A recent study conducted by HR software provider Ciphr has unveiled the most coveted qualities and skills that employees consider essential for a good manager.

The survey, which polled 1,000 employees across the UK, sheds light on the key attributes that define effective leadership in the workplace.

Topping the list of qualities deemed most crucial by employees is trustworthiness, with a resounding 69 percent of respondents rating it as the top managerial trait. This was closely followed by being respectful and treating everyone fairly, which garnered the support of 66 percent of those surveyed.

In addition to trustworthiness and respect, honesty and authenticity (62%), maintaining a positive attitude (61%), and being reliable and consistent (60%) were all highly valued qualities in a manager, according to the study.

Further down the list, friendliness (58%) was highlighted as a desirable trait, alongside qualities such as compassion and supportiveness (56%) and the ability to lead by example (56%).

Effective communication (55%), a commitment to fostering collaboration within the team (54%), being organised (53%), and being open to feedback and suggestions (53%) were also qualities that employees saw as vital in a good manager. Additionally, being an empathetic listener (51%) and showing recognition and appreciation for others (51%) were important attributes.

Survey participants were presented with a randomised list of 32 managerial qualities and skills and asked to select the 14 they deemed most important.

The findings revealed that qualities related to interpersonal skills and behaviours, which govern how managers interact with their teams, were considered the most favourable traits to possess.

The top 20 most important qualities and skills of a good manager:

  • Is trustworthy (69% of surveyed employees)
  • Respectful and treats everyone fairly (66%)
  • Honest and authentic (62%)
  • Has a positive attitude (61%)
  • Reliable and consistent (60%)
  • Warm and friendly (58%)
  • Compassionate and supportive (56%)
  • A leader / leads by example (56%)
  • Effective communicator (55%)
  • A team player who encourages collaboration (54%)
  • Organised (53%)
  • Open to feedback and suggestions (53%)
  • An empathic listener (51%)
  • Appreciative and shows recognition (51%)
  • Confident and decisive (47%)
  • Accountable (45%)
  • Able to coach and mentor (44%)
  • Able to motivate, empower and encourage (44%)
  • Supports career development (43%)
  • Is inclusive (42%)
  • Has strong values and ethics (42%)
  • Able to delegate (42%

What does this mean for organisations?

Commenting on the results, Karen Lough, Head of Learning and Development at Ciphr, emphasised the importance of these findings for organisations. She noted that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to management and that many of the identified traits are rooted in personal values and behaviours rather than technical skills or knowledge.

Lough stressed the significance of focusing on fundamental qualities and strengths that all employees seek in their managers, including trustworthiness, respectfulness, fairness, positivity, consistency, and integrity. She highlighted the need for ongoing training and development for managers, not only in management processes and competencies but also in self-awareness and adaptability to individual team members’ needs.

She also emphasised that organisations neglecting to invest in manager training risk instability, as undertrained and inexperienced managers may struggle to lead effectively, leading to reduced productivity and attrition.

She concluded, “No matter how skilled individuals are in their roles, everyone benefits from regular training and development, and managers are no exception.”





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.