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There are certain soft skills that are essential for success in any management role—and you won’t necessarily be taught them when you get the job. In 2022, soft skills for managers are more important than ever, and these are the most important ones of all:
1. Leadership Development
Professional leadership skills provide the sense of direction needed for the smooth running of the business. Being a respected leader doesn’t mean dominating others, it means bringing out the best in them by listening, knowing their strengths, nurturing their talents, and encouraging teamwork and creativity.
You’ll need to be adept at spotting and solving problems in your area of expertise, getting to the root of the issue and working out where processes can be improved. This includes knowing how to react when obstacles come up, analysing potential solutions, and knowing the result you want to achieve. Strategic, out-of-the-box thinking wins every time.
Part of effective leadership is character: from your body language and posture to your tone of voice, how you come across matters. You also need to know how to develop positive social connections and build relationships by asking the right questions and being a good listener. This crucial skill will stand you in good stead for client negotiations and closing deals as well as for leading your team.
4. Employee Recognition
Recognising employees’ hard work and dedication boosts their morale and productivity like nothing else. Performance rewards, whether on an individual or team basis, have a major role to play in employee satisfaction, so take the time to acknowledge exceptional work by a team or individual. This will motivate them to do even better.
You don’t have to do everything. Delegating tasks to subordinates can be difficult for a new manager, but it’s a vital skill to learn, and gets easier when you plan in advance and assign tasks early to give people plenty of time to complete them. It’s also vital to know who is best suited to which tasks, which is one of the reasons regular performance monitoring is so important.
Effective communication is vital to create a productive working environment. Mastering communication skills takes time and can challenge even the most confident leader. Focus on trying to build a positive atmosphere that will inspire growth and learning. Regular team meetings, showing respect for colleagues’ views, and once again, really listening to them will take you far. Which brings us to…
Communication is about how you listen as well as what you say. Being open to others’ opinions is vital to help you grow your business and maintain positive working relationships. Appreciating others’ contributions is also key; they may offer fresh perspectives and approaches that had never even crossed your mind.
Market your brand by networking with like-minded people, both online and offline, outside your company and within it. Building strong working relationships with your fellow managers will help you become an asset to your organisation.
Motivation is key to productivity; one Gallup study found just one in five employees felt their performance was monitored in a way that enabled them to give their best. Good managers bring positive energy to work and inspire employees by creating a sense of inclusion.
Any senior role involves making some important decisions that affect the future of the business. This may not come easily at first, but the only way to improve is practice. Do your research, consider all the possible outcomes (positive and negative) and if you can, have a plan B. When you’ve made your choice, take action quickly and be willing to stand by your decision.
Whatever your management style, remember there’s no one perfect way of leading people—ultimately, if it works, it works!