Managers have a tough job. They have a lot on their plate when it comes to both their own tasks and managing and helping employees, and their job takes a lot of skill. So how does one become a truly effective manager?
Effectiveness as a manager cannot be achieved through hard skills alone, like learning Excel. Becoming an effective manager requires a lot of soft skills - learning to manage and motivate people as well as yourself, learning to resolve problems with customers and employees in a mutually beneficial way, and more.
Here we will cover the 11 most important soft skills any manager needs to develop. We’ve included a handy infographic with this post that you can save to your computer and review every so often, or share with a friend or colleague who might find it useful.
Let’s dive in!
1: Effective communication
Communication is critical to every aspect of a manager’s job. Being able to listen carefully to employee’s and customer’s thoughts, opinions and complaints is important in order to continue improving your business’s service. It is equally important to learn how you can convey your own thoughts in a clear, non-inflammatory and logical way so that your peers can understand your direction and advice.
2: Time management
Time management is another skill that often goes unnoticed. As a manager, you are responsible for keeping the wheels and gears of the business turning. If you cannot manage your own time or your employees time efficiently, productivity (and profits) will drop like a rock. Thankfully there are many tools you can use to manage you and your employee’s time more effectively. Tools like Google Calendar or Your Next Seven make it easy to keep everyone informed of what needs to happen and when.
3: Control of body language
If you are in a bad mood and cannot control your body language, your employees and customers will know it. It will make you unapproachable, cutting off communication with the people around you and preventing you from really understanding current problems. This adds up to you being uninformed and incapable of performing well, thanks to not having all of the necessary information.
4: Effective delegation
You cannot do all of the work yourself. At some point, you have to trust your employees to do their jobs and let them take care of things for you. Learning to delegate effectively can be difficult, especially if you are very particular about how things are done. But learning to delegate often and well will save you a lot of time, stress and money.
5: *Constructive* criticism
Criticism is essential to the success of any business. It is the only way employees will ever really know to improve their performance. The important thing here is to make criticism constructive and beneficial to the employee. Simply berating someone because they did not do their job correctly does not solve the problem and de-motivates them to do better next time. Instead, learn to calmly explain why their performance is an issue, and offer suggestions on how they could improve.
6: A results-oriented attitude
Those in a position of authority often find it difficult to yield to other’s opinions and methods. Remember though that your end goal is to grow the business - not to prove that you were right. Cultivating a results-oriented attitude will allow you to focus on outcomes rather than methods. This prevents you from insisting on doing things your way, when an employee may indeed have a better idea.
7: Willingness to learn
Assuming that you are right 100% of the time is the surest way to prove that you are not, in fact, always right. Recognize that other people may have knowledge that you do not possess, and be eager to learn from those with more experience. A willingness to learn allows you to adapt and refine your management skills and continually become a better leader for your team.
8: Willingness and desire to teach
This goes hand-in-hand with constructive criticism. Being unwilling to teach your employees in a kind way stunts their growth and prevents your team from really achieving success. Being eager and willing to share your knowledge with your employees makes you more approachable, and contributes to the continued success of your employees.
9: Unbiased critical thinking
Being able to step back and view a problem objectively is important in management. If you constantly allow your decisions and logic to be colored by your own emotions, you will never really be sure that you are making choices that will provide the most benefit to the company. You may actually be making choices that just showcase your own personality and skills, or choices that merely cover up a mistake.
10: Proper social etiquette
Proper etiquette and common courtesy go a long way toward a healthy and happy relationship with your customers and employees. Small, polite gestures can make a world of difference in your customer service and management. Being polite and kind to the individuals you come into contact with will make people enjoy being around you more and will make you a more approachable manager.
11: Objective and constructive self-criticism
In order to improve your management skills, you will need to be able to really look at yourself and understand where you need improvement. At that point, you need to look at those issues objectively and say ‘Okay, now what can I do to fix this weakness?’ Learning to critique your own skills and personality in a constructive and objective manner will contribute to your continued success as a manager.
Call to action!
Which of these skills do you appreciate most in a boss or manager? Which one do you think you most need to improve on? Let us know in the comments section below!