Once you’ve earned your stripes and moved into a management role, the hard part is behind you, right? Wrong! Being a great manager requires self-awareness and consistent effort. You might know your industry well but managing and supervising people involves more than sharing your knowledge and giving direction. Here are five skills awesome managers have—and tips to acquire them yourself:
1. People skills – The ability to work well with all kinds of personalities will get you far in your career as a manager and leader. What does it take? Empathy tops the list—the ability to put yourself in others’ shoes and make them feel heard and understood. It also helps to be level-headed, friendly, persuasive (when you need to get others’ buy-in or convey your opinion on an issue) and genuine. Don’t forget about the importance of communication…
2. Excellent communication skills – Communication skills are essential when you are a manager, enabling you to lead effectively, get people on board with your ideas and motivate others. Start with your listening skills. Do you give those to whom you’re speaking your full attention? Do you confirm your understanding when they tell you something? Do you act interested and engaged? It’s also essential to work on your verbal communication skills: thinking before you speak and sharing your ideas clearly and concisely. Lastly, continue honing your writing skills. Be direct. Say more with less. Be succinct and clear.
3. Motivation skills – Each team is different, and thus, you may need to experiment a little to learn what motivates yours. However, open communication is a good place to start. A team kept “in the loop” feels inspired and valued. Invite input and trust your team members to implement plans of action that you decide on as a group. Thank people for their hard work often and reward them with both recognition and opportunities for advancement. And remember that keeping employees motivated requires continuous effort.
4. Conflict resolution skills – Conflicts happen in the workplace, and as a manager, it’s part of your job to help your employees settle them. That means being diplomatic and using a respectful approach to getting people to work through their disagreements. Acknowledge that the problem exists and encourage the parties involved to communicate, compromise and reach a resolution. Don’t take sides but encourage your employees to recognize that each person has his or her own stance and perspective.
5. Organizational skills – At its core, being a manager demands you to be highly organized so you can maximize your—and your team’s—productivity. Put together a reliable time management system in which you prioritize your daily tasks and embrace some sort of tool to help you keep track of your responsibilities. Keep a tidy office with everything in its place. Organize your day by maintaining a schedule and master to-do list. And spend a few minutes at the end of each day getting prepared for the next one.
There’s a lot more to your job than task completion. The more you develop your management aptitudes, the better environment you’ll create for your employees—and the greater impact you’ll have on your organization. Work at cultivating these skills each and every day. In doing so, you’ll be a more effective and successful manager.