Reflect back and think about the best manager you’ve ever had; one that helped you develop your skill set, or inspired you to push through adversity, and genuinely impacted your life. In reality both inside and outside of the office.
Once you have been lucky enough to experience the benefits of a great manager, you know that being a manager is more than advancing your own career – it’s a great opportunity and even greater responsibility to empower your team to succeed and take on challenges.
Being an effective manager requires a unique skill set, and each of these skills cane learned and developed. Whether you are a new manager or a seasoned professional, there is always room to continue straightening the abilities that will help you effectively lead a team.
Here are the 8 skills that are key to being a successful manager:
- Communicate Clearly
- Manage Your Team’s Time
- Facilitate Teamwork & Collaboration
- Delegate Tasks to Promote Development
- Solve Problems With Your Team
- Set Team Goals & Analyze Results
- Develop Your Emotional Intelligence
- Be Tactful in Your Transparency
A Detailed Look Into the 8 Key Management Skills
1. Communicate Clearly
Despite the many miracles of modern science, your team won’t be able to read your mind, no matter how hard they try. Knowing that, it’s up to you to create open lines of communication, for everything from project-specific items to personal well-being and career goals. Not only will this build trust with your employees, it allows them to thrive individually and boost their contributions to collective goals.
Make sure to schedule weekly team meetings and monthly one-on-ones, and regularly ask for feedback on how you’re doing in your role and how you can better support your team. And of course, always listen first. Communication is a two-way street, and when you communicate clearly with your team and show them that you value their input, they’ll do the same with you.
2. Manage Your Team’s Time
Whatever your management style, time management is about more than work-back schedules and checklists. It’s providing adequate time to think through problems and execute solutions, while pushing back against unrealistic expectations from clients or project owners.
Yes, there will always be last-minute requests or urgent projects that don’t come with the luxury of time. In those situations, be sure you’re bringing your team on board right away to figure out how best to gather up the time that you do have.
3. Facilitate Teamwork and Collaboration
Accepting the fact that you can’t be hands-on with every project can be tough. Sure, you might be able to finish the task faster if you have more experience, but do you really need to be at every brainstorming session? As a manager, it’s your job to take a step back when it comes to completing tasks, and still making yourself available for buy-in and checkpoint meetings to approve project directions and ensure things are rolling out smoothly.
Knowing when you can or should be involved is just as important as knowing when you can’t or shouldn’t be involved — and making this distinction will help you avoid micromanaging. If you want your employees to learn to ride a bike, you have to take off the training wheels.
4. Delegate Tasks to Promote Development
Delegation is about more than dividing the workload — it’s another opportunity for you to continually help your team members learn, develop, and grow. To make teamwork, well, work, you need to be able to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of your employees. By understanding their abilities and considering their professional development goals, you can delegate tasks and structure team projects in a way that contributes to each employee’s evolution. It’s all about making the most of their individual skills, while also providing the opportunities to continue building on them.
5. Solve Problems With Your Team
Inevitably, you and your team will face challenges and difficulties. Being able to quickly analyze the situation and envision potential steps forward will drive your ability to make effective decisions. It’s important to adopt a forward-thinking mindset so you can begin to spot issues before they arise.
Solving problems independently can be necessary in a crisis, but it’s also essential to involve your team in the day-to-day process. Not only is it an opportunity for your team to talk openly about tough situations, but coaching them through different approaches to overcoming adversity will enable them to take the lead on future problems.
6. Set Team Goals and Analyze Results
As a manager, you’re sandwiched between your team and your superiors, acting as a go-between. You have to help your team turn the company goals into tasks, and then show your superiors how you team’s tasks led to results. By setting objectives and key results at the start of project planning, it will be easier for you to demonstrate your team’s success down the line.
As important as setting goals, is analyzing them. Measuring goals is of course a good first step, but then you should always consider their meaning. Why did your team succeed (or not)? What worked well that you can try again, and what new ideas do you want to test out next time? Schedule meetings with your team to go over outcomes and pinpoint learnings.