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.
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
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
- 9 Effective Team Management Strategies
- Top 10 Management Skills Any Strong Leader Should Master
- 10 Ways to Improve Team Management Skills and Boost Performance
Featured photo credit: CoWomen via unsplash.com