The 6 Must-Have Qualities Of A Great Manager

Managers are very important in the business world as they are responsible for…well…managing aspects of the company. Within a particular organization, you could have many different managers. Some are higher up than others, but all of them will share the same must-have qualities that make them great at what they do. 

Today, we’re running through all of these qualities to show you what it takes to be an exceptional manager. If you’re looking to advance your career and move up to a management role, this is very useful to understand what you need to be considered for these jobs. Similarly, if you’re looking to hire a manager for your own business, this gives you a list of qualities to look for. 

Without waiting any longer, here are the must-have qualities of a great manager:

The ability to read people

Managers need to be excellent at reading people and getting a sense of how someone feels or acts. This is super important for a plethora of reasons, but the key one is that you have to spot behaviours in people that might impact the business. 

For example, good managers are able to spot that an employee is feeling down or might be in a bit of a funk, and they can react to this. It could be a case of giving the employee some time off to recharge, and they come back a few days later feeling refreshed and in a better headspace. A lot of managers and supervisors are encouraged to undergo reasonable suspicion training to become better at reading people and spotting bad habits in the workplace – like signs of alcohol abuse. The idea is that you can read when something isn’t right, then take action. 

If you can’t read people, you will never be a very good manager. It’s rare that people come to their manager with personal problems or issues, so it’s the manager’s job to spot them and inquire about them to find a solution. 

Excellent analytical skills

A big part of a manager’s job is receiving lots of information or looking at a lot of data and making sense out of it. In essence, managers need to have excellent analytical skills to take loads of information and find the best outcomes. This can include looking at sales data and figuring out how to improve your sales figures, or it could be as simple as analyzing employee performance

The best managers have the analytical skills to absorb lots of information and find the best solutions to problems. In turn, this will improve business output and maximize productivity in the workplace. If someone can’t analyze things very well, should they be a manager?

Lead by example

It’s such a cliche phrase, yet it is one of the most integral qualities all managers should have. Leading by example basically means that someone is a role model that others look up to. You don’t just talk the talk, you walk the walk. Too many people get into management positions and see it as an opportunity to sit around doing nothing. They feel as though they’ve made it to the top and have earned their rest. So, they’re very hands-off and spend most of the time bossing people around. 

Does this inspire any employees? Will it develop a positive relationship between the employees and the manager? No and no! As a result, employees are likely to be less productive as they resent the manager and see no reason to work hard if they’re not working equally as hard. Great managers are the hardest workers in the room, and they show this to their employees. You have to lead by example to earn the respect of your peers, encouraging them to follow suit. 

Focusing on employee strengths

The main difference between terrible managers and the best managers is that the best ones understand that the employees are the heart of an organization. If you can’t get the best out of your employees, you are never going to enjoy the most amount of success possible. Thus, brilliant managers will always focus on employee strengths. 

Essentially, they create systems and work with employees to understand each person’s key strengths. When the strengths have been identified, it’s a case of getting the most out of them. Consequently, all employees are working on things that target their strengths, so they can work as productively and impressively as possible. Over time, they build on their strengths and feel more confident and happy, leading to an all-around better workplace. 

Good under pressure

Handling oneself under pressure is such a critical quality to have in a management role. In a lot of instances, managers are constantly asked to perform under pressure. The role itself puts you in a pressure situation as you have many responsibilities and you will be held accountable if you don’t reach certain targets, etc. 

So, managers that can handle themselves under pressure will always outperform those that crumble. It’s all about sizing up a situation, quickly working out a solution, then acting as fast as possible. As the old saying goes: if you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen!


One word, yet it means a massive deal when looking at managers. A fantastic manager will be open to new ideas and won’t stay stuck in the same way. This is such an awful quality of managers; they think they know the best way of doing things, so will refuse to change their mind. You tend to see this in some older managers who haven’t adapted to the modern workplace. Just because something used to work well, it doesn’t mean it still works well or that there aren’t better ways of doing it. The best managers are open to new thoughts and concepts and will let their team know this. 

If you want to become a better manager – or are keen to understand what it takes to be one – these are the qualities you need to have. Likewise, for any hirers out there, be sure you have this shortlist of qualities ticked off before you bring a new manager to your business. 

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Scott Baber
Scott Baber
Senior Managing editor

Manages incoming enquiries and advertising. Based in London and very sporty. Worked news and sports desks in local paper after graduating.


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