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One of the most common requests from candidates looking for a new role is a chance to manage others. The role of Manager requires not only technical and project management skills, but also the ability to lead others. So, what are some of the traits and skills that make the most effective managers and leaders?



  • Empathy – the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes is the basis for being able to understand and empathize with their experience. Empathy allows us to develop a stronger relationship with others, which fosters an environment of open communication rather than fear of reprisal.
  • Honesty – open, honest dialogue with your reports will establish a foundation of trust, which is essential for building a loyal team.
  • Transparency – being transparent means sharing both good and bad news. When transparency is evident it encourages trust, communication, and engagement.


  • Being cognizant of your motives, feelings, and communication style, and the affect they have on others.
  • Understanding how to deliver information to your team without creating a toxic environment.
  • Being aware of what is going on with your team and whether they are engaged in their jobs. This includes addressing issues related to retention and internal conflict.


  • Strong leaders ask questions, encourage discussion, and listen to their reports, but at the end of the day, they also take ownership and make decisions.


Some people seem to have an innate ability to lead, yet that does not preclude others from developing those skills. Leadership skills such as the ability to connect with and inspire others, can also be developed. Classroom learning, online training, one-on-one mentoring, and job shadowing are all ways to improve your leadership skills.


Patty Kennelly, Senior Director – DW Simpson