Tough Interview Questions for Managers: What Qualities Are Most Important When Managing a Team

By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

There are a million things that go into being an effective manager or leader of a team. As a matter of fact, saying that is how you start answering the question.

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What qualities are most important when managing or leading a team? I’m Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter. And this is a question that’s going to be asked of a manager and above, in many organizations. Now, I’ve got 12 factors that I would raise, but you can’t remember 12 things in the midst of all your other preparation. So see which ones connect with you. But start off the answer with, ‘oh, man, there’s a million things that go into those qualities. But here are a few that come to mind.’

Number one is the ability to look at the big picture of a situation as well as the micro dynamics. The ability to inspire, empower, and motivate people because there are times that you have to just inspire people, they have to feel empowered, and there are times you got to light a fire underneath them. The third is being able to prioritize what’s important because there’s lots of minutiae that could distract people. You want to ensure that you’re focused on what’s truly important.interview

Number four, you want to put people in the position where they could be most successful. Everyone’s got weaknesses. And in theory, that’s what that question is supposed to be about. Tell me about your weaknesses. So you can avoid putting people into roles where they’re not going to be using their strengths. But we know that isn’t what it’s used for. What you want to be doing is putting people in a position where they can leverage their strengths, and be more successful.

Number five, it’s empowering people. And I mentioned this earlier, but sometimes people are fearful in management and leadership, and they disempower people rather than empower them. Number six is clear communications. If people have fuzzy ideas of what you’re telling them, they’re not going to do what you really want them to do, and you’re going to blame them when it’s really about you. Number seven, the ability to acknowledge and reward people.

Eight,  you and they are accountable for outcomes and choices along the way. If someone’s late to a meeting, being accountable for that, if you are late to a meeting, being accountable to others for that. You know, accountability is very important, because with staff, in particular, they look at an unaccountable manager and question why they’re being held to account for their failings.

Number nine, emotional intelligence. And with that, being seen as being open, while at the same time being effective.  10, they’re organized. 11, you’re able to delegate. Number 12, you can make a decision. So often, people try to create an environment where their staff is empowered to offer input, which is great, but they never make a decision afterward and the result winds up being a lack of clarity that they have about outcomes.

For example, I sat in a meeting yesterday, with one purpose in mind. And at the end of the meeting, we accomplished nothing. A lot of people said a lot of stuff, no decisions were made or communicated. I wasted an hour of my life. So being able to make a decision and being able to communicate it to people becomes very important.

So I would never expect you to remember all these factors. But start off by saying, ‘oh, there’s so many things that go into being an effective manager or a leader. Here’s a few of them that come to mind.’ And remember the ones that are important to you and finish up by saying ‘and there’s so many more but those are the ones that are top of mind.’

I hope you found this helpful. I’m Jeff Altman. Visit my website, There’s a ton of the blog that will help you. Plus you can find out about my courses, books, and guides, schedule time for a free discovery call or schedule a coaching session with me. I’d love to help. Lastly, connect with me on /linkedin at Have a terrific day can be great.

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with over 2400 episodes.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? People hire me to provide No BS career advice whether that is about a job search, hiring better, leadership, management or support with a workplace issue. Schedule a discovery call at my website, 

My courses are available on my The courses include ones about Informational InterviewsInterviewing, final interview preparation, salary negotiation mistakes to avoidthe top 10 questions to prepare for on any job interview, and starting a new job.

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