need to take the next step by taking action to remedy the situation. Force them to take some time off, remove a few projects from their plate, do anything you can in order to remedy the situation even if it’s just providing encouragement. Then follow up with them to make sure these changes actually help. 

or Share their excitement

People need to be inspired. Obvious statement, right? But while that inspiration can come from a variety of places, good managers should definitely be one of those sources for their team. That means providing learning opportunities regualrly. Fear not, you won’t have to create tons of new content personally if that’s not your thing. But share books, articles, encourage your team to attend conferences, even suggest they watch TED talks. Do everything within your power to get those folks excited. A good manager needs to motivate, push boundaries, and encourage exploration. 

Though managing a team is difficult, it's rewarding when you’ve got it down. As a manager, you’ve got the ability to impact careers and lives. You should do your best to make sure that impact is positive. The first step is committing to embodying the traits that great managers demonstrate every day.
* * *
What are your biggest management questions?