First 30 Days Blog

19 mar

Traits of a Good Manager in 2014

RobertCordrayBusiness has changed a lot over the years, but certain fundamentals have not. While situations vary from one generation to the next (businesses in the ’90’s didn’t need a personal email/texting policy), classical management excellence has not had to change so much as adjust.

Among the traits great managers will have in 2014 are those that can be found in the Marine Corps’ 14 Leadership Traits, which applies as much today as it did in the past

The leadership traits are:

  • Judgment
  • Justice
  • Dependability
  • Integrity
  • Decisiveness
  • Tact
  • Initiative
  • Endurance
  • Bearing
  • Unselfishness
  • Courage
  • Knowledge
  • Loyalty
  • Enthusiasm

And like all things military, they come with an acronym: JJ-DID-TIE-BUCKLE.

They are all important, but we are only going to dive into a few that are seemingly most crucial in today’s environment.


There are many times when employees are not treated the same way for the same infraction. For example, two employees may be using Facebook during office hours. One is reprimanded, the other is not.

Sometimes this is warranted – such as when an employee is in charge the company’s social media branding – and other times it isn’t. It all comes down to one’s judgment.


It takes time to strengthen one’s judgment. As the old saying goes: “good choices come from wisdom. Wisdom comes from experience. Experience is the result of bad choices.”

Managers need to be able to exercise judgment to make the right decisions, which are sometimes unpopular. Just as in the Marine Corps, there are many times that Mission Accomplishment needs to come before Troop Welfare. This means that people need to understand that what they need to do must come before what they want to do.


Managers want people they can count on, but it has to be a two-way street. For example, no one wants a manager who is only going to note their infractions and never their accomplishments.

Additionally, managers need to be relied on to support their staff, especially when it comes to sales force productivity, be it to accommodate a scheduling conflict at home, relieve them of problems with an abusive co-worker, or to give them a fair chance to progress in their careers.


In this Information Age, personal information is more important than ever. Managers are often privy to people’s private lives to some degree, be it financial stress, problems at home, or health issues. Having this information is a form of trust that needs to be adhered to so as to maintain the dignity of the employee who expects a certain level of confidentiality.

A great example of not having tact was shown in the character of Michael Scott, played by Steve Carell on the show, The Office. Scott regularly engaged in workplace faux pas, some of which were just plain crazy, and others that led to lawsuit settlements, such as when he outed Oscar as a homosexual.

Rather than treat Oscar the same as everyone else, he tried to figure out if anyone else was gay, and then wanted to show everyone that he respected Oscar enough to kiss him on the lips, causing much embarrassment to all involved.


Managers have more information than their subordinates and they also need to fight for their team on occasion. Knowing this, bearing is incredibly important. There are times when managers need to lead on that there are no problems from above when there are so that the staff can focus on their work. Other times, managers need to maintain a strong sense of bearing in order to negotiate deals with customers, vendors, or for staff benefits, such as new furniture, R&D funds, or raises.

These are not the only traits a good manager needs in 2014, but they provide a strong foundation to build upon and encourage in others who wish to ascend into leadership positions, be it at work or home.

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Posted by Robert Cordray on March 19th, 2014 in Career | 0 comments

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