Surprise! You Already Have the Characteristics of a Successful Manager
As a professional, you may ask yourself, "What qualities make a successful manager?" Well, remember all the advice you got as a kid about playing fair at recess, sharing in the classroom, and doing your homework on time? The characteristics of a successful manager are pretty much the same set of skills. The only difference is that this time around you get to be the captain of the kickball team.
Characteristics of a Successful Manager
Be yourself. One of the best leadership qualities for supervisors is authenticity. Know your strengths, skills and what you stand for. Your job is then to make your actions, thoughts and words line up with who you are. Your employees will appreciate your consistency as a manager.
Do the right thing. It's one thing to know the qualities of a successful manager; it's another to live them. No one wants to follow someone they don't trust. Trust is earned by walking your talk. If you want people to be on time to meetings, do it yourself first.
Be nice to others. Believe it or not, you can treat your employees respectfully and see big profits at the same time. When your team stays late to hit a last-minute deadline, take the time to acknowledge them and offer some comp time as a reward. They'll be more likely to stand by your side and less likely to complain.
Use your words. Clear communication is one of the key characteristics of a successful manager. Make sure that your employees understand the team's goals and what success looks like. Everyone should know who is responsible for which tasks and what the deadlines are. This method keeps finger-pointing to a minimum and reduces the chance that things will fall through the cracks.
Clean your room. There will be times when you have to do things you don't like to do. Saying "no," firing someone and delivering hard feedback are tough tasks and require strong leadership qualities for supervisors and managers. But before pulling the trigger, make sure you have all of your facts straight and aren't acting impulsively. Instead, act for the good of the whole. That way you'll have better luck sleeping at night.
Follow the rules. Just like the playground, your organization has both stated and unstated rules of conduct. Pay attention so you know which behaviors are considered out of bounds. Is it going to be career suicide if you don't play hoops with the boys on Fridays? Will wearing heels and pearls help or hurt your chance at a promotion? Considering questions like these will help you see what qualities make a successful manager at your organization.
Pick a winning team. Similar to picking sides for kickball, you want the most skilled group with the best ability to produce results. Choose people who enhance your characteristics of a successful manager by complimenting your strengths and making up for your shortcomings. If you're good at staying organized but struggle to come up with fresh ideas, be sure to hire at least one person who is creative and can help you dream big.
C.J. Liu is a certified professional coach, who helps professionals define success on their own terms. C.J. offers leadership training retreats and also has taught for the University of Washington.