Managers are the life of your business. They may have worked their way up from an entry level position or maybe they applied just when you needed someone to be your eyes and ears. When hiring a new manager there are number of traits you need to look out for to make sure they’re a good fit of your business. Some of these traits will be specific to your niche, but there are many more that are necessary across the board.
Maybe your business is growing and you need help on the employee management and leadership side. Or maybe, you recently had to fire a manager. No matter why you are hiring a new manager, you’ll want to keep these traits in mind to ensure you make the right choice.
Trust is number one with any employee. They will be handling company funds and have access to passwords, not to mention other sensitive data. Talking with candidates’ references will help you gain a better understanding of how honest they are. Anyone can say they are trustworthy, but having a track record of consistently doing the right thing is what you need to see when hiring a new manager.
Honesty and accountability go hand in hand. You want to hire a new manager who follows through on their duties and meets all deadlines. When you assign a task to a manager, knowing that they will accomplish it fully in the allotted time will help you avoid headaches down the road. However, if the project hits a snag and gets off course, the best managers will let you know as soon as possible and ask for advice before it’s too late to course correct.
2. Excellent Communicator
It’s impossible to underestimate the importance of strong communication skills. Your managers will interface with customers, employees, and vendors alike. Making sure that they communicate clearly, decisively, and in a friendly manner will shine a positive light on your company. Ask your managerial candidates about their approach to communication and share your own philosophy.
The other side of communication is being a good listener. As someone who will train employees and check in with them often, they must be able to understand employee needs and communicate them to you. The best managers take a balanced approach to communication by listening as much as (or more than!) they speak and taking in all available information to make balanced decisions.
3. Problem Solver
As Murphy’s Law states, “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” If you aren’t on-site, your managers will be your first line of defense. In the interview process, be sure to ask about a time when something went completely wrong and what the candidate did to take control and rectify the situation. Their answer to this question will provide you necessary insight on what they might do if there were a real emergency on their hands. Have a specific incident in mind that affected your business in the past? Ask them a hypothetical question about that incident and ask what they would do if they were on-duty. Compare their answer with how the situation unfolded in reality and if their answer is different, have them talk through why their plan of action was better than what happened.
In small and mid-size businesses, change is constant. Maybe a new product didn’t work out and you have to switch gears, or a key employee quit and you need a manager to take on their duties while you hire a replacement. A key trait to look out for when hiring a new manager is their flexibility. This links closely with problem solving skills because when a manager has a crisis on their hands, they need to be able to think quickly and adapt in order to solve it properly.
If your business is growing quickly and managers need to be able to act independently, make this clear. Some managers are more comfortable with a clean cut role, while others thrive in an autonomous environment. Be clear about what you’re looking for in order to weed out the candidates that seem to have the right experience, but in reality would be a bad fit.
Are there any other traits that you look out for when hiring a new manager? This list is just a start and your additions are welcome in the comment section.