There are many vital skills that make a great manager and leader, some are technical and some are more general. You may already be in a managerial position, and be wanting to develop yourself to lead your team to the best of your, and their, abilities. Or, you might possibly be looking to take the next steps in your career, and apply for that manager position that’s just become available. Wherever you are on the career ladder, it is important to understand and identify the skills that make a good manager, so that you can start to learn and develop them within yourself.
A manager is a leader, regardless of the size of their team. It is vital that you are a strong and capable leader, with emotional intelligence and self-awareness. This is an important skill to have in any managerial role, whether you work in hospitality, engineering or retail. To find out more about engineering courses, click here. A good leader is someone to collaborates with their team to complete tasks, working to people’s strengths and abilities, rather than just assigning work and sitting back and observing.
Leadership skills are transferable, which means they can apply to any area from careers to social environments. If you are considering applying for a managerial position, it may be a good idea to volunteer to do small leadership tasks, to practice your skills and show your employers your potential as a manager. This can also help build your confidence, and collaborate with existing managers to see what the role may entail.
Managing a team can be a completely new experience, and many people find it a shock to be in charge of people they may have once worked with, or do not know at all. Taking the time to get to know your team is a great way to make a good first impression. This shows that you genuinely care about the people you are working with, and can also help you decide to whom to delegate certain tasks based on their strengths.
Basic people skills such as friendliness and approachability will make your team feel like they can talk to you as an equal and a colleague, rather than always a person in a position of power. You will need to find the balance between colleague and manager, as being too lenient or too strict will have negative consequences. Another important interpersonal skill is conflict resolution, as employees may come to you with problems or disputes that need to be settled. There are plenty of resources and courses available to make you familiar with the methods and processes involved in mediation, so if you are a manager, or considering becoming one, these would be a good investment.
Wherever you work, it is vital to have solid technical knowledge of your products or services. Not only will this benefit your clients and customers, but it will support your team and colleagues, and make you look professional and capable. If you know a lot about your subject, you can make informed decisions and join in with discussions, collaborating with your team. You can also teach and guide others, showing them that asking questions and sharing knowledge is important. Many people feel intimidated by managers, and asking for guidance or help can leave them fearing that they will be viewed as incapable. By creating an environment in which knowledge is shared and questions are welcome, your team will feel comfortable around you, and confident in their own, and your, abilities.
Planning and Time Management
Scheduling, delegating and managing time are three essential skills in a manager. Working to deadlines is important to keep client relationships and maintain professionalism. Being able to manage your own time, and your teams’, will allow tasks to be completed in an effective and accurate manner. Delegation is important for a number of reasons, as it shows you have faith in the abilities of your team members, and will not overload you with tasks. Asking your team what their strengths are, and assigning tasks based on this, will allow them to show their skills and work in an area they thrive in.
Handing a task to someone who is inexperienced or lacking knowledge in that area will have negative consequences for everyone involved. The employee will be stressed, and feel as though they cannot complete the task, the work will not be done to a good and timely standard, and this will have knock-on effects for the rest of the team and company. Keeping in regular contact with your team, whether this is through meetings, calls or emails, will make sure that everyone is on the same page and aware of the schedules. It is dangerous to assume that everyone knows what is going on all the time, regardless of how capable you know your team to be. Without patronizing individuals and coddling them, making regular contact will remind them that you are available if any issues should arise.
This is one of the most important managerial skills. Being able to talk to and with a huge range of people will help you to grow and develop your team and company, build relationships, manage issues and explore new ideas. Public speaking is something that many people find daunting, so working on your vocal and breath control is a good way to feel less nervous about talking in front of a group.
Listening is just as important in communication as talking, so being able to actively listen to your team is essential, and will allow for great communication. Not talking over others or cutting people off are basic life skills that you learn at an early age, but that still need to be implemented in your adult life. Don’t forget that you are part of a team, and are looked up to, so you need to set a good example to the rest of your colleagues by being respectful, and encouraging respect in everyone else.
Remember that your body can also be used to communicate. You may be less aware of non-verbal communication, but your body language and movements can reflect how you are feeling inside. A common example of non-verbal communication is folding your arms when you are speaking or listening. This closes you off to the rest of the people in the room, and can appear confrontational or unpleasant. Keep yourself open and ready to take in what other people are saying. Eye contact is another important form, as it is respectful to look at someone when they are talking to you, to better connect to what is being said.
Collaboration and Teamwork
As mentioned, even though you are a manager, you are still working as part of a team. In order to a team to work well, everyone has to use their skills, whether technical or personal, to complete tasks and keep a productive and pleasant working environment. If you are a manager, there is a high chance you would have worked within a team beforehand, so will understand the basics of what makes a great team player. Communication, listening, flexibility and respect for all contribute to a solid team player.
Even though you may be managing everyone else in the team, you still need to maintain these basic standards, as your team needs to respect you, so you need to respect them in turn. A good manager will be aware of all the individual needs and strengths of their team, and areas that need improvement. By collaborating with everyone, you can build solid relationships and integrate yourself into the team. Employees need to feel like they could come to you with questions or issues, and you would be happy to help and explain. Furthermore, listening to other ideas or viewpoints will unite the team, instead of pushing your own ideas and methods onto others, especially if they may not be correct or beneficial.
There are many more skills that make a good manager, and these are just a few of the basics. Other skills include decision making, mentoring and motivation, and can all be learned through study, practice and noticing how other good leaders and managers act and work. There are also many management courses and resources available, so if you feel you would benefit from academic study or tutoring, this may be a great way to deepen your knowledge and experience, while learning from experts. If you enjoy a more vocational approach, volunteering for management positions can give you great hands-on experience and will look good on a resume or job application. This could be done within your workplace, or with a charity or organization outside of work. Whatever way you decide to develop and explore your management skills, they are incredibly useful to have, regardless of your industry or position within it. You never know when they will come in useful on their own or in combination with other skills, so it is well worth thinking about investing in these important life and career skills.