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Published on January 29, 2020

13 Management Skills Every Great Manager Has

13 Management Skills Every Great Manager Has

Have you reached a point in your career where you’re ready to take on more responsibility and become a leader? Or perhaps you’d simply like to earn more?

Becoming a manager is an excellent way to do this. They are, after all, crucial to the success of any company, but it’s not necessarily an easy position to fill.

Great managers build happy and productive teams that consistently achieve their organizational goals. And to become a high-performing manager, you need a diverse set of management skills. These are vital to building an all-star team that trusts you to lead effectively, manage, communicate clearly, and motivate them to achieve their goals.

But what are these key managerial skills, and do you need all of them to be successful at your job?

While I don’t consider myself a manager, I’ve worked with many great managers in my entrepreneurial career. Looking back on my experiences with these professionals, I’ve put together a list of thirteen management skills that every great manager needs to succeed.

Let’s dive in.

1. Communication

It may seem like a no-brainer, but the ability to communicate is an essential managerial skill. You are the bridge between your team, upper management, suppliers, clients, even the public, and you need to be confident when interacting with each group.

A great manager can clearly and concisely communicate organization goals, client briefs, project deliverables, and much more both verbally and in writing.

Not only do you have the gift of gab, but you are also an excellent listener. Cliff Ettridge, Director of The Team, says,

”As a manager, you understand the importance of creating conditions where people feel safe.”

Whether that is to share ideas, raise concerns, address conflict, or discuss alternative ways of doing things, how you communicate with your team massively influences their willingness to be open and honest with you.

If you want to improve your communication skills, check out this article: How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

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2. Decision-Making

Each day, you will be required to make decisions. Remember, you’ve been given this position because your boss trusts you to keep the organization’s goals and mission top of mind.

The decisions you make will include prioritizing your workload, hiring new staff, assigning tasks, addressing customer or employee complaints… While some will be easy, there will be others that you’ll agonize over, and you won’t always make the right decision.

Robbie Thompson, PR and Content Manager at Finnmark Sauna, says,

“A manager should have the ability to tackle frequent problems that arise and be accountable for their actions.”

You will make mistakes. They happen, no matter how carefully you approach a problem or project. Having the conviction to stand by your decisions, even when they fail, is the sign of a great manager.

3. Delegation

A great manager recognizes that business is a team sport. And if they want their team to achieve or exceed their goals, they need to delegate.

Delegation shows that you trust your people to handle a job. Matt Deighton, Managing Director of Timeless Chesterfields, has found that:

“It (Delegation) encourages and empowers your team to develop solutions to challenges.”

You are not superhuman and you cannot do it all. Delegating tasks allows you to focus on other work, which might be more pressing. It also aids in the development of your team, which is beneficial to the company as a whole.

This guide can help you delegate more effectively: How to Delegate Tasks Effectively (Step-By-Step Guide)

4. Adaptability

The best managers recognize that they don’t know it all and are willing to listen and adapt to new and better ways of doing things.

This is a crucial leadership skill. With the digital world constantly changing, managers need to be open to trying new technologies. What worked in 2018 doesn’t necessarily work now. And if you don’t change with the times, your team and your company will suffer.

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5. Motivational

Your energy and attitude towards your work, as well as your passion, influences and motivates the people you manage. If you come to work upbeat and ready to tackle the day, your team is more likely to follow your example.

When they’re having trouble with a job or at home, it’s up to you to refocus their attention. A great manager will know how to do that and get the best out of their people. They understand the importance of encouraging and incentivizing their people, as well as acknowledging their achievements.

They are an asset to any business.

6. Organization

Without a doubt, being organized is an essential managerial skill. You have to be, especially when you have a group of people reporting to you.

Not only are managers in charge of people, but they’re also in charge of budgets, project timelines, client expectations, and much more.

An organized manager will know what is achievable in a particular timeframe and what isn’t. They know what to prioritize on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. They know who can be trusted to take a project and run with it and who needs more guidance.

They also have to be on top of their workload. Remember, you’re juggling many balls, and you’ll drop one if you’re disorganized.

7. Problem-Solving

As a business owner, I hire great managers because I don’t have the time or the inclination to deal with every little problem that crops up.

It’s your responsibility to anticipate potential issues and resolve them before they become a problem. Great managers know when a matter can be handled internally and when to involve the boss.

You’re able to work closely with your team to assess and develop a solution that adequately addresses the problem without causing unnecessary stress.

Here’re 6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills.

8. Relationship-Building

Another vital managerial skill is the ability to build good relationships with people. Whether we’re talking about your team or your clients, great relationships are essential to the success of a company.

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Bridie Gallagher, Director of Glass Digital, reminds us that:

“People work best in a happy and supportive environment, so a good manager should be friendly, personable, and able to stay calm when things get tough.”

Mike Hardman, Marketing Manager at Alliance Online, adds that:

“(A great Manager) appreciates that each person is different and aims to build a rapport with each team member. This makes them feel like their manager sees them as an individual, opposed to simply a name on a rota.”

A great manager will make decisions that are in the best interest of their team. They create an environment where people are not afraid to ask questions. They know that you’re always available to listen and give careful consideration to your responses, which builds trust and makes working with you a pleasure.

9. Leadership

All good managers should be great leaders. It’s up to you to bring together and inspire a group of diverse people to work towards achieving a shared vision, and only an effective leader can do that.

Your role could include leading meetings, setting goals, supporting staff, assigning tasks, whatever. As long as you lead by example, you’ll set the tone for a happy and productive work environment.

This article on leadership and management is worth reading: Leadership vs Management: Is One Better Than the Other?

10. Time Management

Often, we think of time management as maximizing the day so that you or your team is always busy. But time costs money. On paper, a job might seem like a quick turnaround when, in reality, it’s far more complex.

A great manager will take into consideration how much time is needed to give thought to brainstorming, problem-solving, execution, and delivery before agreeing to a timeline. This allows them to recognize when unreasonable expectations are being set by owners or clients and address this upfront.

If you’re looking for ways to improve your time management skills, these tips can help: 12 Effective Time Management Skills for Managers

11. Mentoring

In my opinion, mentoring is probably one of the greatest skills that a manager can have. Every team member can be better and do better. A great manager recognizes untapped potential and helps their people to unlock it.

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They know how to build their people’s confidence—when to challenge, when to upskill, and when to step back and allow people to take charge.

Be open and willing to share your experiences and knowledge. And remember that their achievements are a reflection of the time and energy you have invested in them.

12. Planning

Building an efficient team requires an expert planner, someone who is a strategic thinker. You can plan for every stage of a project and anticipate potential obstacles or delays that may result well in advance. You’ll also know if the help of an independent consultant would be needed or if there will be time to upskill staff.

Not only can a great manager identify the best way to do things, but also which team members would be most suited to a particular task. This all helps to achieve company objectives on budget and on time without negatively impacting the team.

13. Empathy

The ability to empathize with your colleagues is a skill that, for some, doesn’t come naturally. But it is vital, and more importantly, teachable.

Digital expert and consultant, Rob Weatherhead argues that:

“It is difficult to manage people if you can’t understand their position. This doesn’t always mean agreeing with it, but if you can understand it, you can manage it accordingly.”

Remember, people are emotional beings. They will form stronger bonds with managers that demonstrate compassion.

The Bottom Line

A great manager won’t necessarily have all the above mentioned managerial skills, but they will have a combination. This allows them to nurture and build on the talents of their team members to achieve their goals.

If you are a manager or aspire to be a manager, use this list to identify where your key strengths lie and where improvement is needed, then take action.

More Tips on Team Management

Featured photo credit: CoWomen via unsplash.com

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Allan Dib

Rebellious Marketer, Serial Entrepreneur, Business Coach, and #1 Bestselling Author

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Last Updated on January 6, 2021

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

3. Create a System

Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

5. Use a Ratings Scale

Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

7. Offer Feedback Forms

Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

8. Track Cost Effectiveness

This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

9. Use Self-Evaluations

Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

10. Monitor Time Management

This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

    The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

    While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

    11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

    We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

    Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

    For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

    Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

    Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

    From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

    12. Utilize Peer Feedback

    This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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    Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

    Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

    It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

    13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

    When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

    Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

    Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

    14. Use an External Evaluator

    Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

    They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

    While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

    Final Thoughts

    These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

    The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

    The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

    Reference

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