Being an effective manager requires you to be flexible and have a wide skillset to draw from, but what are some of the more important skills you need to hone to be the best manager you can? Everyone has their own opinions on what skills are needed for a manager, depending on their experiences in the workforce.
There is a difference between being a manager and a leader. While many of the skills you need to be an effective manager are the same as those needed to be an effective leader, the two roles are different.
Being a manager is largely about organization. Managers focus on how to accomplish something; they take the overall goal of a project and divide it up into tasks, which are then doled out to the right people to make the task happen. They work with their team and coordinate, focusing largely on how to do something. Managers keep companies running, they keep everything moving.
A leader focuses more on keeping their team motivated and inspired. They work more with the people themselves, seeing what they need to help them accomplish a task. Some wonderful leaders can also be managers, and vice versa, but not all leaders have the skills to be a manager. Both roles are vital to any organization though, you need someone who focuses on the people and the tasks themselves.
In either role, you need to earn the respect of your team in order to effectively manage or lead them. One good way to start working on that is by setting aside time to get to know your team, both personally and professionally. There are various ways you can do this, but it is important that your team see you as a part of it, not just as the manager that oversees them.
Encouraging your team will help you build trust and respect within your team. Taking time to recognize their achievements is also something that can make a big difference in your management and leadership position. Taking interest in your team’s lives can help you boost morale and make your team feel valued by the company.
Depending on your company and your role within it, you may not be involved in helping plan company policies and strategies. Regardless of how involved you are in that kind of planning, you will still most likely be given some sort of goals for your team or department, and you will need to be able to come up with a reasonable strategy to meet those goals.
You will need to be able to understand what resources you have available for your goals and understanding what your timeline is for completion. Another key thing for planning is knowing what your team’s strengths and weaknesses are and knowing who you should assign what task in order to make it the best possible.
While you may want to just get a task done yourself to get it out of the way, or because it is easier than explaining it to someone else, this is not always a good idea. Being a good manager means knowing when to delegate tasks to your team. It may seem quicker to just do something instead of explaining it, but you need to be willing to share responsibility with your team. Overloading yourself because you do not want to take time to explain things can lead to you being ineffective in another important task.
Delegating is not a sign of weakness, it can be vital to getting your work finished on time and it can help build your team’s skills.
Organizing can take many forms, from keeping your files organized to make sure you are not late. Of course, keeping your workspace organized is important so you can find everything in a timely manner, but there is much more to organizing than that. Organizing is also about building a strategy or planning around how to improve your company; it is about measuring milestones and moving toward deadlines; developing a new system for a chain of command within your business; and even communication.
You need to know what is happening in your company, when something is happening, and who is available and able to take care of what needs to happen. This all requires you to communicate. Things can go wrong if someone miscommunicates; if someone does not feel comfortable communicating that they need help; or if there is a problem being overlooked because of miscommunication.
You need to be able to communicate effectively both verbally and written, and you need to be a good listener too. Only being good with communication in one or two of these things is not enough; you must master all three of them. The manager is the person who communicates with the staff and the higher up management, so developing your communication skills in a way that allows you to talk to anyone is vital. You also need to work on your skills with presentations and public speaking, for when the occasion arises.
Taking time to talk to your team to make sure everything is going smoothly is vital to being a good manager. Communication is a two-way street though. You need to work with your team in a way that makes them comfortable to approach you too. If they feel uncomfortable asking you for help or informing you of an issue, problems can arise. An open-door policy is a good way of opening communication with your team; if you are not able to do that, set up a regular team meeting to check in with everyone, and leave times open in your schedule where your team can set up one-on-one meetings. This makes you more approachable and will help make your team feel like you want to take the time to talk to them and listen to any concerns they bring up.
These are just a few of the skills that help make you a better manager or leader. While there are many other aspects to being a manager, the skills listed here are among the most important, because without mastering them, your role as a manager may be less effective.
Last modified: February 27, 2019