Bosses can make a big difference to the whole work experience. Good bosses can leave an impact on you throughout your life. Creating a culture or sub-culture which is conducive for employees to produce their best work may like an easy task, but it takes effort from the top, to managers and all employees. We may have differing styles of working depending on preference and that also leads to a different expectation for what a ‘good’ manager entails. 

We did some research and also asked some colleagues at Philips what are some traits which make a good manager. Here are the top 10 traits. Do note that they are not ranked in any order.
1. Honesty and transparency
This came up as one of the recurring traits which is highly valued by most. It’s important as it builds a culture of trust within the team and the company. Also, this is an expectation of businesses. Philips has integrated this as one of its core behaviors, ‘Quality and integrity always’. 

2. Decisive 
Decision making is often required in the role of a manager and being able to make decisions is appreciated by the team. Decision making does include some risks sometimes although we try to mitigate risks by making informed decisions. One note to managers is to share the ‘why’ behind the decisions. This helps the team understand the rationale behind the decisions and it may make a learning journey for them too. 

3. Good listener 
Sounds easy? It is actually a learned and developed skill. Do you think about what you are going to say or wish to say when someone else is speaking? Or are you actively listening to what the other person is saying? Being a good listener can also increase your influence at work and in your personal life. 

4. Empathetic and approachable 
Being empathetic is related to listening well. When managers take genuine interest in their team members’ wellbeing and success, teams become more engaged. Being empathetic doesn’t mean that you are a pushover, but it means that you are approachable and open. This can create a safe environment for opinions and open discourse. 

5. Empowers team and supports career development
Autonomy and empowerment are highly valued amongst colleagues - from interns to executives. It demonstrates that the manager trusts the team to deliver on their work. Afterall, team members were hired because of their capabilities.  
6. Has a clear strategy for the team
A manager with a clear vision and strategy for the team, and also communicates the strategy to the team, helps provide direction and focus. With focus, one is able to identify impactful projects and prioritize those. 

7. Able to walk the talk 
How many times have we heard this? This points towards how people perceive words vs actions from their leaders and managers. This has also become a social norm whereby people expect that there are no double standards.

8. Accountability
Leaders must be able to take ownership of goals and objectives. This arises from the leader’s ability to manage oneself. This is one of the more important traits to have in a manager as this behavior encourages one to take responsibility for one’s own actions. 

9. Flexibility
Being flexible does not mean that one gives in to frequent changes. It means beings able to overcome challenges and being able to adapt to changing environments or situations. It is about the willingness and openness to new ideas to achieve goals. 

10. Has key and relevant technical skills to guide the team
This trait was mentioned in the Google research, under Project Oxygen. This may depend on one’s function. Relevant technical skills such as roles in engineering, research and even digital marketing are often required for problem solving. In this case for Google engineers, it is important but pales in comparison to other traits. A digital team for instance would have a team of people who are skilled in various areas, from account servicing, data scientists, media planners and creatives. A manager managing a diverse-skilled team may not have the technical skills for each specific area, but would need to understand how the different skillsets come together and ideally how the strategy and plan should look like. 

There are so many other good traits which include, showing appreciation, being inspiring, having a sense of humor and being knowledgeable, among others. Some of these traits are not only what makes a good manager, but they are good traits to develop for every individual.
Learning and development is an ongoing lifetime process. With Philips University, an internal learning resource, Philips encourages all employees to take ownership of their own development, by checking out courses on the platform. 

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