5 Managerial Qualities You Didn't Know You Already Have
By Anjali Stenquist on 10/19/2020
Lately, you’ve been thinking about the next step in your professional life. You’re good at your job, but you’re ready to take on a new challenge. But what about taking a step up into management? How do you know if you’re ready to transition into more of a leadership role in your work?
While the technical skills and knowledge needed to be an effective manager can be developed with experience and education, there are certainly some qualities of a good manager that just tend to come naturally. What’s exciting is the fact that you may already have some of these qualities in your would-be manager’s toolkit—and you’ve likely been refining them by just living your life!
That’s right, your life outside the workplace may have given you professional tools you didn’t know you had—the kind of tools that can lay the foundation for you becoming an effective, respected, and great manager. In this article we’ve asked business professionals to identify some of the top natural traits of an effective manager—and why they matter.
5 Managerial traits you may already have in your toolkit
Being an effective manager is about more than knowing how to create a balanced budget or knowing how to make a process more efficient. There’s a mix of people skills and personality tendencies needed as well. Let’s take a closer look.
1. You know how to keep people motivated
As a manager, a lot of your responsibility is to keep members of your team working hard through unexpected obstacles and challenging circumstances. Whatever field you work in, situations outside of your control like unclear client expectations or a stressed consumer base will make it difficult for your employees to show up to work every day feeling confident in their ability to work effectively. This is where an ability to help people see their strengths and build up their confidence can help make your team successful.
Whether you’ve experienced this with a child coming home in tears after a rough day at basketball practice but kept their chin up after a pep talk, or had a close friend call you during a crisis and leave the conversation with a little less of a tremble in their voice, you know how to help people pick themselves up and move forward with confidence.
“You can have the most amazing business idea or feature concept,” says Allie Fleder, COO of SimplyWise. “But if you can’t rally and motivate the right people to build and market that idea, you will have nothing. An effective manager can make or break a department, a team, and a business.”
2. You meet people as they are
As a manager, you need to employ people who are vastly different workers, personalities, and thinkers than you are. The diversity of your staff will help you accomplish your goals with more innovation and competence.
If you are able to navigate many different social settings, from the woman you meet at the grocery store to the banker you meet with to discuss opening a new checking account, you have already been practicing these skills.
“Someone interested in leadership must demonstrate they can communicate well, are willing to assist others, and have the maturity to fit in with different personalities,” says Alex Azoury, founder and CEO of Home Grounds.
You’re not going to be best friends with every employee, and reasonable differences in opinion and attitude are going to exist. Being able to build bridges and find common ground is an important asset for any leadership role.
3. You know how to meet a goal
Managers are big-picture workers. While their team members tackle individual projects, managers make sure that the larger work of the organization gets done and gets done efficiently. The ability to function on an executive level by creating deadlines and making sure team members meet those deadlines and navigate unexpected delays in a way that won’t set a project back weeks or months is essential for anyone interested in a leadership role.
If you keep a detailed calendar for yourself or for other people in your life, you are already developing this critical skill. You are thinking through what needs to be accomplished and breaking it into manageable steps in order to move forward.
“In management, it can be so easy to focus on your own tasks,” says Amy McWaters, CEO of the Hamper Emporium. “But it is critical that you are able to absorb the overall impact of decisions, issues, and strategies department-wide.”
4. You understand mistakes happen—and quickly recover
If you think about the best managers you’ve had, a common quality is often a boss who understood the difference between a small mistake and a major offense. Particularly as you work with new employees, mistakes are inevitable and provide a chance to educate rather than chastise a person for something they may not have had a great deal of control over.
A good manager is able to empathize with their employees in order to understand why they might be challenged by certain areas of their work and excel at others. That empathy allows a strong manager to bring out the best in their workers and build mutual respect and trust.
Empathy is likely already be a major part of your life. Whether it’s as simple as not losing your head when someone cuts you off in traffic, or helping a child fix something they broke rather than punishing them for an accident, this skill is essential as you consider moving into management.
“Empathy helps a manager put themselves in their employee’s shoes,” says Ian Kelly, VP of Operations at NuLeaf Naturals. “This helps managers make employees more productive and is valuable to the company.”
5. You love to solve problems
Plenty of people are better at ignoring a problem than they are at solving them. This is kryptonite to a strong manager. If you like to deal with things head on and find creative solutions to obstacles in your life, you are already working on a critical skill in management.
“An effective manager who knows how to be a problem solver gets work done and does it well,” says Sturgeon Christie, VEO at Second Skin Audio. “An effective manager acts as soon as a problem arises, and that’s how they keep a business running smoothly.”
Round out your management skillset
If you have some of the natural skills to become a manager, there are lots of steps you can take to make yourself a strong candidate within your field. A Business Management degree from Rasmussen University can provide you with an excellent foundation of versatile business skills and knowledge. Want to learn more? Check out our article, “What to Expect in a Business Management Program.”