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Tuck School Of Business

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Prompt: Describe the characteristics of an exceptional manager by examining someone whom you have observed or with whom you have worked. Illustrate how his or her management style has influenced you.

In management consulting, strong analytical skills are valued as much as, if not more than, effective managerial and leadership skills. Unfortunately, for some consultants, these characteristics, at times, are mutually exclusive. I was fortunate, however, to work with [name] on my first major project at [consulting firm]. As my project manager, he demonstrated a superior combination of leadership, managerial, and communication skills. As a result of our interaction, I learned several important lessons and tools that I used on subsequent projects to improve my effectiveness as a team leader.

To begin, [name] is a true leader who exhibits courage and dedication. A powerful trait rarely found in the realm of business, courage is unique in its ability to unify and motivate people. Moreover, his courage is balanced appropriately with professionalism, strong values, and humility. He is sensitive to others' feelings and recognizes that different people require different types of direction and treatment. Although he often works with diverse and difficult groups, he always seems able to reach consensus and create a shared vision and purpose. Furthermore, he excels at establishing priorities and proactively setting direction.

As an effective manager, [name] also is able to translate his broad direction into discrete, tangible tasks. Since consultants often use difficult or creative analytical approaches, clearly articulating tasks and defining outputs is very important. In addition, he exercises the appropriate level of supervision. Rather than micro-managing his team members, [name] establishes clear accountabilities and expectations and pushes work down to the correct level. As a result, he creates a strong sense of ownership and leverages the skills of his team members. Furthermore, he excels at creating a supportive environment and, when necessary, coaching team members to help them develop new skills.

Finally, [name] is a masterful communicator. He is the only project manager I have had who gave me consistent and constructive feedback, importantly, both positive and negative. Such feedback not only provides clear developmental objectives, but also signals to others that he values their contributions. This type of balanced and open communication quickly forms the foundation of mutual trust and respect. Furthermore, [name] excels in the art of negotiation and debate. He states his points with remarkable precision and is expert at remaining objective and recognizing all sides of an argument. And, regardless

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