48 qualities of excellent managers and leaders

Based on more than a hundred scientific studies on the success factors of excellent managers and leaders, feedforward expert Muriel Schrikkema arrived at 48 qualities of excellent managers and leaders. Those qualities of excellent managers and leaders were then subdivided into three pillars: authentic, people-centred and entrepreneurship.

  1. An authentic person is rewarded with authority and is appreciated for his or her honesty and fairness. He is optimistic, inspires confidence and is focused on improving individual and team 48 qualities of excellent managers and leadersperformance. He looks closely at himself and at the other individuals, and he is reflective by nature. Authentic individuals are decisive and result-oriented. The long-term result takes precedence over short-term profit.
  2. Leaders that are people-centred, give employees energy. Colleagues feel heard and valuable. They see and feel that they are being involved in the decision-making and efficiency in the workplace. By stimulating feedback, sharing knowledge and experience, and constantly maintaining contact with others, a people-centred manager stimulates the development of new ideas and creates an environment of continuous improvement. Under a people-centred leader, there is more understanding of one another, which leads to better and more effective decisions. An individual with a people-centred management style is also able to establish unequivocal boundaries and is able to make individual decisions.
  3. Entrepreneurship is essential within an organisation, in order to innovate and improve. A successful entrepreneur is able to link external developments to internal actions and promotes entrepreneurship amongst employees. He is able to mobilize ideas and to utilize them efficiently in the interest of the organisation. A successful entrepreneur dares to take risks, but keeps the context and structure of the organisation in mind during the process. This pillar includes the qualities ‘focused on results’, ‘puts the collective interest first’, and ‘broad range of interests’.

Feedforward on the 48 qualities of excellent managers and leaders

Based on these concrete qualities of excellent managers and leaders and the idea that it is a good thing to identify them, Direction developed the feedforward analyse™. This gives leaders and managers insight into what they are good at. Both they themselves and respondents from their immediate surroundings make a selection of qualities that suit them best.
This generates a list of qualities of excellent managers and leaders that people find applicable to the analysed person. “And that really produces concrete tools”, Schrikkema says. “Based on this list, you can start thinking about how you can deploy the selected qualities more effectively and more successfully.”

48 qualities of excellent managers and leadersSchrikkema: “We also advise people to look at the qualities of excellent managers and leaders that are listed just outside the top ten. You’ve clearly proven to have these qualities on several occasions, therefore it would be much easier to work on strengthening them, rather than the qualities that you have never given any sign of.”
One can only improve qualities by being more disciplined when working on them. By having a close colleague act as a buddy, conducting interviews with a coach, or in a training course, to name a few examples.

The report to the participants will also examine how participants scored themselves, as compared to how they are scored by close colleagues. If the differences are significant, it means that you look at yourself in a different way than respondents look at you. This is a relevant insight because, when you actually want to improve something with the help of other people, you need to interpret certain behaviour in the same way. Because, as Professor Roos Vonk said in Managementboek Magazine: “Others often have a more realistic picture of your behaviour, than you.” “Asking your environment to help you with this image, is very instructive”, Schrikkema says. “Especially when positive qualities are emphasized, so that you are really open to learn from them.”

Hard and soft qualities of excellent managers and leaders

The report also indicates the division between hard and soft qualities, individual and relational qualities and qualities of managers and leaders. George Kohlrieser9 refers to the hard and soft qualities as ‘daring and caring’ qualities. Both are necessary to perform excellently, and they also influence each other. For example, if you apply your hard qualities more often, your soft qualities also become more powerful. If you are very focused on the other person, gladly take care of the other person, ask questions and coach, you will be more effective in this respect if you also simultaneously dare to address the other person in respect of issues, or if you dare to talk about conflicts.

The division between qualities of excellent managers and leaders also says something about your role as a leader. “The big difference here is that management qualities are more concrete and helpFeedforward expert Muriel Schrikkema get things done in daily practice”, Schrikkema says. “Leadership qualities seem more abstract, they’re about having a long term vision and gaining confidence.”
Participants respond positively to the test. “For me, this is a confirmation of how I’m put together and act, and gives me insight into how I can use my own qualities more effectively”, says manager Annie Oude Hengel. Manager Michel Meeues is also positive: “Other tests also produce feedback, but this test produces much more direct and more recognizable points. Without hard figures.” And Director Bas Oude Elberink says: “The test is very user-friendly. It’s soothing, like a warm bath, and the best part is that it gives you something that makes you feel you need to work on it, to get further.”

Excellent managers and leaders

“People ask you for criticism, but they actually want praise”, said the British writer Somerset Maugham10, long before even neuroscience showed that compliments have a much more positive effect on the brain, than negative comments. Therefore, if you want to change behaviour, it would be best to consider the options available to you, to reinforce behaviour by way of compliments. Excellent managers and leaders are aware of that.

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Sources: 48 qualities of excellent managers and leaders

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