PsychTests.com, a Montreal-based online source of personality, career, and IQ assessments, has released the results of a study using the Management Skills and Styles Assessment, a multi-faceted test that assesses different traits and skills related to management. PsychTests’ study reveals that what differentiates excellent from satisfactory managers relates a great deal to their personality and attitude rather than solely their skills.
People in managerial positions have an enormous impact on the performance of their team, job satisfaction, engagement and motivation, as well as turnover (Maritz Research, 2007). When a workplace is well-managed, it can look like there is actually very little management going on … it’s like a well-oiled machine where employees seem to pretty much manage themselves. However, to achieve this kind of atmosphere requires a pretty awesome leader.
So what kind of person does it take? Sure, you need someone with certain technical competencies and skills to complete everyday managerial tasks, but that’s only one piece of the puzzle. PsychTests’ study reveals that a manager’s attitude and personality plays a major role in whether employees thrive under their leadership – or spend the day writing angry rants on manager-hating blogs.
Dr. Jerabek, president of the company, explains: “One of the most common mistakes that companies make is that they promote employees with wonderful technical competencies into managerial positions, without making sure that they have the leadership qualities necessary to excel in that job. Being extremely smart or knowledgeable in your field makes you an expert, but is simply not enough to lead others.”
PsychTests’ research reveals that top-performing managers outscored their “satisfactory” counterparts on 30 different scales, including Confidence, Approachability, Communication Skills, and Poise. Top managers were also more likely to motivate their employees, to be at ease in a position of authority, to be charismatic, to be comfortable with delegating, and to possess what PsychTests dubs “Managerial Courage” – i.e. the fortitude to make tough decisions, provide negative feedback, and dish out disciplinary measures when necessary.
“It’s all about balance when it comes to being a good manager,” explains Dr. Jerabek. “Employees don’t want a manager who will be their best friend, nor do they want a strict, micro-managing disciplinarian. Instead, our data show that thriving managers are those with engaging personalities who want to bring out the best in others – and who are not afraid to give employees a well-needed reality check when necessary. The bottom line: employees want a manager who cares.”
PsychTests’ data also reveal that female managers are more likely to excel in the interpersonal side of management (soft skills, social insight, empathy, listening skills) and place a great deal of importance on praising, rewarding, and offering feedback to their employees. Male managers excelled in the more technical side of management (working with various equipment and software), and had a “nose for opportunity” (coming up with ideas to improve efficiency, bring in more business, etc.).
PsychTests’ research on top-performing managers also reveals that:
- 80% bounce back quickly after failing.
- 85% set regular targets for employees to attain.
- 87% feel that it is the manager’s job to ensure that each employee reaches his/her full potential.
- 87% speak with enthusiasm.
- 88% welcome challenges and opportunities to stretch their skills.
- 88% lead by example.
- 90% make it clear to employees how their work directly contributes to the overall scope of the company.
- 92% welcome innovative ideas from their employees.
- 95% enjoy learning new things.
- 95% have a clear idea of where they want their team or organization to head.
- 97% make it a point to tell employees that they are open to discussing questions or work problems at any time.