What Makes a Good Manager?

If you have these 10 qualities of a good manager, you should definitely pursue a promotion—or even a new job.

What Makes a Good Manager?

Great managers are a hot commodity in the workforce.

To figure out what makes a good manager, let's first start with the flip side. Unfortunately, there's no shortage of bad managers out there. In a Monster poll, the majority of U.S. respondents (76%) said they currently have or recently had a toxic boss. Those workers said that bad bosses are power-hungry (26%), micromanagers (18%), incompetent (17%), or just never around (15%).

Now that we know what's typical of a terrible manager, it's time to talk about the traits that all excellent managers possess. By the looks of it, if you're manager material, you'll be a hot commodity in the workforce, which you can use to go after a promotion or a higher-level job at a new company. Find out what makes a good manager in our list below.

1. Creativity

Top managers—like top-performing employees—generate out-of-the-box ideas that push businesses forward. These individuals introduce new strategies that improve their company's workflow, productivity, and bottom line. Put simply, they're change agents.

2. Problem Solving

Companies rely on problem solvers to navigate unexpected challenges. The best managers don't just tackle issues, though—they also identify weak spots before serious problems arise.

3. Resiliency

If you're a manager who truly pushes boundaries, mistakes are inevitable. The important thing is being able to recover by analyzing why you failed and identifying what you can do better in the future. When something goes wrong—note that it's not if something goes wrong, it's when—you need to own it and learn from your mistakes to be an effective boss.

4. Credit Sharing

Want to know what makes a good manager? Someone who cheers more than jeers. Sadly, some managers just don't spend enough time praising their employees as much as they do giving them critical feedback. Great managers publicly acknowledge their direct reports when credit is due; they also sing their praises to higher ups. This type of public recognition keeps employees motivated.


No one likes working for a micromanager. Thus, as a boss it's important to be able to take a step back and let your direct reports do their jobs without feeling like you're always watching over their shoulder. Also, by delegating tasks you'll establish trust with your employees, which is no small thing.

6. Assertiveness

While some bosses are micromanagers, other bosses are too hands-off—oftentimes because they're afraid of confrontation, says Hill. But being able to confront direct reports when they're falling short is an inherent part of being an effective boss. That said, great managers are assertive without being aggressive or condescending.

7. Good Communication

Leadership is a primary ingredient of what makes a good manager. Being a trusted guide and having solid communication skills go hand in hand. That's why managers must be transparent with their direct reports, especially when sharing goals with their team. Granted, good communication isn't just about expressing yourself—it's also about asking your employees the right questions and actively soliciting their feedback so you're able to access information as successfully as you deliver it.

8. Empathy

Being able to read a person's moods is a core quality of a great manager, which may explain why a whopping 96% of workers said empathy is important for employers to demonstrate in BusinessSolver's State of Workplace Empathy survey. In addition, research from the Center for Creative Leadership found that bosses who show empathy to the people they manage are seen as better performers by their own managers.

9. Honesty

Employees value honest feedback—and great managers give them it. Moreover, Gallup research shows that workers who receive regular feedback from their managers perform better for their teams and companies. Another reason honesty is an important skill for managers: In difficult times, the best thing you can do for your team is level with them. Acknowledge that times are tough, and be sure to let them know you have their backs. If they have problems, keep your door literally and figuratively open to them.

10. People-oriented

Great managers invest in their employees' career growth. One way they do this is by offering their direct reports training opportunities that are paid for by the company. That kind of people-oriented behavior will help foster good will and keep your team engaged—meaning your employees work harder for you as a result.

Become a Better Boss

Now that you've learned what makes a good manager, we should point out that managing yourself well is just as important as managing your employees. But knowing how to go about improving your leadership skills isn't exactly second nature. Want help becoming a better boss? Make a Monster profile for free today. As a member, you can get useful information about honing your management skills, improving employee engagement, and keeping your team motivated sent directly to your inbox. Your professional relationships—and your paychecks—will reap the benefits.