7 Traits of High Performing Managers

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“Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them.” The ability to find strong managers to lead teams appears to be a systemic problem across organizations this year.  Everyone wants to be a manager, but there are only a small percentage who are management material.

I recently had a conversation with someone who was laying their management hat down after a year-long stint and returning to their previous profession. The individual said, “I thought managing others would be easy and come naturally, but who would have thought it would be the most challenging role.” As he was speaking, I noticed the body language of defeat and humility. It made me realize that there is a science to being a highly functioning manager and to building a constituent of followers.

The past 20 years of my career has been spent being a specialized follower of some very highly successful individuals.  Most people work really hard in their roles to make it into an executive, director, or management role.  I am one of those weird birds who gets “HER” rocks off following those individuals.  Do you know how much impact you can have on an individuals career if you agree to follow them?  Well, I do.  There have been many individuals that I watched climb the ladder really quickly and others that crashed and burned.  I attribute the successful managers to 7 Traits that separated them from their failing counterparts.

Trait #1  Adaptability

The captain that steers his ship in the right direction in turbulent waters lives to see another day. It is imperative for a manager to be able to quickly adapt to organizational or strategic change. And, communicate difficult and strong messages to the group in order to keep all hands on deck when the strategic direction shifts quickly.

Trait #2  Integrity

Someone who is driven by their core beliefs will be able to drive the core beliefs of others. How would you like to be able to look at your manager and say, “I trust that he/she will take care of XYZ?” Individuals that live by a code of honor will be able to effectively guide and direct their followers.

Trait #3  Intellectual Stimulator

“Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.” Einstein continues teaching us today about what it means to be intellectually stimulating for others to follow.  The intellectual stimulator will constantly strive to think “outside the box” in a creative and stimulating fashion that pushes individuals to find new ways of achieving goals and objectives.

Trait #4  Personal Development

All followers are watching the movements of the manager every single day.  A manager who is willing to build upon their own professional growth and natural talents will have a direct impact on the bottom line of the business.  If followers see a manager taking the necessary steps to improve their individual growth, then they will respect the manager and follow their lead in developing professional skills of their own.  This will help the organization be much stronger and more strategic year after year.

Trait #5  Strategic Influencer

An individual must exhibit high moral and ethical standards in order to achieve a strong following. The ethical authority a leader possesses will be passed to his team, which drives the motivation to perform and produce at 150 percent every single day. The strategic influencer is bestowed charismatic characteristics that permeates the entire organization.

Trait #6  Transformational Communicator

A transformational communicator will be purpose-driven, people-driven, innovative and inspiring. They will be a change agent in encouraging others to place more discretionary efforts in their work, mentoring followers to achieve individual goals and objectives, and continuously role modeling personal high standards that motivates followers to reach for the same moon and stars.

Trait #7  Transactional Developer

The transactional developer builds trust amongst their followers in order to manage individual and group performance.  They utilize negotiations to align the group with organizational goals and objectives.  By using these methods, the manager is able to promote achievements with rewards and punishments and continuously achieve high performance amongst their followers.

Effective management is comprised of these 7 key traits and is only found in a small percentage of individuals.  Organizations need to be more strategic in their sourcing and hiring of members of their management teams.  Individuals that are high performing in their current profession will not necessarily be high performing managers.  The right steps need to be followed in order to find the right individuals to fill the management seats within organizations.  HR teams can build hiring strategies off these 7 key traits in order to find the small percentage of candidates that are high performing managers.

Building high performing management teams will increase retention rates and impact the bottom line.  What steps are you taking to hire the right individuals to fill management seats within your organization?

 “Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge, fitter to bruise than polish.”

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