The role of a manager might seem like an easy deal at first glance. The manager seems to do less of the hands-on work and yet, gets paid more for it. What many don’t understand, however, is that managers bear the burden of responsibility and the need to make significant decisions that affect the company direction. It’s not as simple as it looks.
Whether you are already a manager for a company or trained or graduated and looking to find a career in a managerial position, you will need these skills to run your business smoothly.
Interpersonal and Communication Skills
In a lot of ways, managerial roles are all about the people, motivating them and understanding how they best fit into your company. That requires empathy and understanding rather than a cold and statistical approach. You must get out there on your shop or office floor and meet your employees. In short, get to know them on a professional level and (contrary to traditional wisdom) on a personal level, too.
The better you know your employees, the more you will understand what makes them tick, but also, the more they will come to respect you as their manager. Team building exercises and social activities/corporate events outside of work can accommodate this need to connect with your team.
Interpersonal skills are highly related to communication, and so effective communication is of utmost importance. You must be able to give verbal and written directions, but listening is as critical so that information flows from top to bottom in your company easily. If you take away the voice of your employees by not listening, you miss out on their valuable input, and they will quickly feel worthless and unmotivated.
As a manager, it is your job to provide encouragement, recognize effort and achievement, and motivate your employees to do their best work. You should also become a mentor for individuals and a mediator that can resolve a conflict. It’s a lot to ask, but if you master interpersonal skills on this level, you will maximize productivity while creating a positive climate for your workforce.
Managers must also be able to meet with senior managers and CEOs in both informal and formal settings.
Managers often face huge workloads by themselves and must also oversee the work of their employees, attend meetings, review data and company policy and so on. As a result, every manager needs to be organized to stay on track with all these daily and long-term tasks. They must be able to organize people, teams and projects.
Whether you’re naturally organized or need to use systems to stay afloat, juggling and prioritizing tasks is part and parcel of the managerial role.
Of course, this is too much for one person to handle, which is why managers often delegate the workload. Delegation is not only about offloading tasks. It needs to be done tactfully, with each task or component left to the responsibility of the most capable individuals or teams based on what you know about your employees.
With top organization and delegation skills, you will be able to handle any fluctuations in workflow and attain the optimal results.
Managers must take responsibility for key decisions to do with the businesses’ aims and growth, sometimes daily. That requires the ability to make snap decisions when needed and to make calculations when possible to arrive at the best solutions.
There are three parts to a choice (well, there are probably more, but for the sake of this point): understanding the factors at play, generating the outcomes and then weighing up the options to come to your decision. You need both creativity to come up with solutions that are outside of the box and logic to arrive at the answer.
At times, managers also need to outline long-term strategies, review company policy or decide on whether to work with partners and clients. These decisions all involve an understanding of risk.
Managing a business is a bit like playing poker, as many of the same skills used are applicable to business, and involves a similar amount of risk. We must calculate the risk, call the bluffs and know when we must fold. Risks are there to take when the hand is in your favor and passed when they seem to stink.
The Missing Key
Discussions about managerial positions often focus on “soft” traits and aspects of personality, as this article has done up until now. And though all managers need to work on these skills to make their business thrive, there’s also one missing key: managers exist to make the company more money.
Therefore, all managers must have a thorough understanding and awareness of all commercial factors that influence the business, including awareness of the industry and sector, the brand, the company direction and financial aims, competitors within the marketplace, and any economic issues that affect the business. You can be as pally as you want with your employees, but you also must make money to satisfy the directors and fulfill the function of your position.