Great Managers Care About Character More Than Skill

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August 7, 2017

It’s often said that organizations depend on their people to be effective. But in reality, it is the managers who are the lynchpin of the entire operation. Managers have an unparalleled ability to set the mood and the culture of a team, and it is usually they, not the workers, who are responsible for the ultimate outcomes.


The job of managers is to make sure that everybody is on board with the goals of the business and working hard towards them. But data from Gallup suggests that only 28 percent of workers feel engaged with what they’re doing. Thus, it would seem that managers and HR professionals within businesses have a lot to do before they are truly maximizing the productivity of their hires.

Excellent management can turn a company around, improve staff morale and boost the bottom line. Managers who retain valuable employees increase the long run chances of a business succeeding. So what do great managers care about?

They Employ On The Basis Of Character, Not Skill

The majority of run-of-the-mill managers out there employ people on the basis of their technical education or past job experience. But data suggests that these markers aren’t usually a particularly good indicator of actual in-job performance. In fact, they tend to be relatively unrelated to ultimate performance, perhaps explaining about 3 percent of the total variation between candidates.

What really explains employee performance is character. Would you rather have somebody who is eager to learn and always puts in 110 percent effort or someone who already has the skills, but no curiosity or drive to succeed? Top entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, understand this distinction. Early on in his career, he was hellbent on finding only the most talented people. But over time, he’s realized that bring talented means having both technical skills as well as the personality to persist in a dynamic and innovative organization.

They Keep Track Of All Their Employees


Managers often fall back on the argument that they are not able to get to know each employee on a deep, personal level, especially if they have a large team. But failing to understand employees can take its toll on your relationship with them. One of the first things that managers should do is use software to keep track of individual colleagues, as suggested by information at Automating rote data collection helps to reduce the mental burden of keeping track of nonessential details, like when a particular colleague is due for a holiday, freeing up managerial resources for more important interactions, such as job progression, training, and employee motivation.

They Develop People


Managing a team or people isn’t a static process. Instead, it’s about finding opportunities to increase the value and contribution of individual team members. Great managers know this, and so they constantly scan their team for potential star employees who could go on to increase the company’s skill base. According to, managers need to be careful: just because an employee is good in one position, doesn’t mean that they will be great in another.