10 Qualities Of A Good People Manager

Oct 14, 2022 | Career

black people manager

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Good people manager

So you want to be a manager or currently hold that position but want to know what it takes to be good at your job. In this post, we’ll highlight ten qualities you need to embody to be a good people manager.

These characteristics are essential for the well-being of your team and the company as a whole. Whether you are managing a small team or heading up a whole department, the right qualities will make all the difference.

Good managers are just people trying to establish trust within their teams, motivate employees to perform at their best and create a vision that people can believe in and support. Whether you are new to management or a veteran, these traits are good to be mindful of.

Qualities Of A Good People Manager

team meeting

1. Effective Communicator

Communication is an important trait of all good leaders. A good people manager needs to be able to communicate effectively with their team and other stakeholders. You need to be able to clearly get your point across and ensure the person on the other end understands. 

Whether you are speaking to people on a one-to-one basis or to a larger group, they need to know what is expected of them.

2. Handle Pressure Well

As a manager, you will be responsible for getting the best out of your team in order to deliver against business objectives. There will be times when there is pressure from the business to deliver more with fewer resources and usually within tight deadlines.

You need to be able to absorb the pressure and create a plan to help your team deliver. You need to protect your team and ensure you don’t pass the pressure to them. Push back on stakeholder requests where necessary and put in a process to reduce last-minute, urgent and ad-hoc requests.

3. Create a Culture of Trust and Openness

Creating an environment where employees feel safe is key to their productivity and happiness at work. Staff need to know that they can always come to you with challenging work issues, and they will be handled with care.

Employees need to know that mistakes are not punished, and people are not blamed. Discussing mistakes and challenges and looking for resolutions as a team will foster trust and a willingness to open up when things go wrong.

female team lead

4. Open to New Ideas

As a manager, you need to be agile and receptive to new ideas that can help your business solve problems effectively. Ideas from your team should be embraced.

They need to be given the freedom to fail fast and find new creative solutions to existing problems.

5. Recognise Employees

Showing your team recognition for their work improves individual and team morale. If an employee has gone above and beyond the call of duty, showing your appreciation sends a positive message.

Recognising them before senior stakeholders and highlighting their contribution to the business objectives shows you are not taking credit for their effort.


6. Effective Listener

As a people manager, you need to be able to effectively listen and understand your team. This can be in the form of listening to new ideas, personal challenges or career aspirations. You need to be able to absorb the information. Let them know you have understood and provide the support needed. Alternatively, you can recommend someone who can help. 

good people manager

7. Performance and Results Driven

Getting the best out of your team to meet business goals is the key to being a good manager. You need to ensure there are clear guidelines for your team to follow.

Performance benchmarks should be set, and all team members should play a part in helping deliver the results needed. Where results are below standard, work with the team to address issues and implement a plan to meet targets.

8. Care and Empathy 

You are not a people manager without your employees so take care of them. Spend time getting to know them on a personal level. Work can sometimes be overwhelming, and it’s good to know your manager has your back.

Making provisions for those with childcare issues and allowing for flexible working hours can alleviate a lot of worries your team might have.

9. Decisiveness 

Being decisive as a manager is a key attribute that sets the tone and direction of what needs to be done. You need to be comfortable making the tough decisions and bringing your team on board to help reach that goal.

A good people manager should be able to communicate why certain decisions are made and the impact they will have in the future.

two men shaking hands

10. Be Optimistic

Being a manager is challenging; you have to deal with people issues and pressures from business stakeholders. You will have good days and bad days, but you have to stay positive and believe that things will get better. You have to look into the future and visualise an ideal situation and put measures in place.

If it’s a challenging employee, outline a set of objectives to help them improve. Agree on business progresses with stakeholders and set clear lead times and expectations of when work will be delivered. By so doing, you reduce unnecessary pressure on yourself and your team.


Being a good people manager can be challenging, but having these characteristics can make the job much easier. You don’t cultivate these qualities overnight; it takes time to learn. You can ask your peers or team to give you feedback (anonymously if that helps) to help you develop.

The key is to improve on areas you are weak on and continuously improve in order to become an effective manager. In so doing, you’ll be able to add value to the team and the company as a whole.

Don’t forget, managers are people too.

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