Managers have an enormous impact on the performance, job satisfaction, engagement, motivation and turnover rates of the employees under their direction, a new study reveals. According to, which conducted the study, using the Management Skills and Styles Assessment, when a workplace is well-managed, it can look like there is actually very little management going on, and employees seem to manage themselves. However, the firm concludes, to achieve this kind of atmosphere requires a strategic and positive leader.

The MSSA is a multi-faceted test that assesses different traits and skills related to management. The study reveals that what differentiates excellent from satisfactory managers relates a great deal to their personality and attitude rather than solely their skills.

So what kind of person does it take? Technical competencies and skills to complete everyday managerial tasks are paramount, but only one piece of the puzzle. A manager's attitude and personality also play a major role in whether employees thrive under his/her leadership, according to the study.

"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,” says Dr. Ilona Jerabek, president of “Being extremely smart or knowledgeable in your field makes you an expert, but is simply not enough to lead others."

The research revealed that top-performing managers outscored their "satisfactory" counterparts on 30 different scales, including confidence, approachability, communication skills and poise. Top managers also were more likely to be motivational, at ease in a position of authority, charismatic and comfortable with delegating. Further, such managers possess what PsychTests dubs "managerial courage" — 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," says 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."

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Employee Benefit News becomes archived within a week of it being published

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access