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Ideal manager

Hiring the Ideal Manager

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The hiring process can be challenging and draining as is, especially in our current workforce where everyone is fighting to find and keep top talent. But one of the most difficult and delicate roles to fill is that of the manager. So, recruiters and hiring authorities alike need to be very clear on what an ideal manager is, how to spot them and filter out which manager is best for you.

Careful with your choice

Choosing your next manager can make or break the team they’ll be in charge of, and sometimes even more. Yes, great managers can have a positive impact with a ripple effect on other managers and teams, but the same can happen with the bad ones.

Bad managers can fester your organization since they are part of the reason why teams have a toxic work culture. Either because they are causing it, taking the wrong approach, or not doing anything at all. 

Poor managing practices like micromanaging, favoritism, and spoon-feeding are often to blame for high turnover rates. So, it’s safe to say that there is such a thing as the wrong answer when selecting your next manager.

The ideal manager

On the flip side, an ideal manager can shape the culture of their teams in such a way that both performance and employee engagement are addressed every day. Good managers know how to harness the unique talent and potential of their team members to improve the company’s large-scale strategies and outcomes.

“Average managers play checkers, while great managers play chess. The difference? In checkers, all the pieces are uniform and move in the same way; they are interchangeable. […] In chess, each type of piece moves in a different way, and you can’t play if you don’t know how each piece moves.”

Marcus Buckingham (2005)

Ideal, not perfect

Now, finding the right manager is definitely easier said than done, because to pull that off a good manager needs the right mind and skillset combination for their specific post. So, on one hand, it is extremely important for a professional who’s aspiring to a managerial role to know their industry or have experience and the key hard skills required in their field or departments. 

However, that’s just half of the equation. To stand out as a potential manager, a candidate should have a knack for interpersonal skills, like leadership, communication, adaptability, and conflict resolution. And, these personality traits should really not be underestimated if we consider a 2015 study by KRW International that says companies whose employees gave their CEOs high marks for character had an average return on assets of 9.35% over a two-year period.

So, to sum up, everything counts. That sounds like a lot to handle, doesn’t it?  Not to mention the pressure to deliver results while balancing everyday tasks and team dynamics.

Yes, management can be a high-demand job, but that doesn’t mean you should go looking for the perfect manager. The difference between perfect and ideal is that the first will be impossible to find, while the second speaks more of a high-potential candidate who’s driven by constant improvement and ongoing learning.

FIND TALENT

Here are some traits you should consider in addition to hard skills when looking to find the right manager through promotion or hiring:

  • Information management + Transparency
    You might want someone who knows exactly when and how much information they should give to their teams. It’s not about hiding anything from your employees, but being tactful and strategic when delivering news or designing a plan. 

  • Trustworthiness 

Whatever skills they may have, if your manager does not inspire trust, their team will ultimately collapse. This is also where being a direct, yet tactful communicator comes in place. Not to mention, that they need to be coherent with their behavior. Trust is not just won with words, but also with actions.

  • Strategic mindset

Managers are the middlemen and women of companies and teams. That means that they need to know how to move the pieces so they can adapt to what’s being asked of them and their team by the stakeholders and what they’re able to deliver. Some negotiation will also come in handy but can only be successful when they have the whole picture.

  • Decision-making 

There’s no time to over-analyze every detail, and good managers know this. Attention to detail is important for sure, but decisions should not take forever, otherwise, they might be halting the rest of the team’s tasks and progress. 

  • Empathy + Conflict resolution
    An eye for potential conflicts among teammates is surely needed to avoid misunderstandings and tension. A manager who can be empathetic and open enough to listen to their team and find the most human and sensible solution to interpersonal problems will save you a lot of trouble. 

Interview questions to identify your ideal manager

Remember that an exceptional employee is not always an exceptional manager. So here are some questions you could bring up when interviewing potential managers:

  • What does being a manager mean to you?
  • What motivates you to be a manager/fill this position?(Is it the title? The added responsibility? Is it a career milestone?)
  • What are (or would be) your strengths and weaknesses as a manager?
  • How do you delegate work?
  • How do you manage difficult conversations or conflict?
  • What are some good and bad examples of previous managers you’ve had? What do you think they did right? Or where do you feel they went wrong about their role?
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