All managers can agree that many skills are needed to be an effective manager. But what skills are the most important skills that a manager needs to master? To be a more effective manager you should master four skills.
Communications, motivation, building trust and leadership are critical skills for every manager. These four skills are essential for a productive work environment, a cohesive and results oriented team and your success as a manager that can lead to more opportunities.
There are many methods of communications. Email, phone calls, conference calls, leaving voice mail, one-on-one, team meetings, small meetings, large meetings, and more. Learning to master each of these communications methods is essential to being a successful and effective manager.
Points on Communications:
- By communicating regularly with team members one-on-one they will feel valued and connected.
- Leadership is kept up-to-date about any issues. The last thing you want is you boss blindsided by something you did not tell them about.
- You find out about issues or problems so you can take care of them. Be proactive and solve an issue before it becomes a problem.
- A common mistake in communications is being too long or disorganized. Short and to the point is what you want. In one-on-one communications ask for feedback so you are sure they understood what you told them.
- Communications also involves the fine art of listening. When someone is speaking to you give them your full attention. Ask questions so you are clear on what they are trying to communicate. Take notes to remember important points or tasks.
- When there is something really important you need to talk about, such as a meeting with your boss or leadership plan it out before you meet. Write down the points you want to get across, anticipate any questions that may be asked, and plan out what you will say.
- Email is a common method of communications. Emails should be kept short and to the point. Break up points you want to get across into separate paragraphs. It makes it easier for the reader to comprehend your message.
Motivation is giving the support that is needed to get the work done. We are constantly given tough tasks, often that “must be done right away”. Being able to motivate a person or a team can be the difference between success and failure.
Points on Motivation:
- You are giving the person or the team a reason to act. When the need arises you must be able to communicate why something needs to be done, who needs to do what and follow-up to make sure the job is getting done.
- Just telling someone to do something is not enough. You need to give them enthusiasm about the task and get them to commit to it.
- When something is not being done the right you need to motivate the person or team to do it the right way. Motivating requires that you explain what the problem is, why it is the wrong way, how it should be done, and follow-up to make sure it is being done the right way.
- Motivation is not using your authority, fear or threats to get what you need. It is about using your influence to persuade someone to do something.
- Show your appreciation for a job well done. Sometimes a simple “great job” or “thank you” will do. Also consider taking someone out for lunch or highlighting their achievement to others.
Building trust with the people you deal with not only improves your reputation, but it leads to successful outcomes. You want the team member, the team, your boss and your leadership to know that you can be counted on.
Points on Building Trust
- You build trust by displaying your ability, your expertise, your commitment and your competence.
- You build trust by achieving results. People know they can count on you to get the job done and team members will want to share in the success.
- Maintain a “can do” attitude towards everything you do.
- Build trust by mentoring. Show that you care about personal development.
- Share credit for the work done in particular in a team environment.
- Keep stakeholders informed. If you are not going to have a task completed in time let people know. It built trust that people can depend on you to let them know about issues that can affect them.
If you are a manager you are a leader. Leaders are made, not born and being a leader involves a never ending process of improving yourself to become a better leader. For a manager leadership is about influencing others to accomplish a common goal.
Points on Leadership
- Leadership is not about standing on the hill and directing, but getting down in the trenches and helping others get the job done. Managers who show active participation help build trust and confidence in the team which leads to the overall success of the project or initiative.
- Leaders should be able to clearly share their vision and their goals with others.
- Leaders must delegate responsibility, but must be accountable.
- Leaders must be able to influence others, not by rules or force, but by persuasion.
- Leaders drive change. A leader must be the one to stand up and say this needs to be changed and this is how we are going to do it.
- A leader is innovative, inspirational, influential and looks beyond the horizon with a long-term perspective.
- You need to create an environment where all team members can reach their highest potential.