What Makes a Manager

Dec. 13, 2022

Look for these traits in your current or next expert shop manager.

When we are looking to take our stores to the next level, it is our people that allow us to win or lose. There are many times that we make mistakes on putting someone in place because they do one thing well, but there is a better way to determine whether they will be successful or not. No matter what leadership style you look for in your management teams, there are a few key things that you can look for in that person. Matching the core values will help you hopefully make one move and not look to make another in a few months. 

Communication Skills 

Excellent communication is essential to team success. Managers who know how to communicate well with their team members can teach effectively by demonstrating and explaining tasks. They can also motivate others by defining the object to keep them focused. They are also able to connect with and understand their employees. Being able to make this connection is vital to getting your team to buy in to what you are looking to accomplish. If you are interviewing a potential applicant or someone to promote, giving short answers or wishy-washy sentences should be a red flag that you may want to continue your search. 


Managers who exhibit confidence often show others that it is okay to be themselves, as long as they do so in a respectful manner. Confident leaders inspire those around them to be productive and trust their intuition when making decisions. There is a saying: “Speed of the leader, speed of the crew.” That phrase is perfect for this section.  

With a confident and potentially competitive manager candidate, you will have employees that it rubs off on. You may find your next assistant or manager among them when they have been given the motivation to show what they can do. A confident manager will not feel threatened by allowing his team to shine. 


A good manager understands that there are some decisions that cannot be outsourced to employees. Solid decision-making provides focus for your team and removes the type of errors that might send your business in a downward spiral. Some decisions might not be so straightforward, so part of a manager’s leadership qualities is the willingness to be creative, intuitive, and confident in setting a new direction. Responsible managers meet their own goals and know how to guide others to do the same. When you set a goal or a task for a good manager, they will set it into action. Do not allow complacency. You must trust them, but still verify that these goals are being completed. The responsibility goes two ways. 


As you may know, when you put trust in your team, it can improve employee morale and motivation. When you allow your team members and managers to work without micromanaging, make their own decisions and apply their skills and knowledge in the workplace, they may feel more valued for their professional expertise. When they feel that you have that trust in them, they will inherently work harder for you. 

When you find a good management candidate, involve them in decision-making processes when possible and empower them to make choices in their roles. If they can make sound decisions and find alternative solutions to difficult problems, then you have the right person. 

These are just a few things that I look for in a manager candidate. If you have a good training program, it will make it much easier to identify these people. For you to know what you are looking for, you need to first decide what direction your company is to go. Set your core values that you want for your teams and hire, fire and promote from those. If you have a candidate that fits these roles above, but does not match your core values, then keep looking. The right person is out there that will take you to the next level. 

About the Author

Adam Tatum

Adam Tatum is the Director of Operations for Virginia Lubes, a Jiffy Lube franchisee with 11 locations. He has over a decade of experience in the industry with a proven track record of building customer counts and sales, as well as using innovative ways to bring a new look to the automotive field for both the customer and the employee.  Performance comes from growing your business through people.

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