Last week I talked about the ‘soft skills gap’ your employees may be facing, but now it’s time to take a look in the mirror and ask yourself, do you have the right skills for today’s demanding role in management? Here are five skills that are essential in today’s business world as a manager – which ones do you have?
Communication is essential as a manager. You need to be able to communicate effectively with your employees and communicate sideways with both your peers and customers. Most importantly you have to communicate upwards with your own manager. If you struggle to communicate effectively it may be time to strive to develop this skill – really, it’s vital!
Listening is an essential part of communication, so links in perfectly with our first tip. Some managers get into the habit of telling people things rather than listening. No matter how high you climb up the management ladder you need to be able to listen. It’s the only way you’re really going to find out what’s going on in your organisation and within your team, and it’s a great way to learn to be an even better manager.
Empathy is the softer side of listening - you should understand how people feel, why they feel that way, and what you can do to make them feel differently. It is essential when you’re dealing with your team, peers and customers alike. Your customers (both internal and external) are the most important part of your organisation, so showing understanding of their struggles will prove extremely beneficial.
Leadership and persuasion
Leadership is a specialised form of persuasion focused on encouraging people to follow your lead. It is widely assumed that the leader will march into battle at the head of the army, so be prepared to make the same sacrifices you’re asking your employees to make. A good manager will always go that extra mile for both their customers and their people, and never ask a person to do something that they are not prepared to do themselves.
The key to successful management is focus. You can’t lead in lots of different directions at once, so setting an effective leadership direction depends on your decision not to lead in the other directions. Focusing effort means prioritising the most important thing to do and then concentrating your team’s effort on doing it.
You could become a manager without having all of these skills, but you’ll need all of them to be successful and continue your journey up the ladder.
For each of these skills, there are various levels of performance. No-one expects a new manager to be superior at every one of these skills, but you need be aware of all of them, and you should do everything you can to learn more about each skill.
Our Foundation Leadership Programme is a good example of these skills, learn as much as you can about each skill, take nothing for granted, and focus on doing the very best that you can do.
Contact us now to discuss how we can help you or your people develop management skills in order to build effective teams.
Jane Hulme, Team Leader, Bray Leino Learning
In my series of blogs I’ll talk through my thoughts on team leading and management.
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