Different industries require certain bodies of knowledge that are specific to such an industry. That is why effective managers should be cut out for the industry. However, there are certain skills and qualities that all managers need to master, irrespective of the industry sector they are in. Sadly, most of these so-called managers are not even fully aware of such skills. Understanding what these skills are should help you become a better manager. Here are 7 skills that every manager needs, but the great majority lack.
- Leading by Example
Majority of managers have this notion that they are far better than the employees under them. As such, they often think that they can be easily excused for not adhering to some or many of the same guidelines they expect everyone in the company to observe. Unfortunately, this is no way to be a good manager. You can create really fancy stuff in writing, create memos and all. But if your employees don’t see you walking the talk, then everything else is moot.
Managers always talk about being good role models for their employees yet they are the number one breakers of rules. They expect employees to start work on time yet managers feel they are privileged enough that they can come at any time they want. Integrity is never about what one is saying only. It should match the actions as well.
- Emotional Intelligence
This is a skill that should be inherent in any individual, but more so for a manager. Running a department does not always entail successes and rewards. For the most part of it, there are failures, frustrations, challenges, and other negative experiences that an emotionally unfit person can easily find overbearing.
A good manager should be able to manage his or her stress levels without escalating these towards the company’s employees. It is a sign of emotional maturity to take responsibility for whatever mistakes may have occurred. But if one were to take their frustrations or any other negative emotions out on employees, then one can be considered not emotionally fit for the job.
Take it from lawyers and members of the healthcare profession. They listen. When we say ‘listen’ it usually means intently hearing out what others have to say. One does not only pretend that he or she is hearing things, one has to go out of his or her way to understand what is being communicated or conveyed.
There are many reasons why managers need listening skills yet many of them lack these. Most have this attitude that managers are the superiors of their employees. As such, communication moves in a top-down manner. Only the person with a higher position gets to talk while the one in the lower position gets to listen. While there have been substantial efforts made towards changing this mindset, the top-down one-way communication still persists in many organizations.
Listening to your employees can give the impression that you value their input. This also strongly encourages them to contribute to the growth of your department and the company.
- Industry Understanding
Ask any manager about the mission and objectives of his department and he can easily recite a litany of micro-goals and similar objectives. But if you ask the same manager how his function fits in the overall scheme of the organization or how the company is making a name for itself in the marketplace, there’s a chance that this manager may not know.
This is one classic problem that many managers face. They are only concerned about their departments or units that they no longer go out of their way to find out more how their department is related in function to the whole organization. They don’t even go out of their way to learn about the industry in general. This is important because managers should be proactive. If they are only concerned about what is happening in their departments, then they might not be able to see the next big thing that can impact their department and the company as a whole.
A great number of managers feel that they don’t need to reflect on their actions and reactions especially those related to fear. Admitting one’s mistakes is often interpreted as a sign of weakness, and weakness is something that a manager should never have. This mindset has to change.
Self-reflection gives us a chance to understand our actions and reactions and what effects these have on our employees, the department we are running, and the company that we are working for. It allows us to understand our deepest fears, weaknesses, and frustrations so we can learn to temper them and become more effective managers in the process.
- Standing Up for Teammates
Managers are there as the leaders of a team. He is the bridge between the upper management and the individuals working in his or her department. There will always be instances when the demands of the upper management are simply not feasible or even achievable. Most managers tend to simply convey what the upper management wants without necessarily looking at the soundness of the task.
There is this unspoken message in any organization. There are only two types of people in the world: those who give orders and those who obey them. As such, managers are expected to echo the demands of the upper management. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always spell well for the employees. A good manager should be able to stand up for his or her teammates.
- Reinforcing Employees
Being the head of a particular unit means the employees under you are looking up to you both for motivation and for inspiration. Being a good role model already addresses the inspiration part. You’ve got to work on employee motivation next.
This is best accomplished by acknowledging the contributions of everyone and reinforcing their individual strengths. More importantly, managers should never criticize or bash their employees. Instead, every mistake should be considered as a learning opportunity.
These essential skills that many managers lack are necessary if you want your team to accomplish its goals and contribute to the overall growth of your organization.