By Michael Holland – 

Only 1 in 10 people have the necessary traits to be great managers and lead their team to achieve excellence in ways that truly impact company performance.  That’s what Gallup finds from their research.

That’s not 1 in 10 managers, that’s 1 in 10 people! 

And are those talented people the same folks who were promoted to the management roles? Unfortunately, probably not.

But surely your boss was hired into their role because they are one of those 1 in 10!

Here’s what the research says are the talents of great managers:

  • They motivate every single employee to take action and engage them with a compelling mission and vision.
  • They have the assertiveness to drive outcomes and the ability to overcome adversity and resistance.
  • They create a culture of clear accountability.
  • They build relationships that create trust, open dialogue, and full transparency.
  • They make decisions that are based on productivity, not politics.

48% Higher Profit

These necessary traits are found in perfect combination in only 1 in 10 people and when these special folks are put in manager roles, they “. . . naturally engage team members and customers, retain top performers, and sustain a culture of high productivity. Combined, they contribute about 48% higher profit to their companies than average managers.”

Some Good News

The good news for some of us is that 2 in 10 people can function at a high level in the company because they exhibit some of the characteristics of basic managerial talent.  But they can only become more effective if their company invests in developmental and coaching plans to help gain the insight and wisdom required.

Not Such Good News

Most managers get thrown into management because they were good at their jobs as individual contributors.  Then they get promoted again because among their peers, they had better skills or were more effective.  Companies take for granted that once promoted, every manager has the same chance of success as long as they work hard.

Unfortunately companies are promoting from positions of weakness because they have created a pool of young managers who are more likely to not have the natural characteristics to be highly successful.  And the companies are not investing in the these young leaders with training and coaching to improve their odds.

How about anecdotally?  How effective is your boss as a leader?  How about their boss? Their boss’ boss?  Hmmm, seems like there may be a trend line here of mediocrity in management.

Coaching Thoughts – For You and Your Peers

  • Which trait is the most challenging for you?
  • Grab a peer and review the list of traits.  In what ways could you develop some skills to help amplify – or compensate for –  the listed traits?
  • How do those statistics make you feel?  Do you agree with the research?


Gallup: Why Good Managers Are So Rare