You worked hard to become a manager and now you feel ill-prepared. Or maybe you’ve been in your role for a while, feeling stuck, stagnant.
The imposter syndrome sets in and you don’t know how to succeed in this role.
Management skills are not innate, they are learned over time so the job is never completely done. To be successful as a leader is a flowing dance that requires a willingness to learn.
If you’ve already identified where there is room for improvement, this article offers actionable tips. When you have no idea where to start, learn about the top management skills every human resource manager needs and the ways to hone those that already exist.
Management skills refer to the skills a leader possesses to effectively lead a team and manage their responsibilities. These range from interpersonal skills such as communication to strategic skills such as problem solving and innovation.
There are three facets of management skills that any leader needs to be successful in their role.
The first is interpersonal skills. How are you with the people
Are you able to develop relationships with executives, colleagues and direct reports? Would they consider you trustworthy and reliable?
To be a great manager, you need to improve the skills to have conversations inside and outside your team. On a personal level, interpersonal skills enable you to empathize, celebrate and motivate others.
The next facet of management is the strategic facet. As a leader, your job is to identify obstacles, solve problems, and develop strategies to improve efficiency. This can be anything from helping your team improve their workflow to providing an innovative way to reach customers.
Think of the technical piece as the basic piece. This includes software knowledge, the ability to operate certain machines, knowledge of the devices used in your company.
To be a great manager, you should be strong in all three areas of management. Start by classifying yourself in each area and identifying which one (s) to focus on in order to improve.
Read the following section to find out which steps you need to take next.
So you have identified some administrative areas that you want to work in. How do you actually develop it? There are three main ways:
As a people manager, you have to be versatile – able to support your team, your colleagues and your executives at the same time.
Here are the most important skills you need to be successful:
Your team will seek advice and support from you, your peers will seek cooperation from you, and your leaders will seek strategic thinking and an innovative spirit.
In an ideal world, you would use the same approach to manage your team. In reality, everyone works differently and requires a different leadership style.
To know what works best for your team, you need to get to know them. You will find that each person communicates differently, receives feedback, wants recognition, addresses conflicts, and much more.
So how do you get to know them?
Once you know which approach to take, you will build a stronger relationship with your team and be ready to face any obstacles down the line.
Today more than ever, employees want empathetic managers and executives.
A 2021 study of the state of empathy in the workplace, conducted by the software company Businessolver, found that only one in four employees thought that empathy was “sufficient” in their company.
The same study found that while the majority of CEOs recognize the positive effects of an empathic corporate culture, 68% still fear being less respected if they show empathy.
The same study, “84% of CEOs and 70% of Employees Believe Empathy Leads to Better Business Results,” but 68% of CEOs say they fear being less respected if they show empathy in the workplace, 31 points more than last year.
However, one study suggests that this couldn’t be further from the truth.
According to the Empathy in the Workplace Study 2020 by the Center for Creative Leadership, executives see managers who show more empathy for their direct employees as better performance than those who show less or little empathy.
How do you show empathy? Here are a few options:
Trust is a cornerstone of any work environment.
In 2017, Harvard Business Review reported that employees who work in a culture of trust are more productive and have higher energy levels. Organizations with high trust also have better retention rates.
The most important thing to remember here is that trust is not a one-way street. Employees need to trust that their superiors support and guide them. But managers also need to instill trust in their team.
Otherwise, you are left with a micromanager who does not want to delegate and empower his team.
Building trust takes time, but here are some tactics you can use today:
When I spoke to 5 HubSpot executives on their management journey, they shared a common belief: an important part of their role was to take a back seat so their team could step into the spotlight.
This can take many forms. One way to improve your team is to identify opportunities with high visibility. For example, your direct reporter suggested using the Casted audio and video content platform for an upcoming project.
Instead of forwarding the message to the DRI, you could find a way for your direct report to work on the project.
Start by connecting with your team to understand their goals and from there you can find ways to help them achieve their goals.
Another way to add value to your team is to recognize their achievement.
Note that not everyone likes recognition in the same way.
Some employees like public recognition, while others prefer private, quieter celebrations. This goes back to knowing your team and understanding how it works.
Time management is a skill that you should master whether you are a team leader or an individual.
This is particularly important as a manager because you are responsible for more than just your work. Hence, you need to plan your time in a way that takes into account both your responsibilities and the time spent supporting your team.
Do you know your strengths and weaknesses?
Some of us never think about it outside of interviews, but it’s important to check yourself out on a regular basis.
This self-assessment enables you to identify areas for improvement and find resources to be a better manager for your team.
You have done everything in your power to become a better manager. That’s great – now, lean on those around you.
Your colleagues can give you insights into their strategies and thought processes to help you yourself. A mentor has a wealth of knowledge and experience that you can learn from in order to grow as a manager.
In fact, a 2019 CNBC / Survey Monkey poll found that employees are more likely to be happy with their job when they have a mentor than those who don’t.
We naturally tend to stay in our comfort zone and look for information that confirms our current beliefs and prejudices. By taking advice from others, you broaden your perspective and gain the opportunity to do things differently.
Improving your management skills doesn’t happen overnight. However, if you are responsive to your team’s needs and maintain a willingness to learn, you are well on your way.