10 Critical Traits Managers and Team Leaders Should Possess

One of the worst things that can happen to your small business is to have disgruntled employees who dread going to work. That situation often leads to reduce productivity and engagement, as well as high turnover rates. That translates to less revenue and higher costs due to hiring expenses. How you treat your employees has a direct impact on their attitude, but you’ll often be busy on big picture tasks. Your managers and team leaders must pick up the slack. Here are a few traits that you’ll want to encourage in them:

1. Encourage Practical Decision Making

Surprisingly, not everyone puts practicality at the forefront of decision making. Ask anyone who’s worked at an office, and they’ll have stories of managers who’ve made bizarre and impractical decisions, often at the cost of people working under them. Encouraging and rewarding practical solutions to problems can build trust between teams and their leaders.

2. Optimism and Positivity

Working at a small business can be scary for some employees, especially those living from paycheck to paycheck. Add a downer manager to the mix, and they might not be able to take it. When training or choosing managers, pick people who are upbeat and look at the bright side of things. The ability to set a positive tone for the day cannot be underestimated, and can keep productivity levels high in dark times.

3. They Enjoy The Job

It’s hard to be enthusiastic about a job when your boss doesn’t seem to like it. A manager’s or team leader’s attitude has a direct impact on their team’s behavior. While some teams can endure a dour leader, generally speaking they’ll also embrace the gloom and become disconnected from the job. Make sure that anyone who leads anything in your small business enjoys their position.

4. They’re Great Motivators

Motivation is, by nature, practically hard to quantify. You can only measure it by implication. Yet, the ability to motivate is something your managers must have. Spotting great motivators is a matter of studying how they interact with their team. For example, someone who can contextualize the team’s productivity relative to the small business’s overall plans can inspire motivation. Someone who just tells employees to work harder cannot.

5. Quality Focused

Your small business cannot afford to have low quality output. Whatever your offering is, it must match your specifications. Those specifications are both affected by and determine the rest of your company’s functions, from your marketing campaign to your price point. Any deviation can ruin the whole plan. Managers must be quality focused. They must not settle for just any output; they must demand the right kind of productivity from their team.

6. Informed and Knowledgeable

It’s hard to get a good team going when the workers know more than their managers. Trust is difficult to develop at that point, as the employees will never believe that the manager would or even could act in their best interests. A well informed, knowledgeable, and experienced, manager is of utmost importance. You don’t need them to be the best in the group, as being a team leader requires a different set of skills, but you need them to know enough that trusting them is easy for employees.

7. Good Stress Management Skills

Your small business’s managers are responsible for more than ensuring productivity. They must ensure that your employees can survive the stress and pressure of working in your company. This involves having the right stress management skills and the empathy to recognize how far employees can be pushed. Empathy cannot be measured, but it can be observed. Look for people who see more the people behind the work.

8. Encourages Teamwork

The best teams are often greater than the sum of their parts, or put simply, they’re better together than they are individually. Great managers can inspire this level of teamwork in their employees. Strategies vary, but generally speaking you’re looking for people who value the idea of camaraderie and synergy. Look for managers who how people fit together and how to use that to the small business’s advantage.

9. Focused On Excellence

The best managers for your small business will be invested in getting the most out of their respective teams. Average leaders are satisfied with just getting the job done. Great leaders want the job done well and for everyone to be at their best. That means inspiring not just great work, but positive behavior. You’re after managers who don’t settle for having productive employees – you want leaders who want good people in their team.

10. Shares Success

Having glory hogs for leaders can easily ruin your small business. Top performers feel underappreciated, even unwanted, and they’ll look for a company that will treat them as they deserve. You want managers who share credit for the team’s accomplishment. They should know that they’re enablers of greatness, not stars. Their entire focus is on making everyone under them the best they can be, not getting all the credit.

Spotting great team leaders and managers is difficult, but it’s a critical component of running a successful small business. The better your leaders are, the more comfortably you can focus on bigger tasks. Fret not if you cannot find the right people – training them is always a possibility.