Here are few qualities I keep looking for in every manager I work with.

Fortunately, they are becoming more frequent in recent years !

It is obviously not an exhaustive list. After all Mintzberg published several books on managing and his most recent list of qualities for a manager stopped at 50. Fifty qualities !! But he was the first to say that the manager having all of those 50 qualities was probably not human.

So here is my list, inspired by several great men… and women of course !


Standing up for the right reason, for quality in face of adversity …and profit. Standing up during a management committee to say you do not agree with a decision that the elephant in the room trumpeted against. But nobody else supports you. Courage then !

Courage (this is not a typo)

Standing up to say that :“ YES I did this.” Whether it was a decision to stop the line, or to simply admit you made a mistake. There is so much fear in our organization today ! Fear to lose your job, fear or reprimand or reprisal. Tony Robbins had a great acronym for FEAR : False Evidence Appearing Real. Admitting one’ s mistake is just this, saying it out loud. Whether it is said or not does not matter : it happened. Saying it out loud is a courageous act. Keeping it inside, is not.

Oh well, this one could have been Ownership….but the temptation to type an apparent typo (for which I am quite famous!) was too strong…


NOT rigidity. This fine line is crossed too frequently. A clear path, a direction, an eerie of guiding rules yes. But no dogma. Let’s keep an open mind to make sure we do not fall in the pit of dark compliance.

“ The industrial age brought compliance and compliance brought fear and fear brought us mediocrity.”  Seth Godin


No unilateral decision-making.  Every company mention their “most precious assets” : their employees as the source of their success…. only to ignore them completely for the sake of the next quarter dividends. But this requires…


Honesty, integrity and the power of transparency. Big troubles ahead ? Say so. Great success ahead. Say so. No solution ahead ? Say so. Worried ? Say so. Confused ? Say so. Admitting the truth is not always easy. Covering lies is always hard!

This reminds me of the George Washington story where he cut a tree down and he finally confessed to his father only to receive a fair punishment. All the time keeping his father’s trust.


This one comes only when one deserves it. Actions speak louder than words. Why do all our leaders speak so much then? This brings me to the last one of this non-exhaustive list…


I see too many executives suffering from bellybuttonitis, the acute form. Whole industries suffer from this too. Although I try my best to gather my client together to facilitate discussion and sharing, the instinctive compassion is to keep the secrets, oh so very secrets, inside.

  • “Oh, we are so unique, you know…”
  •  And the rest is left unspoken…
  • “We are sooooooo much better than the others !”
  • “We do not dare sharing this very secret bit of information…”
  • “We have strict corporate policy not to speak in public about our trade secrets….”

And the very best one….“We do no need to share or listen for that matter, with other companies, because we have our own internal divisional communication community.”

Ah, humility. Being able to listen without prejudice or contempt. Being willing to help. Being able to admit failure and to share success simply. Being willing to learn and to change from the learning.

A short list.

  • Courage, twice
  • Rigour
  • Collaboration
  • Transparency
  • Trustworthiness
  • Humility

Yes, yes, I know, avid and loyal readers, I did mention a list of five qualities in my previous article.

What are the other qualities I should have added ?

Write your own list below !


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