The 5 Superpowers Every Manager Needs (And How to Unleash Them)

Being a great manager is kind of like being a superhero – you need a few special powers to save the day and keep your team performing at their absolute best. The good news is that unlike gamma radiation or a radioactive spider bite, developing these management superpowers is very much in your control. With some conscious effort and the right mindset, any manager can tap into their full potential.

So what are these elite powers that separate the so-so managers from the really exceptional ones? And how can you unlock each of these superpowers within yourself? Let’s dive in…

Superpower #1: X-Ray Communication Vision

The greatest managers have the ability to see through things – to read between the lines and understand what’s really being conveyed, even if it’s not overtly spoken. They can deduce underlying emotions, concerns, and motivations based on subtle cues. This x-ray vision for communication makes them incredible listeners and observers.

How to Unleash It:

• Become hyper-aware of nonverbal cues like facial expressions, tone of voice, body language, etc. These often reveal more than words.

• Ask clarifying follow-up questions if you sense someone may be holding something back or not being totally transparent.

• Put your own defensiveness aside and be open to any feedback, concerns, or criticisms being raised, even indirectly.

Superpower #2: Empathy Rays

Being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and see the world through their lens is one of the most powerful leadership abilities. It allows you to better understand your team’s unique perspectives, challenges, work styles, and intrinsic motivations. With this superpower, you can proactively address needs and resolve issues in a personalised, thoughtful way.

How to Unleash It:  

• Have regular one-on-one casual check-ins with each team member to learn about their individual goals, interests, and home life.

• When dealing with performance issues or conflicts, be curious and aim to fully understand the employee’s side before judging or passing verdicts.

• Put yourself in hypothetical scenarios faced by your team members to consider how you would feel and what you would need from a manager in that situation.

Superpower #3: Strategic Laser Vision

Top-tier managers see opportunity and potential even amongst the chaos and white noise of day-to-day operations. They have razor-sharp focus that allows them to establish a clear, unified vision for the team and expertly navigate towards that Northstar. This superpower prevents managers from getting bogged down in tasks and inefficiencies.

How to Unleash It:

• Schedule a monthly “strategic month” where you block off time to just think, reassess your team’s priorities, and plan for the future.

• Identify which activities are actually high-impact and which ones are just busywork. Ditch the latter.

• Continually realign your team’s daily work with the organisation’s high-level objectives and your vision for success.

Superpower #4: Super Coaching Strength  

Whether nurturing talent, correcting poor performance, or simply maximising each person’s potential, all great managers possess incredible coaching ability. This superpower allows you to properly develop and bring out the best in your team members through support, feedback, and personalised guidance.

How to Unleash It:

• Provide coaching, but don’t hand out answers. Ask thought-provoking questions to help team members develop their critical thinking skills.

• Give both reinforcing and constructive feedback frequently – in-the-moment is often best.

• Have regular check-ins specifically focused on professional development plans and career goals.

• Be situationally aware of individual needs and adapt your coaching style to each unique personality and learning method.

Superpower #5: Decision Deflector Shields

In the face of tough choices, shifting priorities, or critical crossroads, elite managers remain calm and clearheaded. They can block out distractions, emotions, and noise to analytically evaluate scenarios and make highly informed, timely decisions with confidence. This superpower is absolutely vital for strong leadership and high-stakes situations.

How to Unleash It:

• Establish a simple decision-making framework and refer to it when you feel overwhelmed or indecisive.

• Practice mental exercises like temporarily setting aside your biases and considering scenarios from a neutral standpoint.

• Don’t be impulsive! Take time to collect all relevant data before deciding.

• Get exposure to more and more high-pressure situations that will allow you to develop decisive thinking habits over time.

The Great Manager Realisation

Look, no one is going to suddenly develop every single one of these superpowers overnight. The path to becoming an exceptional manager who brings out the very best in their team takes continual commitment, self-coaching, and purposeful practice.

But here’s the great realisation – you already possess the RAW POTENTIAL for ALL of these superpowers within you. There are no genetic mutations, spandex costumes, or fusion reactor accidents required.

Commit to strengthening and sharpening the five powers day-by-day, and before you know it, you’ll be soaring as a highly influential leader that the team deeply trusts, respects, and is inspired by. You may not develop Thor’s ability to summon thunder and lightning, but you’ll have a very real and powerful impact on the people around you – perhaps an even better superpower.

Embrace the process and start unleashing your inner super manager today! Your team will be forever grateful that you did.