5 Qualities I Look for in a Manager

By: Megan Jones

In searching for a job, your sole focus may be to personify the perfect candidate for the organization. It is important to prep for an interview and ensure that you are adequately prepared. However, you are doing yourself an injustice if you don’t also come with questions to get to know your future employer better. If you are searching for new opportunities, remember interviews are also for you to gain insight on your potential manager. It is your opportunity to see the type of person you would be reporting to and their professional style. Although you are being interviewed, you are also interviewing to ensure you find the best fit. You should ask questions to your potential future manager to ensure that you will feel and be successful in the role. Throughout the interview process, ask questions to gain insight. If you need a place to start here are 5 qualities I look for in a manager.

Communication Style

Communication style is something you may pick up on immediately. Some professionals may be short and to the point, and others may explain things with more detail. Whereas others may explain things with more detail, they may be with thorough with their explanations. Some managers may be rather hands off and point to resources for you to learn for yourself and others will teach you things directly. There is not one that is better than the other, however you need to find the one that best suits you.

During your interview, listen to information about the role and ask questions. You should be able to pick up on their communication style rather quickly dependent on their responses. In addition, because I know what communication style I prefer, I tend to feel more comfortable when I interview with a manager that has a communication style compatible to mine. During the interview, take a moment to reflect how you are feeling. Although, there may be nerves, are you comfortable given the circumstance? Do you feel connected, or are struggling with pauses or lag in conversation that may feel uncomfortable? After the interview, ensure you take the time to reflect on the conversation and how you feel it went.

Company Culture

Company culture is another important aspect of a role to consider. Again, everyone will have a different preference on what they prefer. I believe an organization should be inclusive to multiple styles of company culture and make every employee comfortable. However, it is still an important question to ask. Consider asking “How would direct reports describe you as a manager?”. You will get a sense of how their direct reports view their manager. Moreover, you will get insight into the relationship this manager has with their reports.

In addition, you can do you research about the retention at the company. Look into Glassdoor and see what previous employees had to say about the company. Moreover, during the interview, you can ask the manager “Can you describe your company’s culture?” or “How would describe the company’s culture in three words?”. This can give you insight about the way the organization as a whole functions, and the relationships you will most likely be able to make if you accept this position.

Expectation of Responsibility

This can be a little harder to decipher, so the best question I ask is “What are three traits you are looking for in a candidate?”. Or, “What are three traits that your previous employee had that made them successful in this role?”. In my opinion, this is an most important question to ask because you will gain valuable insight into what they are looking for in a candidate. Actively listen to their response and any detail or explanation they provide. Are they looking for someone who has a fast response rate, and consistently available? Are they looking for someone with a positive attitude?

This is important, because having them pick three traits, creates the opportunity for the manager to prioritize three aspects that are most important to them. Then after the interview take the time to reflect, do these traits describe your style? Are these three traits that someone would use to describe you? Moreover, would you be successful in an environment where you would be required to have the traits your manager prioritizes?

An Advocate

Your manager is a teacher, however, I thoroughly appreciate a manager who aids my professional development and growth. My favorite manager continued to be my advocate and looked for ways I could grow and become a more valuable resource to the company. Moreover, this manager knew when I had outgrown my role and needed career advancement and advocated for me to move up and forward in my career.

Your manager should want what is best for you. They should be someone who knows what you are looking for in your career. They may ask “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” this is to gauge your interest within the company and hopefully see where you would like to grow. If you are asked this question, ensure you are prepared with an answer that describes the path you would like to take and where you would like to go with your career.

Personality Style

Similar to communication you want a manager with a personality that is compatible to yours.  I prefer a manager with a positive outlook and extraverted personality. You may be able to pick this up in the interview with their communication style and how much they are willing to share and if they add any personal anecdotes throughout the interview. They may ask about your personal life, to get to know you on a personal level. After the interview, take the time to reflect and ask yourself if you felt that you would successfully get along with this person. Do you think you would be successful working under this personality?

Although you are the one being interviewed, this is also an investment in yourself and your future. You want to ensure it is the right fit. You deserve to work for a company that will make you happy and excited to go to work. As much as you are looking for a job, they are also looking for a candidate. It is great time to ask why this position is open. In doing your due diligence, you can find out if this will be a conducive working environment and role for you. If you don’t, you are doing yourself and the organization an injustice because you may end up in an environment that makes you unhappy if you don’t take the time to get the answers you need.

We wish you the best of luck in your job search and if you are looking for your next perfect fit, consider PsiNapse!


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