7 Traits That All Exceptional Managers Have

Last Updated: 

August 29, 2023

7 Traits That All Exceptional Managers Have for Employee Loyalty

Great salary and benefits might attract employees, but it’s the manager who makes or breaks their decision to stay.

That's why asking the right interview questions for managers is crucial in identifying candidates who possess the necessary leadership skills and qualities to foster a positive and productive work environment.Effective interview questions for managers may delve into their experience in handling team dynamics, conflict resolution, and performance management.

Employee turnover polls often show that poor management is the reason why employees quit.

On the other hand, a good manager can entice high-performing employees to stay, even if they don’t love their job. Great leadership inspires employee loyalty and a strong work ethic. This quality has a butterfly effect throughout the company.

A strong manager, even if they have a high salary, is worth far more than their salary. But there are certain traits that make someone more fit for a leadership role than others with the same training and education.

Whether you want to hire an incredible manager or become one yourself, these are the traits you should look for.

While great leadership can certainly impact employee retention and satisfaction, it's important to remember that compensation is also a critical factor. By providing fair and competitive compensation packages, managers can help to ensure that their employees feel valued and are motivated to stay with the company. Compensation management software can help to automate the process of determining salaries and benefits, making it easier for managers to ensure that their employees are being compensated fairly based on their skills and experience. By incorporating compensation management software into their overall management strategy, managers can help to create a workplace culture that attracts and retains top talent. 

Here are the seven qualities that all great managers share:

Key Takeaways on Traits of Exceptional Managers:

  1. Integrity: Great managers have a strong moral compass, which helps them make difficult decisions that benefit the company as a whole.
  2. Good Communication Skills: Effective communication is crucial for building trust and loyalty among employees, as well as resolving small issues before they escalate.
  3. Confidence: Confident managers inspire their teams and are not threatened by high-performing employees. They focus on helping employees reach their full potential.
  4. Self-Control: Exceptional managers remain calm under pressure, providing a sense of stability for their teams during stressful situations.
  5. Motivational Skills: Strong managers know how to keep their teams motivated, even during challenging times, by understanding and catering to each employee's unique needs.
  6. Ability to Set Boundaries: Setting boundaries is essential for maintaining a healthy work-life balance and preventing employees from taking advantage of a manager's empathetic nature.
  7. Goal-Oriented Disposition: Effective managers are focused on both short-term and long-term goals, ensuring the company's success and growth.

In conclusion, managers play a crucial role in employee retention and overall company performance. By cultivating these seven traits, individuals can become strong leaders, and companies can identify and retain top managerial talent.

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1. Integrity

A strong moral compass isn’t something that can be forced. It is shaped by experience and must be internalised by the person.

People with integrity are difficult to find because humans are selfish by nature. Our instincts often dictate that we do the best thing for our own survival, not the good of the whole.

But a manager has to put their own needs aside to look at the whole picture.

They may face difficult decisions. Their integrity will steer them toward the choice that’s best for the company, even if it means taking tough action.

2. Good Communication Skills

In any relationship, communication is key.

Lack of communication causes a breakdown between staff and superiors. A closed-off manager sits back thinking everything is fine and works on other problems. Meanwhile, their employees may feel unappreciated.

Employees appreciate managers with strong communication skills. Closed lines of communication can drive good employees away. Open communication allows teams to resolve small issues before they worsen.

Strong managers talk to their teams often and give people flexibility during times of need. This breeds team loyalty.

Managers who accept no excuses may push away a good employee who made a mistake. The employee will be frustrated because they had an emergency to handle or are going through a serious life circumstance. Instead of talking to the manager, they quit.

The line of communication between employees and their managers can have a big impact on the way a company operates. An empathetic manager is willing to adjust procedures as necessary. Although they have boundaries, they are flexible.

3. Confidence

Self-esteem, self-worth, and self-control are hard to attain. But, they are essential qualities of an exceptional manager.

Managers who have a strong sense of self (without being selfish), get people to look up to them.

Confidence is always valuable, but confident leaders can seem cocky or egocentric. They need to have a strong sense of self-worth to avoid coming across that way.

They should never feel threatened by high-performing employees. Instead, they should do what they can to help these employees flourish.

4. Self-Control

Self-control is necessary when working under pressure. The rest of the team looks up to the manager, so it’s crucial for them to stay calm during stressful situations.

After all, if the boss is panicking about a situation, then their employees are likely to panic, too.

Managers have to stay calm under duress, even when tough choices are involved. Someone who deliberates too long or makes rash decisions can be dangerous for their entire department.

5. Motivational Skills

Morale isn’t always going to be high. There are ups and downs in every business.

Managers must know how to motivate their team, even when things aren’t going well. For most people, the simple act of showing appreciation is all it takes, but for others, it’s not so easy.

A strong manager gets to know every employee and learns how to motivate them. They figure out what drives each team member so they can keep them inspired during times of crisis.

6. Ability to Set Boundaries

Because so many responsibilities fall on their shoulders, a manager has to know how to set boundaries. Most importantly, they need to know when to step away from work and take breaks.

Even if they’re in charge, managers have other things to worry about besides work. They also have personal lives, families, and their own needs. Without the ability to set boundaries, they’ll become overwhelmed.

Good managers are empathetic. They’re able to listen and process their team’s concerns. But if empathy doesn’t come with boundaries, people can mistake care for weakness.

A strong manager knows when an employee is trying to take advantage of their caring nature. They set firm boundaries and take decisive action when those lines are crossed.

7. Goal-Oriented Disposition

Ultimately, the job of the manager is to help their business thrive. Managers must work with their bosses to ensure they are doing what it takes to drive the company forward.

Solid managers are goal-oriented in their personal and work lives. They understand that complacency is the enemy of a successful business. They’re constantly looking ahead and planning for the future.

Sure, no one can focus on long-term goals all the time. But good leaders can accomplish day-to-day tasks while keeping their long-term goals in mind.


Managers are important to every business.

They help their teams grow and flourish. They breed employee loyalty. They ensure low turnover and drive productivity.

But they’re not always easy to find. So if you possess these soft skills, you will make a strong leader. And if you are a company owner with managers who possess these traits, you should hold onto them.

Author Bio: Travis Cason is a Business Manager at INOVA.

Photo by Craig Adderley from Pexels

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