10 Traits Of Highly Successful Managers

Are you a manager of some kind?

Do you run a business or at least a team of people?

Do you have to lead workshops or group meetings of any kind?

In historical models of workplace cultures, the managers sit in corner offices separated from the cubicle minions and take on an often dictatorial role in which employee performance is measured either by threats or rewards.

Threats: reprimands based on missed quotas.

Rewards: bonuses attained by meeting those quotas.

As workplaces adopt a more open-plan, inclusive, and collaborative environment, characteristics of the most successful managers have changed. Work schedules are much more fluid and the emphasis on wellness allows employees to skirt a few hours of the traditional 40 hour workweek here and there in order to catch a SoulCycle or yoga class at lunchtime. As a result, employee "quotas" are changing. Managers are more closely connected with their employees or team members so that a deadline is not so oppressive but instead a project is tackled by the whole team - including the manager, as needed - in a much more collaborative way. 

A recent article from Monster.com lists the 10 traits of highly successful managers in this new professional landscape:

  1. Creativity
  2. Problem Solving
  3. Resiliency
  4. Credit sharing
  5. Delegation
  6. Assertiveness
  7. Good communication
  8. Empathy
  9. Honesty
  10. Attention to others


Honesty, good communication, and attention to others are common traits that have always been important for a manager to demonstrate. Resiliency, problem solving, and creativity comprise the category of resourcefulness, something that good managers need because otherwise their charges will not trust that they are a resource with a proven ability to lead and guide the team through challenges. The manager can demonstrate their resourcefulness in two ways:

  • Direct instruction = teaching their employees and teammates the step by step way to solve whatever problem has arisen
  • Indirect guidance = empowering their employees and teammates to foster their own resourcefulness via guiding questions and feedback

As a result, the whole team learns how to be resourceful together and the manager remains the leader to whom the teammates can look up for further problem-solving guidance. 

The real difference for successful managers these days comes from the combination of credit sharing, delegation, assertiveness, and empathy. Many employees become disgruntled and dissatisfied when they feel as though all of their efforts only serve to shine the spotlight on their manager, who takes credit for work that he or she did not do. These employees feel lost, blending in with everyone else in the cubicle jungle and subsequently resentful of their manager. 

If the manager is able to use empathy to learn about, understand, and harness the positive differences between his / her employees, he / she is much more easily able to delegate tasks to the appropriate people. As a result, teammates understand their connection with their manager, the manager is able to be more assertive and direct with them about their specific strengths and tasks, and then credit is given to everyone involved in a fair and collective manner. 

The more empathy that a manager uses in order to learn about and authentically connect with employees, the more powerful the collaborations will be within the team and the more that the manager can know how to specifically support his or her employees, which will benefit everyone and the company at large.