5 Traits That All Exceptional Managers Have

Good Managers

What does it take to be an exceptional manager?

You may think you don’t have the skills to be an influential leader, but don’t sell yourself short.

Not everyone is a born leader, and the reality is that many of us have to work hard to become one.

But employees look up to confident, forward-thinking managers. They also appreciate leaders who are willing to offer mentorship and support.

If you’re an aspiring manager (or a current one who wants to sharpen their leadership skills), this article is for you.

Read on to learn about the five traits that all great managers share.

1. Effective Communication Skills

The ability to communicate is an important soft skill. As a strong leader, you should understand how to communicate with the people around you.

You should be able to “read” people and talk to them in a way that gets through to them. You should be able to communicate clearly in one-on-one conversation and have confidence in leading big meetings.

Throughout all of your interactions, you should be able to lead and inspire your team.

Talking to your employees never stops. As a manager, you have to offer guidance and advice every day. So, you must work on perfecting your communication skills.

It’s important to remember that everyone has a different communication style. Some of your employees may be extroverts who are happy to chat for hours on end. But, you may also come across people who are difficult to communicate with.

In every case, it’s your job to meet them on their level and figure out how to talk to them effectively.

2. Confidence

Let’s be honest:

Even leaders make mistakes sometimes. No one is perfect.

But, you should be confident in every decision you make. Your team needs to know that you are doing your best to steer them in the right direction. That way, they’ll trust your decisions and feel comfortable following your lead.

When you demonstrate that you believe in yourself, your employees will follow suit and become more confident in themselves. It’ll prompt them to get high-quality work done.

During challenging times, be an influential leader who pushes forward fearlessly. And when you make a mistake, be sure to take responsibility. Bad leaders are the ones who point fingers when something goes wrong, but good leaders hold themselves accountable.

Not everything is going to be peachy all the time. But when you maintain a sense of confidence, you’ll be able to keep your team in high spirits.

3. An Ability to Set Clear Goals

If you want to be a great manager, you have to be able to set clear goals. How else is your team supposed to know what you do?

You must also develop a timeline for each of your employees. When do you want specific tasks done?

You should have both short-term goals and long-term ones. For example, you might want to hit a certain revenue by the next quarter. But you should also have a revenue goal for the next five years. That way, you’ll be able to measure your team’s success.

By setting business goals (and accomplishing them), you’ll radiate confidence and show others they can do whatever they set their minds to.

If you don’t set goals, your employees won’t have a clear vision for the future. Goals are essentially like a roadmap — they give teams a sense of direction.

So write down some goals and stick to them. You might even consider having your employees write down some targets and incentives, too.

Have something for them to reference and offer an incentive for them to do well. This tactic will work wonders.

Providing incentives is a great way to boost team morale. And, you get some brownie points from your employees as well.

Be an excellent leader by following through with your goals. Encourage others to press on and do the same! They’re going to look to you when they feel like giving up.

4. Acts as a Mentor

Whether you like it or not, employees are going to look up to you for advice. So you need to be an excellent mentor to them.

Don’t be afraid to offer some guidance when an employee doesn’t know which way to turn. You can be a sounding board and offer pointers on what they can do to improve.

As a mentor, you will also do the following:

  • Offer support during professional and life challenges
  • Share lessons based on your experience
  • Help them develop career goals
  • Be available for your employees to talk to when they need help

By offering advice to others, you’ll learn a lot about yourself. Walking someone through a problem and offering solutions helps you to review what you know.

Mentorship is very fulfilling.

But as a mentor, you should never get so wrapped up in your employees that you forget to focus on yourself. You must find a stable balance between helping others and helping yourself.

5. Adapts Well to Change

Things are continually changing in the business world.

Think about it:

Fifteen years ago, only 5% of American adults had a social media account. But today, 79% of people are on social media.

The rise of social media revolutionized the business world, and managers had to adapt. In order to take their companies to the next level, managers had to acclimate to this new version of the internet.

In other words, you must be flexible. When changes happen on your team, in your company, or in your industry, you must be able to shift accordingly. Flexibility will help you stay afloat when things don’t go as planned.

For example, if your team encounters some kinks in a project, it’s up to you to go with the flow and figure out a resolution. If you allow the change to distract you, then you’ll have a harder time getting back on course.

By being flexible and forward-thinking, you’ll be able to solve any problem that comes your way. And with on-going changes, this is an essential part of leadership.


There’s no doubt you can be a powerful manager with these traits, so start developing them today.

If you’re new to the world of management, don’t worry. You’ll get the hang of this leadership thing and become the great manager you were born to be!

Remember, having others look up to you doesn’t have to be intimidating. Be your charismatic self, and look forward to improving your skills one day at a time. Your employees will appreciate your willingness to adapt as they learn alongside you.

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