The 5 Most Important Leadership Traits Your Managers Need to Have in 2023

Excellent managers have an influential role in retaining employees and helping to keep them engaged and productive. Here are the top 5 leadership qualities they should exhibit.

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Humble Managers: What They Are and How to Be One

Here's what you need to know:

  • The most important leadership traits managers need to have include the ability to lead employees from afar and a proactive leadership mindset to engage workers
  • Managers also need to have the ability to build rapport with employees and develop leadership in their team members
  • It’s also vital that managers invest in the well-being and psychological safety of workers

Your managers will need to be both great managers and great leaders if they want their team members to stay with the company and be productive and effective. But that’s easier to say than to do.

That’s why managers will need to stay up-to-date with leadership trends in order to be able to lead their team members through the hardships of 2023. With that in mind, here are the most important leadership traits your managers need to have in order to be effective leaders.

The 5 most important leadership traits for managers

With the global pandemic, the entire workforce changed the way it operates and managers had to change accordingly. Many employees started working from home and that brought certain challenges into the workplace that managers had to take into account when leading their teams.

That’s why the following 5 leadership traits are of vital importance if they want to be effective leaders in 2023.

1. The ability to lead employees from afar

Leaders had a great advantage when leading their team on-site — they could see their employees’ body language and the employees could see their body language. Since we communicate so much of a message with our body language, both sides can interpret it to get the entirety of the message.

However, with work from home, that became harder. Managers now don’t have the luxury of reading the body language of their employees and they will need to learn how to lead them from far away.

This means that managers need to learn how to communicate with utmost clarity all of their tasks and ensure that the employees received the complete message.

Managers should also have 1-on-1 sessions with their employees to see how their management/communication system affects their employees and to see their effectiveness. Things will be difficult at the start and managers will have to adapt their approach in order to find the most effective way of leading their employees from afar.

2. Proactive leadership to engage workers

A lot of employees are disengaged from their jobs and now more than ever, managers will need to be proactive when it comes to engaging their employees. According to a Gallup study, only 30% of employees in the U.S. are engaged at work.

With these numbers in mind, managers will have to actively reach out to their employees and ensure that they have the best possible working environment. This will help them to be engaged at work.

The problem with engagement is two-fold: the first one is about employee productivity. A disengaged employee is unlikely to be a proactive employee.

That means that the company will have enough employees on paper, but in reality, only about 1/3 of the workforce will positively contribute to the success of the company.

Employees can go from engaged to disengaged if they’re not properly managed.

The second problem is that the employees can go from engaged to disengaged if they’re not properly managed and then, the employees can leave the company. This can happen because of multiple reasons. However, a manager can prevent most of them if they act in time and communicates with the employee.

So to properly lead your team members in 2023, managers will have to proactively reach out to their employees and ensure that they’re engaged, happy, and productive in their workplace.

3. The ability to build rapport with employees

It’s not enough just to engage employees; managers need to create a real relationship with their employees and the employees need to have a sense of belonging. Any manager that wants to lead their team members properly in 2023 will have to invest in building rapport with their team members.

In another Gallup study, it was found that 1 in 2 employees leave a job to get away from their manager at some point to improve their lives. So no matter how good the company overall is, or how incentivizing the rewards are, or how fulfilling the purpose and vision of the company are; if a manager isn’t holding up their part, the employees will leave.

When it comes to an online working environment, that’s even more emphasized. Managers have less input for their team members because they simply see them less. So they will have to actively work on bringing the team together and working on building a strong connection with their employees.

This means that a manager will have to organize 1-on-1 meetings, team-building activities, and team bonding with their staff members even if they’re hundreds of miles apart. A team member who is invested in the company and has a great relationship with their leader is less likely to just pick up their things and leave a job.

4. Investing in the well-being and psychological safety of workers

The switch from a mostly on-site workplace to a mostly off-site workplace had a different effect on many employees.

Some immediately embraced this new work style and managed to thrive in it. Others had problems adjusting. Some managed to adjust after a time, but then there were a lot of people who couldn’t make a clear border between their work time and their off time.

When working on-site, it’s easier to make a clear distinction between job and leisure time — once the person leaves the office, it’s leisure time.

But what happens when you “never leave” the workplace? Some people work in the same rooms where they spend their leisure time and they take a break here or there and then open their work laptops later on to finish their work. However, this can end up (and it has) as a job that lasts for the entire day, leaving employees burned out and drained of their energy.

That’s why managers need to invest heavily in the psychological safety and well-being of their employees. They need to help them make a clear distinction between work time and leisure time, invest in their mental well-being, and ensure that they’re working in a safe environment.

5. Developing leadership in their team members

Even though there are some things that have changed over the years when it comes to leadership, there are some elements of it that have stayed the same. And they stayed the same for a reason — they work and professionals should employ these techniques over and over again.

A great manager will understand that they need to create a leadership pipeline in order for the business to have continuity, productivity, and longevity. No company can survive if they don’t have great leaders and the best organizations out there create their own leaders.

So a manager should invest in developing leadership in their team members. First of all, this will be great for the company. Also, the team members will appreciate it as well. Leadership development will serve as a growth opportunity for them and they will participate in it wholeheartedly.

Millennials are hungry for growth opportunities in the workplace and leadership development can bring that to them — managers just need to provide that to them.

What’s your biggest 2022 HR challenge that you’d like to resolve

Answer to see the results

Invest in your company and your people

To invest in your company, you need to invest in the people that make it. So make sure that you develop your managers and that you give them enough room and flexibility so that they can develop their team members.

In case you need help identifying the best people in your company, check out this post: How to Identify Leaders and Push Leadership Development.

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