Qualities of Good Management: 14 Characteristics Every Manager Should Develop

February 16, 2023 Workhuman Editorial Team
qualities of good management

Are you thinking of taking on a managerial role? Or, maybe you’re looking to hire a new manager for your company. Whatever the case may be, there are a few factors to take into consideration when it comes to the qualities of good management.

Managers play an important part in fostering an encouraging and productive work environment. As a manager, it’s not just about being good at your job; it’s also about being able to encourage and bring the best out of your team.

With that backdrop, we’re going to shed light on the 14 essential qualities of good management so that you can start promoting them at your company.

Common characteristics of good management and their impact on business

Managers need to be able to balance the needs of their employees, company, and customers. A manager has to be a team leader who can recognize and develop each employee’s strengths. It’s more than just delegating tasks.

Hiring a manager that listens to and understands their employees can help create a more positive workplace. In fact, a study by the University of Warwick showed that there was a 12% increase in productivity when employees were happy at their job.

Meanwhile, bad management can lead to low employee morale and high employee turnover. You can see this in Gallup’s study where about 50% of respondents reported having left a job because of a bad manager.

High turnover rates can be costly for a company, due to constant recruiting, hiring, and training expenses. Not only are costs a concern, but potential recruits may also become doubtful of the company if they see that employees aren’t choosing to stick around. 

It can also negatively affect the employees who have stuck it out, causing a dip in their morale after seeing plenty of their coworkers leave.

You can avoid this by seeking out and developing the following characteristics in your managers:

  • Reliable communication skills
  • Ability to build on employees’ strengths
  • Positive and level-headed temperament
  • Adept at setting goals for individuals and the team
  • Efficient decision-making skills

These characteristics are essential for a good manager to have, but they aren’t the only things. Next, we will go over 14 of the most important skills a manager should have in order to be the most effective for their reports. 

14 traits of good managers

Managers need to be proficient at their job, which involves hard skills. They must also know how to be personable to their employees, which is where soft skills come in. The following is a list of skills that should be developed in order to become an effective manager:

1. Communication skills

As a manager, you serve as the bridge between the company and its employees. You must be clear and accurate while communicating information to your team.

At the same time, you must be an active listener whenever your team members have questions or suggestions. Communicate in a way that makes employees feel comfortable coming to you for any concerns.

Research from Harvard Business Review shows that employees appreciate it when managers communicate their feedback with honesty.

2. Leadership

Managers are responsible for leading employees through changes and challenges. This means that a lot of the decision-making will fall onto you. You’ll need to be decisive and assertive. Learn what’s good for your team and the company based on your direct reports’ strengths and weaknesses. There is no one-size-fits-all manager, after all.

As a leader, you also need to inspire your team to work towards a shared vision and motivate them to strive beyond what’s required. Effective leaders lead to better performance. According to one study, “transformational leadership predicted higher project quality and budget/schedule performance ratings at time one and one-year later at time two.”

Employee practicing Good Management

3. Teamwork

Good management fosters teamwork among its employees. This helps encourage collaboration instead of competition between them. It’s your duty as the manager to learn how to get different employees to work together effectively. 

Set an example by being open to your team members’ ideas. And while you may have the final say, it’s important to involve your team in making decisions so they understand that their thoughts and opinions do matter, despite not being the final call.

In research using an Enterprise Resource Planning simulation (ERPsim) game, students were put in teams to manage their own virtual company. Results showed that good teamwork led to higher team performance and satisfaction.

4. Emotional stability

In a study called “Core personality traits of managers,” researchers examined the qualities managers had that positively affected their employees’ career satisfaction.

These core personality traits include emotional stability, assertiveness, openness, optimism, and work drive.

As a manager, being in charge of several people can put a lot of pressure on you. This means that they’ll need you to be reliable and have emotional stability, even if and when you are struggling with a project that falls above your employees’ purview.

It’s important to remain level-headed when difficult situations arise so that your employees know that they can count on you.

5. Assertiveness

A successful manager must be able to be decisive and assertive. You’ll need to be able to present your opinions with confidence. Speaking up about important matters and defending your ideas are also crucial aspects of becoming an effective leader.

As a leader, your employees will need plenty of support from you. You can think of yourself not just as a leader, but also as a coach. Whenever your employees are facing difficulties, guide them toward generating their own solutions.

6. Openness

Being open to new experiences is important when managing employees from many different backgrounds. 

Showing that you are receptive to their ideas and learning new things will inspire creative thinking in the workplace. As a result, if the company seeks to innovate, you and your employees will also be able to adapt to change.

Check out our guide on using inclusive language in the workplace here!

7. Trustworthiness

Building trust is a key factor in creating a positive work environment. Respect your employees’ privacy when they tell you something confidential.

When your employees trust you, they’ll be more confident in proposing their ideas to you, making your team more innovative and creative. They’ll also need to trust you as their manager to support the decisions that you make.

According to a study by SHRM, 61% of their respondents believe that trust between management and employees plays an important role in their overall job satisfaction.

a careful and thoughtful manager helping employees

8. Optimism

Managers play a key role in keeping their employees’ morale up. Every career comes with difficult situations, but one way to work through them is by maintaining a positive attitude.

Instead of being daunted by negative circumstances, a great manager helps their employees think of them as stepping stones towards success. This will inspire you and your team to keep working towards your goals and overcome adversity.

9. Work drive

Having a high work drive means that you are willing and able to put in the effort and time needed as a manager. It’s also evident in your willingness to take on challenging goals.

One of the most important roles a manager has is to also set these goals for the whole team and for individual employees. For team goals, you’ll need to delegate the tasks that will help you all achieve the company’s objective. 

As for individual goals, you can sit down with each employee and discuss what they want to achieve in their job. Your role is to guide them in this process and motivate them to accomplish those goals.

10. Empathy

A study by the Center for Creative Leadership shows that managers who were rated as empathetic by their employees also had better job performance, according to their bosses.

Having empathy exhibits a high level of emotional intelligence. It is an important element in connecting with your employees. They are humans who will sometimes face struggles and burnout.

Learning to empathize with them will help you identify if their workload is becoming too much for them to handle. You can then offer them support before they push themselves too far.

Employees devote a lot of time and energy to work, so they need to know that the company can help them when they need it.

An empathetic manager may be able to influence the rest of the workplace, showing that it’s important to understand each other to work as a team.

11. Motivating work environment

Good managers understand that they can create a motivating work environment by setting a good example. Learn what motivates each of your employees so that they’re excited to come to work. This could be in the form of team-building activities or recognizing their hard work.

Increasing your employees’ motivation will have a positive impact on their productivity because it shows them that they have something to work towards.

12. Goal setting

Managers understand the importance of hitting their KPIs. One of the most important roles of a manager is proper goal setting. Managers must create alignment through goal setting.

If you want to foster a culture of growth and continuous learning, create greater alignment by empowering your employees to set their own goals that align best with your company’s goals and initiatives.

A manager who’s willing to empower his employees will see an increase in employee engagement and buy-in from the team.

13. Conflict resolution

When working with a group of people, inevitably, conflicts will sometimes arise. Your employees have different personalities and ideas that may clash.

As a manager, you’ll need to become a mediator who can listen to and understand everyone’s point of view. When all sides have been heard, you can come up with a solution to the conflict or a compromise between the employees involved.

Sometimes employees won’t immediately reach out to you regarding workplace conflict, so you’ll need to be aware of it yourself. You can then resolve the issue before it gets any bigger.

good leader resolving workplace conflict

14. Accountability

No employee is perfect, and that includes you. Managers are allowed to make mistakes, but what’s important is that you take accountability for those mistakes.

Leading by example shows your employees that they should do the same, instead of blaming other factors for any shortcomings.

Admitting your mistakes will also help you learn from them, allowing you to move forward with new knowledge. Even though you’re busy managing other people, you’re also learning and growing with your team.

Hiring and developing better managers

Now that you know the traits of a good manager, how do you develop them? How do you know if a managerial candidate has these must-have qualities?

Supporting the growth and development of managers

Better managers will almost always lead to happier and more productive employees. They represent the company’s values while setting an example for their team members.

If you’re hiring a first-time manager, allow them to train under a mentor who’s had experience. Before they can learn to support a whole team of employees, they’ll need their own support system while getting used to the role.

You can even have managers collaborate with each other to provide tips and knowledge that will help them all improve. Remind them of the necessary soft skills that they can develop while on the job.

Learn how Social Recognition from Workhuman can build up managers so that they can better build up their employees in the white paper, “11 Ways Employee Recognition Builds Better Managers.”

Read it now!

Hiring better managers

When looking for a new manager, you can assess internal candidates who exhibit leadership skills. Maybe they already have the qualities you’re looking for and are ready for a promotion, which is often less expensive and an easier transition than bringing someone new in.

This is ideal because they already know how the company works and are well-acquainted with other employees. This will also let them know that promotions are something they can work towards.

If you’re hiring outside your company, make sure you highlight your company’s core values to attract the right kind of candidates. Create the company culture that you would want potential managers to foster.

Don’t forget the importance of soft skills. While hard skills may bring you immediate results, they can always be taught. Soft skills take a much longer time to develop, so it’s best if your candidates already possess those qualities.



Managers are integral in creating a positive and productive work environment. Without them, it’ll be impossible to keep your employees aligned and on the same page. 

Being the bridge between companies and their employees, managers are there to address any questions and concerns from their team. They also represent your company’s core values in the workplace.

With that in mind, it’s of the utmost importance to find and develop the above-listed qualities of good management in your managerial candidates.