What Managers Want: The 8 Qualities Every Manager Looks For

by Ben Richardson
27th July 2021    4 Minutes

What makes a great team member?

This is a question line managers deal with every time they are recruiting a new team member or carrying out a performance review.

Having a clear view on this is a key part of the role of line manager.

Let’s look at the eight qualities line managers look for:


1. Willingness To Learn

Line managers look for employees who take proactive steps to learn and grow.

This applies to both hard professional skills, and soft skills like communication.

Willingness to learn makes that team member much more flexible and adaptable from the managers perspective.

When something new is required from the team they can learn how to do it and take it on forward.


2. Teamwork

Line managers want team members who can work well with others.

At heart, when you learn to be a line manager you learn how to take a group of individuals and get them to work together as a team.

All jobs need employees to work together.

The whole point of working in a team is to leverage the different skills and abilities of the people in a team.

If someone can’t work well with others they can’t be part of a team or an organisational structure.

At best, this will reduce their ability to contribute.

At worst, this will create all sorts of conflict within the team.

Adding a really problematic team member to a team can actually reduce the team’s overall productivity rather than increase it.  The last thing that a manager needs! 


3. Communication

Communication is the cornerstone of a great relationship with your manager. 

Without it, teams collapse into chaos and lose productivity. They become a collection of people rather than a team.

Effective team members (and managers!) communicate clearly and effectively.

They are able to express themselves, engage with what other people are saying and discuss any differences.


4. Motivation

Managers need team members who will work carefully and work hard.

Without motivation, a team member isn’t going to get much done, and the work that they do complete is probably going to be low quality.

No manager ever wants to follow up with team members for progress updates constantly.

Managers prefer team members who can self-direct. People who get things done with minimal supervision, for obvious reasons.


5. Honesty & Integrity

Line managers need employees who are straightforward and honest.

If you can’t trust what someone says you need to check everything that they say.

This creates a huge drag for a manager as it requires lots of time, something that they won’t have to spare, and something that having you on their team is supposed to save them.

As famed investor Warren Buffett says,

“We look for three things when we hire people. We look for intelligence, we look for initiative or energy, and we look for integrity. And if they don’t have the latter, the first two will kill you because if you’re going to get someone without integrity, you want them lazy and dumb.”


6. Dependability & Organisation

Managers value reliable, dependable team members.

Team members who are organised and keep to deadlines and commitments are people that require far less supervision. They free up a manager’s time.

An added bonus is that good organisation and dependability are also usually the hallmarks of people that produce good quality work.


7. Problem-Solving Ability

Managers hate it when team members just come to them with problems.

Team members who do this a lot risk being seen as a problem.

If all they ever do is present their manager with problems the manager will start to dread seeing them.

Great team members take 5 minutes to work through the problem and come up with potential solutions BEFORE they go to discuss the problem with their manager.

 They take ownership of the problem and think through potential solutions.


8. Emotional Intelligence

Managers love team members with high emotional intelligence, they reduce the likelihood of conflict in a team hugely.

Emotional intelligence allows team members to communicate clearly, empathise with others and avoid or resolve conflict.

Emotions can run high at work, especially in high-functioning teams. This can often lead to disputes in teams that have low emotional intelligence.

Managers value people who can manage their emotions as they help keep teams working cohesively despite pressure and stress.


Photo Credit:  Unsplash