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13 Management Skills Every Great Manager Has

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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 September 9, 2021

10 Best Productivity Planners To Get More Done in 2021

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10 Best Productivity Planners To Get More Done in 2021

Productivity planners and journals are tools of a trade. There’s an art to productivity. Just like art is very personal to the artist, productivity is very personal to the person. What works for you may not work for me. This is an important distinction if you really want get more done in less time.

Too many of us dabble in productivity hacks only to move on to the next tool or trend when it didn’t workout for us, missing the lesson of what worked and didn’t work about that tool or trend.

We put the tool on a pedestal and miss the art. It’s worshipping the paint brush rather than the process and act of painting. We miss the art of our own productivity when the tool overshadows the treasure.

As an artist, you have many brushes to choose from. You’re looking for a brush that feels best in your hand. You want a brush that doesn’t distract you from your art but partners with you to create the many things you see in your mind to create. Finding a brush like this may take some experimenting, but when you understand that the role of the brush is to bring life to your vision, it’s easier to find the right brush.

Planners are the same way. You want a productivity journal that supports you in the creation of your vision, not one that bogs you down or steals your energy.

Let’s dive into the 10 best productivity planners and journals to help you get more done in less time.

1. The One Thing Planner

The NY Times best selling book, The One Thing, just released their new planner. If you loved this book, you’ll love this planner.

As the founder of the world’s largest real estate company Keller Williams Realty, Gary Keller, has mastered the art of focus. The One Thing planner has its roots in industry changing productivity. If you’re out to put a dent in the universe, this may be the planner for you.

Get the planner here!

2. The Full Life Planner

The Full Life Planner is Lifehacks’ ultimate planning system to get results across all your core life aspects including work, health and relationships. This smart planner is 15 years of Lifehack’s best practices and proven success formulas by top performers.

With the Full Life Planner, you can align your actions to long term milestones every day, week, and month consistently. This will help you to get more done and achieve your goals.

Get the planner here!

3. The Freedom Journal

Creator of one of the most prolific podcasts ever, Entrepreneur on Fire, John Lee Dumas released his productivity journal in 2016. This hard-cover journal focuses on accomplishing SMART goals in 100 days.

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From their site:

“The Freedom Journal is an accountability partner that won’t let you fail. John Lee Dumas has interviewed over 2000 successful Entrepreneurs and has created a unique step-by-step process that will guide you in SETTING and ACCOMPLISHING your #1 goal in 100 days.”

Get the planner here!

4. Full Focus Planner

Michael Hyatt, author of Platform and host of the podcast “This is Your Life”, also has his own planner called the Full Focus Planner.

From the site:

“Built for a 90-day achievement cycle, the Full Focus Planner® gives you a quarter of a year’s content so you aren’t overwhelmed by planning (and tracking) 12 months at a time.”

This productivity planner includes a place for annual goals, a monthly calendar, quarterly planning, the ideal week, daily pages, a place for rituals, weekly preview and quarterly previews. It also comes with a Quickstart lessons to help you master the use of the planner.

Get the planner here!

5. Passion Planner

They call themselves the #pashfam and think of their planner as a “paper life coach”. Their formats include dated, academic and undated in hardbound journals with assorted colors. With over 600,000 users they have a track record for effective planners.

From the site:

“An appointment calendar, goal setting guide, journal, sketchbook, gratitude log & personal and work to-do lists all in one notebook.”

They have a get-one give-one program. For every Passion Planner that is bought they will donate one to a student or someone in need.

They also provide free PDF downloads of their planners. This is a great way to test drive if their planner is right for you.

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Get the planner here!

6. Desire Map Planners

If you’re looking for a more spiritually oriented planner, Danielle LaPorte, author of The Desire Map, created the Desire Map Planners. With Daily planners, Weekly planners and Undated planners you can find the right fit for you.

Behind this planner is the Desire Map Planner Program including 3 workbooks that not only support you in using the planners but guide you in your thought process about your life and intentions you’re using the planner to help you fulfill.

Get the planner here!

7. Franklin Covey Planners

The grandfather of all planners, Franklin Covey, has the most options when it comes to layouts, binders, and accessories. With over 30 years in the productivity planner business, they not only provide a ton of planner layouts, they also have been teaching productivity and planning from the beginning.

From the site:

“Achieve what matters most with innovative, high quality planners and binders tailored to your personal style. Our paper planning system guides you to identify values, create successful habits, and track and achieve your goals.”

Get the planner here!

8. Productivity Planner

From the makers of the best selling journal backed by Tim Ferriss, “The Five Minute Journal”, comes the Productivity Planner.

Combining the Ivy Lee method which made Charles Schwab millions with the Pomodoro Technique to stay focused in the moment, the Productivity Planner is both intelligent and effective.

It allows for six months of planning, 5-day daily pages, weekly planning and weekly review, a prioritized task list, Pomodoro time tracking, and extra space for notes.

From the site:

“Do you often find yourself busy, while more important tasks get procrastinated on? The Productivity Planner helps you prioritize and accomplish the vital few tasks that make your day satisfying. Quality over quantity. Combined with the Pomodoro Technique to help you avoid distractions, the Productivity Planner assists you to get better work done in less time.”

Get the planner here!

9. Self Journal

Endorsed by Daymond John of Shark Tank, the Self Journal takes a 13 week approach and combines Monthly, Weekly and Daily planning to help you stay focused on the things that really matter.

Self Journal includes additional tools to help you produce with their Weekly Action Pad, Project Action Pad, the Sidekick pocket journal to capture your ideas on the go and their SmartMarks bookmarks that act as a notepad while you’re reading.

Get the planner here!

10. Google Calendar

You may already use Google Calendar for appointments, but with a couple tweaks you can use it as a productivity planner.

Productivity assumes we have time to do the work we intend to do. So blocking time on your Google Calendar and designating it as “busy” will prevent others from filling up those spaces on your calendar. Actually using those blocks of time as you intended is up to you.

If you use a booking tool like Schedule Once or Calendly, you can integrate it with your Google Calendar. For maximum productivity and rhythm, I recommend creating a consistent “available” block of time each day for these kinds of appointments.

Google Calendar is free, web based and to the point. If you’re a bottom line person and easily hold your priorities in your head, this may be a good solution for you.

Get the planner here!

Bonus Advice: Integrate the 4 Building Blocks of Productivity

Just as important to productivity planners as the tool are the principles that we create inside of. There are 4 building blocks of productivity, that when embraced, accelerate your energy and results.

The four building blocks of productivity are desire, strategy, focus and rhythm. When you get these right, having a productivity planner or journal provides the structure to keep you on track.

Block #1: Desire

Somehow in the pursuit of all our goals, we accumulate ideas and To-Do’s we’re not actually passionate about and don’t really want to pursue. They sneak their way in and steal our focus from the things that really matter.

Underneath powerful productivity is desire. Not many little desires, but the overarching mother of desires. The desire you feel in your gut, the desire that comes from your soul, not your logic, is what you need to tap into if you want to level up your productivity.

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A productivity planner is just a distraction if you’re not clear on what it’s all for. With desire, however, your productivity planner provides the guide rails to accomplish your intentions.

Block #2: Strategy

Once you’re clear on your overarching desire, you need to organize your steps to get there. Let’s call this “strategy”. Strategy is like assembling a jigsaw puzzle. You must first turn over all the pieces to see patterns, colors, connections and find borders.

In business and life, we often start trying to put our “puzzle” together without turning over all the pieces. We put many items on our To-Do lists and clog our planners with things that aren’t important to the bigger picture of our puzzle.

Strategy is about taking the time to brain dump all the things in your head related to your goal and then looking for patterns and priorities. As you turn over these puzzle pieces, you’ll begin to see the more important tasks that take care of the less important tasks or make the less important tasks irrelevant.

In the best selling book, The One Thing, the focusing question they teach is:

“What’s the One thing I can do, such that by doing it, everything else is easier or unnecessary?”

This is the heart of strategy and organizing what hits your planner and what doesn’t.

Block #3: Focus

With your priorities identified, now you can focus on the One Thing that makes everything else easier or unnecessary. This is where your productivity planners and journals help you hold the line.

Because you’ve already turned over the puzzle pieces, you aren’t distracted by new shiny objects. If new ideas come along, and they will, you will better see how and where they fit in the big picture of your desire and strategy, allowing you to go back and focus on your One Thing.

Block #4: Rhythm

The final building block of productivity is rhythm. There is a rhythm in life and work that works best for you. When you find this rhythm, time stands still, productivity is easy and your experience of work is joyful.

Some call this flow. As you hone your self-awareness about your ideal rhythm you will find yourself riding flow more often and owning your productivity.

Without these four building blocks of productivity, you’re like a painter with a paintbrush and no idea how to use it to create what’s in your heart to create. But harness these four building blocks and find yourself getting more done in less time.

The Bottom Line

Your life is your art. Everyday you have a chance to create something amazing. By understanding and using the four building blocks of productivity, you will set yourself up for success no matter which planner, or “paintbrush”, you choose to use.

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As you experiment with different planners you will narrow which one is best for you and accelerate your path to putting a dent in the universe.

More Tools to Boost Your Productivity

Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

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