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What are the Traits of the most Successful Managers?

What are the Traits of the most Successful Managers?


In 2019, as part of the training evaluation process, Training South West added a supplementary question which asked participants to capture the traits they felt were most important in the manager role.

Collating answers from staff across the region - Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset, we've captured the five most reported traits.

So, let's look at the responses by working back from Number 5 through to the most popular trait at Number 1:


Number 5

Technically Strong

In this respect, respondents felt that successful managers should have an excellent understanding of the technical area in which they worked.

Technically strong managers are considered better able to develop team members and to set learning targets. Research shows that team members led by technically strong managers are typically more productive with better engaged and more motivated teams.


Number 4

Works Hard

The idea of 'working hard' was reported in many forms, including 'goes above and beyond', 'stays late if needed' and 'has a strong work ethic'.

Many respondents felt that manager willingness to 'get their hands dirty' and to stay late if needed to get jobs done, demonstrated support of the broader team. It showed that managers cared about their team and that they weren't purely self-interested. A few respondents also reported that this helped to motivate and drive the team through team challenges.


Number 3

Calm in a Crisis

The ability to be calm in a crisis was considered a trait of a successful manager due to the confidence this engenders in team members. We all know, for example, that emotions are contagious.Place a panicked goose in a coop and it will panic the rest of the flock!

When managers are calm under duress, team members tend to be far more confident in their manager's ability to make calculated calm decisions and to avoid potential errors. When situations become challenging, managers demonstrate knee jerk reactions, or who confuse a situation through indecisiveness or panic, risk escalating the issue and losing the trust of their team members.


Number 2

Recognises my Performance

The strength of performance recognition and team development was cited in many different forms, including manager ability to recognise performance needs, their willingness to respond to performance needs or to take an interest in individual development and progression.The specific act of recognising individual performance, however, was more commonly reported.

Individuals who worked for managers that recognised their performance, felt more valued and more engaged in the achievements of their team. They also felt more secure and motivated towards working hard and accomplishing more. Managers who engender this sentiment amongst all team members undoubtedly create more productive and determined teams.


Number 1

Is Empathetic

The trait most reported as important for managers related to empathy. Expressed in several different ways, individuals considered it important that their manager was able to listen to their needs, to make efforts to understand their situation and to care about how their feelings.

Managers who create a trusting environment in which concerns are listened to without judgement, are more aware of what's happening within the team and are more likely to be informed of potential issues immediately. Empathetic managers are typically more effective communicators and have the trust of their team members – an essential ingredient for high achieving teams.



Want to develop your management skills? Then let us know! With management skills trainers located across the South West, we have people on hand to deliver training directly to your place of work. Whether you're in Bournemouth, Exeter, Bath, Plymouth, or the furthest corners of Cornwall, we're here to help!


With the current COVID restrictions, you may prefer remote webinar or online training. Our trainers can train you remotely and then visit you for a face to follow up at a later date. Contact our South West training team to discuss further.


Alternatively, click on the links to find out more about our training courses in Devon, Dorset, Cornwall or Somerset

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