Manager : 5 Desirable Qualities

Simon Nko

Desirable Qualities of an Effective Manager

1.         Manager is patient

A manager needs patience, as Arnold Glasow explains in a poster, “you get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it” Many managers forget this when at first they do not succeed in achieving their objectives. The manager forgets that achievement takes consistent efforts. It is as though the manager has forgotten that the successful Apollo 11 trip to the moon was preceded by ten unsuccessful attempts. When the manager gives up, they lose both the battle as well as the lesson.

2.       Manager is impartial

A good manager is impartial. Partiality can be one cause of conflict in a work team. The manager needs to avoid focusing only on the weaker members of a team because this can engender resentment amongst those who are taking greater responsibility for the performance of the team. It is important not to exalt one at the expense of another and also, as Abraham Lincoln warned, not to do for someone what that person can do for themselves. He identified this as “helping men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do themselves.” Others have called this behaviour, “keeping a dog, but barking you.”

3.        Manager takes responsibility

A good manager takes responsibility when things go wrong. A manager follows the dictum that “responsibility supersedes relaxation, needs trump wants, seeking precedes sleeping and praying comes before playing.”

4.       Manager is open learning

A good manager learns from every situation that arises, the manager remembers the following:

If a barber makes a mistake, it’s a new style

If a driver makes a mistake, it’s new path

If an engineer makes a mistake, it’s a new venture

If parents make a mistake, it’s new generation,

If a politician makes a mistake, it’s new law

If a scientist makes a mistake, it’s a new invention

If a tailor makes a mistake, it’s a new fashion

If a teacher makes a mistake, it’s new theory

If our boss makes a mistake, it’s a new idea

If an employee makes a mistake, it’ a big mistake


5.      A Manager Inspires

A manager also needs to instil an indefatigable zeal in the team. The objectives can only be accomplished through teamwork and the instillation of the principle of teamwork depends on the manager.

A former director of Ebony Management Services, Mr James Lekgetha, said about office management[1], “The manager must set leverages and limitations within which an official can incur expenses.”  Each member of staff should have a set of objectives within which that person functions and in terms of which they report to the manager. Objectives must be appropriate to the responsibilities of the position. They must be measurable and time-bound. They must be associated with performance measurement criteria. This will assist the manager and others to know what is expected of them and their performance.

[1] Lecture entitled ‘Management Planning  & Communication within the Church ’ prepared for the Christian Education Movement, delivered  on at The Methodist Church Of Southern Africa,  Katlehong Central ,on 04 august 1989

Simon Nko contributed this guest post, Manager 5 Desirable Qualities


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