Article: The making of a great manager: Insights from People Management Survey 2018

Employee Relations

The making of a great manager: Insights from People Management Survey 2018

The Predictive Index's People Management Survey 2018 distinguishes a great manager from the good and bad ones, and attempts to understand the impact of a manager on the workforce.
The making of a great manager: Insights from People Management Survey 2018

How would you define your manager: great, good, or bad? Do all great managers have a few common traits? Similarly, do all bad bosses share some qualities? The People Management Survey 2018 by The Predictive Index set out to answer these questions. The survey had 4,273 respondents from 22 industries. According to the rating assigned by the respondent, their managers were categorized as ‘great’, ‘good’, or ‘bad’, and subsequently, their qualities were studied. 

Defining a Great Manager

Let’s start with the most critical question that the survey answered: who is a great manager? An analysis of the responses from 1,533 individuals who described their managers as ‘great’ managers shows that they “tend to work hard, know how to laugh, have a positive disposition, and understand how to do their jobs.” Furthermore, the report says that not only are they passionate about their work, but also compassionate to their team members. Here’s a look at the top traits of a great manager:


The top words used by the respondents to describe great managers were: honest, supportive, leader, fair, trustworthy, communicative, respectful, transparent, and knowledgeable.

A total of 633 respondents rated their managers as ‘bad’. Bad managers usually focus on themselves and lack self-awareness. Here are the top characteristics of a bad manager as per the responses collected in the survey:

A few words that were used the most to describe bad managers are: selfish, lazy, rude, arrogant, untrustworthy, dishonest, mean, negative, reactive, and aloof. 

The DNA of Managers 

99.9% of the respondents believe that self-awareness is critical for managers. Men and women received a near-similar rating in managerial roles, and even the traits of male and female managers were fairly similar. Furthermore, the average ratings for managers were also similar across different generations; a startling revelation, considering the widely-perceived notion that millennials aren’t cut out to be managers. 

While bosses of all generations ranked close to each other and displayed near-identical traits, millennial employees tend to associate being casual with rules to being a great boss more than any other generation. On the other hand, the managers among the respondents stated that ‘delegation, hiring, communication, and training’ are the top things on their mind currently. Other important priorities are: coaching, onboarding, accountability, feedback, development, and listening. 

The Impact of Managers and their Feedback 


The survey also established a direct connection between the quality of a manager and the level of engagement an employee exhibits. 94% of the respondents with great bosses stated that they have passion and energy for their work, whereas only 59% of those with bad managers agreed to the same. This correlation is significant, and estimates that “how someone rates their manager accounts for roughly 14% of how engaged they are in their current job.” This was further reiterated by the finding which said that 77% of the respondents with bad bosses intended to leave their current job within the next 12 months; as compared to 18% of those with great managers. The results also show that nearly 44% of the managers do not seem to be providing the right amount of feedback to their team members. The findings also show that giving too much feedback is better than providing too little feedback. 

According to the survey, there are more good managers than there are bad ones. And considering the astronomical impact a manager can have on an employee’s career, this is good news.  Any team is as good as the manager, and the study right says that a manager, if liked and respected, is likely to be a great, or at least a good boss. The report can help leaders identify their style. It can serve as a useful guide to the future managers by helping them navigate leadership and management. 


People Management Survey 2018 

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Topics: Employee Relations

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