Qualities to look for when hiring a manager

Qualities to look for when hiring a manager
Last Updated: September 23, 2023

As an organization grows, it because essential to have a strong management team. Good managers can inspire employees to learn and grow within their positions. In contrast, bad managers may lead to poor performance, poor employee retention, and damage a business' reputation. Recruiting capable managers can be difficult. Research done by Tinypulse (2021) revealed that approximately one (1) in every ten (10) people possess the talent necessary to manage people.


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Strengths of a Manager

Managers are expected to ensure productivity, inspire employees, and delegate tasks. Finding an individual who can strike this balance can be challenging—the consequences of hiring a poor manager come with significant problems. A bad manager is one of the top causes of employee turnover. A Gallup study found that nearly half of all employees that leave a job do so because of their manager. This proves the impact managers have on an organization, from employee performance and engagement to employee retention. 


Hiring new managers may seem like a daunting task with lots of risks. But thankfully, there are data-backed qualities of a great manager that will help you make the right decisions. 



Essential Qualities of a Good Manager


1. Honesty

Things start to come apart when a team quits thinking their leader is deceitful. In a past study, Energage (2021) found out that as many as 61% of workers believe that trusting their managers is of top importance for employee job satisfaction. Unfortunately, only 33% of these people are happy with the level of trust within their company.


In the business world, honesty is critically essential. When hiring a manager, it is essential to look for candidates who comprehend the significance of openness and transparency. Leading by example, honest managers inspire the rest of their teams to be similarly truthful.


2. Communication skills

Good managers are great communicators. It is one thing for managers to know what needs to be done. It is a whole different thing for them to be able to communicate those priorities to each member of their team—all of whom are responsible for different tasks. Good managers are effective at communicating with subordinates and they take the time to listen and understand what is happening within the organization.


Research by Porter and Nohria (2008) revealed that poor communication from management is one of the prevalent pain points when it comes to decreasing productivity. Good managers can get their team on the same page so that everyone works toward the same objective. Managers must have the ability to communicate verbally and also be able to communicate through the written word just as effectively.


3. Decisiveness

All managers have to make tough choices regularly. To make organizations more efficient, there is a need to look for candidates who understand that the buck stops at their desks and are not afraid to act swiftly when they need to. Good managers can make difficult decisions quickly, after doing their due diligence and assessing all of their options. Choose an indecisive manager, and your firm will progress more slowly.


Decision-making is one of the best leadership skills everyone should have, or, as Brian Tracy puts it: \"Decisiveness is a characteristic of high-performing men and women. Almost any decision is better than no decision at all.\"


4. Confidence

Managers must be sure that the judgments they make are correct to maintain the support of their teams. After making a difficult decision, managers must be able to persuade their teams to continue forward, including individuals who would have made a different choice if they were in charge. Candidates who exude confidence are far more likely to inspire all of their employees—even those who disagree with them.


Having solid self-esteem is not innate. Great leaders and CEOs such as Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg had to gradually develop confidence over time. Susan Cain described Gates as being at times \"quiet and bookish\" until he shows his outspoken side.


5. Responsibility

Great managers recognize that they are in control, which means they are responsible for everyones triumphs and failures. To that aim, they track the performance of all staff to determine what they can do to assist them to perform better and grow professionally.


6. Empathy

Empathy, a key component of emotional intelligence (EQ), necessitates managers connecting with people on an interpersonal level. According to Businesssolvers State of Empathy Workplace survey, 84% of CEOs feel empathy drives better business success. At the same time, research from the Six Seconds research group found that managers with a high EQ led their companies to a 34 percent higher profit growth than other companies.


Sympathy and empathy are, not the same. Listening and providing assistance are important pillars of empathy. It is a trait that enables managers to be empathetic listeners and leaders capable of retaining the respect of their staff even when they disagree with choices.


When it comes to shortlisting manager attributes, empathy fosters more than just a solid employee-management connection. Empathy has a favorable influence on corporate culture. Empathetic supervisors are more effective at guiding persons with opposing viewpoints to successful collaboration.


7. Commitment

Managers who view their roles solely as stepping stones to other more lucrative positions probably will not put much effort to boost the teams morale. Great leaders tend to stay in their roles for a long time.


They commit to their teams, goals, stakeholders, and organization. Most ambitious managers tend to have their sights set on climbing the organizational ladder. Good managers are dedicated to one cause and are looking to get promoted and move up the ranks. Most importantly, they set themselves up for success and become a model to those following them.


Does a Management Candidate Need to Have all of these Leadership Qualities?

It may be hard to find someone who has all seven (7) of these characteristics. But they do exist. Otherwise, you can hire the candidate who has a majority of the qualities that your organization needs the most and help them develop the traits they lack.


A management candidate whos made use of multiple leadership attributes several times throughout their career is highly likely also to display the same traits when interacting with your team. After all, you are looking for a true leader—not just someone to give out tasks and orders.


Data-Driven Recruitment for Hiring Managers

Data-driven recruitment leads to better hiring decisions. It provides objective data that enables better decision-making. Personality assessment provides you with standardized, useful insights regarding how candidates behave in a work context and predict job performance and company fit. By using this data to identify and hire the right candidate, you'll also improve the overall productivity and effectiveness of your teams.


Unlike CV analysis or face to face interviews, a personality assessment allows you to accurately assess important personality traits of the candidate like openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and stability, and various characteristics such as sociability, need for recognition, leadership orientation, cooperation, consideration, dependability, efficiency, even-temperament, achievement striving, self-confidence, abstract thinking, and creative thinking.


How to Assess Managerial Traits


Cognitive Ability Assessment 

Potential managerial candidates cognitive capacities need to be assessed through psychometric tests. A persons cognitive abilities impact job performance. Therefore, cognitive ability plays a crucial role in an employees job suitability and success. Psychometric tests are standardized and scientific tests used to measure individuals cognitive abilities.


The Business Case for Psychometric Assessments

When selecting employees with no prior experience e.g. trainees and other entry-level jobs the best predictor of job performance is the general mental ability (i.e. intelligence or general cognitive ability). This can be assessed through properly validated psychometric tests administered by registered Psychologists. If you add other measures such as integrity tests, personality tests (e.g. conscientiousness), and structured interviews the predictive power goes up significantly.


Personality Assessment

Personality is a scientifically-proven predictor of job performance. A personality assessment beats the traditional methods of gathering information and provides recruiters with objective insights that significantly improve candidate selection. Research shows that personality measures are useful predictors of future job performance. Personality questionnaires based on the scientifically proven \"Big Five\" theoretical model, for instance, provide insightful information about how the candidates personality will impact their workplace behavior. This will allow recruiters to understand how candidates relate to others, how they approach and solve problems, and how they manage their emotions.


Moreover, a 2016 study by Frank L. Schmidt, which explores practical and theoretical implications of 100 years of research findings regarding selection methods in personnel psychology, found that job experience alone only allows predicting job performance with 16% accuracy.


Managerial Competencies Assessment

Assessment centers can be used to assess managerial competencies. An Assessment Centre can be defined as \"a variety of testing techniques designed to allow candidates to demonstrate, under standardized conditions, the skills and abilities that are most essential for success in a given job\". An Assessment Centre consists of a standardized evaluation of behavior based on multiple evaluations including job-related simulations. Job simulations are used to evaluate candidates on behaviors relevant to the most critical aspects (or competencies) of the job.


Employers can use assessment centers to examine how you respond to various job-related simulations. Assessment centers that are well-executed and professionally conducted are typically considered as providing a fair method of selecting the best applicants. This strategy is intended to give equal opportunity for all interviewers, with selection based not just on your talents, but also on your merit, possible company-culture fit, experiences, and future potential. Many people feel that this way of selection is more accurate than any other form of recruiting.


Types of Assessment Centers


Leaderless Group Discussion

The leaderless group discussion is a type of assessment center exercise where groups of applicants meet to discuss an actual job-related problem. As the meeting proceeds, the behavior of the candidates is observed to see how they interact and what leadership and communications skills each person displays



Role-playing is a type of assessment center exercise where the candidate assumes the role of the incumbent of the position and must deal with another person in a job-related situation. Trained role players are used and respond \"in character\" to the actions of the candidate. In these, role-plays candidates can be asked to deal with an employee or a difficult client.


In-basket Exercise

Contains contents similar to those which are found in the in-basket for the job that is being tested. In a traditional in-basket exercise, candidates are given time to review the material and initiate in writing whatever actions they believe to be most appropriate about each in-basket item. When time is called for the exercise, the in-basket materials and any notes, letters, memos, or other correspondence written by the candidate are collected for review by one or more assessors.



Candidates will be given a topic to present based on their field. Each presentation will be for not more than 15 minutes. A Group of assessors will rate the candidates.


Final Thoughts

Any organizations success is dependent on the effectiveness of its management. Poor management has a detrimental impact on employee morale, productivity, and turnover, resulting in a dangerously underutilized workforce. These consequences may be thought of as a cascade process, beginning with one consequence (worker morale) and ending with another (increased employee turnover). With this in mind, it is critical that organizations hire good managers.


Carl Tapi is a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a management & HR consulting firm. https://www.linkedin.com/in/carl-tapi-45776482/ Phone +263 (242) 481946-48/481950 or cell number +263 772 469 680 or email: carl@ipcconsultants.com or visit our website at www.ipcconsultants.com

Carl Tapi
This article was written by Carl a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd

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