I have always included two questions in all of my interviews: Can you tell me about your favorite manager? least favorite manager?

Applicant after applicant had eyes light up when recounting their stories with their favorite managers. I heard stories of managers being flexible with employees during personal difficult times, providing support when the position was overwhelming and being approachable.

The mood almost always changed when the applicant hesitantly told me about their least favorite manager. There were stories of not being approachable or managers would sit in their office when work was at its busiest. One person shared being written up for attending a close relatives funeral. I decided to share:

Common Traits in a Favorite Manager

They are Fair
Managers that make it into the “favorite” category hold everyone accountable with the same standards. It is easy to “play favorites” with your team but that behavior make your team crazy. Why can John come in late consistently but Sarah was written up for being late once? Teams like to know what the manager expects of everyone. Holding the same standards reinforces the expectations of behavior for the workplace.

They Help
Favorite Managers jump in when the team is sinking. Interview after interview the running theme of favorite managers was that they were supportive of their teams. Being “helpful” as a manager is more than getting through the busy time, it is sharing the same elbow space in the same role to accomplish the same mission. This is where managers practice what they preach in supporting their team.

They are Flexible
Flexibility is important to team members. An associate might need time off to take care of a family situation or may just have a different way of completing a task. Being flexible to make the team member’s work or home life easier is a trait that does not go unnoticed. Each interviewee responded with examples in which their favorite managers worked with them during a frustrating situation.

They Listen
The best managers not only listen to feedback, but they do something with it. The team might complain of the workload, hours, coworkers, and other stressors but a great manager hears more than “complaints”. Favorite managers often listen to what stresses their team members and take it as feedback to work towards positive change.

Do you have a Favorite Manager story that you want to share?

About Tantam Health: Founded in the Chicagoland area in 2017; Tantam takes a team-based approach in their worksite healthcare delivery model, adhering to patient-centered medical home (PCMH) guidelines set forth by NCQA. The unique structure of their team allows them to deliver on the expectations of their clients, their employees and their partners. They are committed to a culture of collaboration and engagement that transforms employee health solutions for their clients.

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