Why is it so valid to talk about managerial skills ? In an organizational environment where every day it is more frequent to hear about “job happiness”, “emotional salary”, “well-being at work”, among many other terms, how can one not give the importance it deserves to the soft skills of a manager? Precisely, in the face of so much innovation, competition and change, a manager’s high performance is not measured only by the sales or profitability he generates, but also by the impact he achieves on his team by optimizing their performance, motivation and synergy.
In this article we have wanted to dedicate ourselves to the skills of the manager ; that is, those skills or strengths that are not learned by simply reading a book or simply attending a course, but those that are achieved through practice and commitment.
Part of the reason why the employee grows within the company is because they progressively demonstrate greater abilities to lead teams , think strategically, adapt to new environments and innovate; in addition to the technical, market and business knowledge that he is dominating.
It is key to identify the skills that a manager and a director must have to guarantee, not only their own success in the position, but that of their entire team and the company. To gain a clearer understanding of each skill, we will describe some of the associated behaviors that best distinguish them as examples of management skills .
List of the 10 most decisive Management Skills currently
There are many skills of the modern manager , here you will find a list of the 10 that we have considered most relevant and essential to exercise the managerial function effectively, soft skills that will determine the success of a manager in an organization in the long term.
In this article we will focus on managerial skills, soft type.
The importance of managerial skills lies in three aspects: know (knowledge), do (put into practice) and will (want to do), all three must be given to be able to talk about abilities or skills. Developing managerial skills requires practice, I would say, and predisposition.
All the skills will be key to your employability and career as a manager
Here you can see the list. Later we will develop each one of them and give examples and indicators that allow us to evaluate their level of development:
- Lead Work Teams
- Effective communication
- Take decisions
- Delegation and Empowerment
- Strategic thinking
- Problem solving
- emotional intelligence
First Skill: Lead Work Teams
Management skills and leadership always go hand in hand. We all know the term “leadership” but few understand the very breadth of the term. Being a team leader goes beyond directing others to achieve goals. It also means influencing each member, motivating them and building in them the confidence they need to achieve great results.
A good leader pushes -or “encourage” as it is said in English and whose translation in Spanish is difficult to find- to act taking risks but with the confidence to face challenges.
Contrary to what many may think that the leader always goes ahead saying in detail how, when and what should be done, real leadership seeks to inspire others to act convinced of what they must achieve. This is clearly described in the following sentence by Nelson Mandela:
“A leader…is like a shepherd. He stays behind the herd, letting the more agile ones get ahead, and the others follow, not realizing that they are being led from behind all the time.”
Examples of managerial skills and indicators of leadership competence that reflect that you are managing to lead a work team:
- You encourage others to learn every day.
- Motivate despite the difficulties they face.
- You challenge the team.
- You influence others.
- You inspire confidence.
- You achieve an emotional connection with each member of your team.
Second Skill: Effective Communication
Effective communication will appear not only as one of the most important managerial skills , but also one of the most relevant competencies, in almost any position.
Communicating effectively is not giving great speeches and having everyone stand up and applaud you at the end. Talking about “communication” with your team involves many components, from active listening , being assertive, using the appropriate body language, being consistent in the message and adapting the speech to your interlocutor.
A good level of communication within the team can directly impact the results, the work environment and the organizational culture, which is why this skill is so important.
A good manager knows how to listen to his people and approach them in such a way that they feel confident in being able to express themselves openly, which increases trust and creates an environment of greater collaboration and commitment.
It is in crisis situations where this skill makes the difference. Managers know how to prevent conflicts and resolve them if they have well-established communication skills, being able to offer clear proposals that everyone understands and accepts.
The following quote from Anthony Robbins expresses the key to effective communication:
“In order to communicate effectively, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide for our communication with others.”
Some indicators of effective communication skills that reflect that you are communicating adequately with your work team are:
- You actively listen.
- You solicit and offer feedback .
- You ask questions before giving an opinion.
- You adapt your language to the audience in front of you.
- You are assertive.
- You know how to mediate in conflict situations.
- Your tone of voice, volume and content of the message are appropriate and consistent with what you want to convey.
Third Skill: Making Decisions
The higher you are in the organizational structure, the more decisions you will have to make and the more difficult they will be. However, like other skills, it is not something you learn like the ability to work with software, it is much more complex and requires dealing with many situations.
Many times, until you are in the situation, until you are wrong several times, you will not be able to consolidate this crucial competence for a director.
Sometimes facing daily decision-making in the workplace, no matter how small or large, can be overwhelming for new managers and experienced supervisors alike.
Good managers , when making crucial business decisions, consider the possible positive and negative outcomes and associated risks, which is key to taking the step forward and not delegating decisions to others.
Making adequate and correct decisions results in the success of the organization , while bad decisions can lead to failure or poor performance; Therefore, every manager must assume the consequences of each of them, whether they are a wonderful recognition, or an important call for attention from the company itself.
Peter Drucker, referring to the importance of making the right decisions, noted:
“Management is doing things well; leadership is doing the right things
Some indicators of decision-making ability that reflect that you know how to make decisions properly are:
- You analyze different options.
- You consider the circumstances, the resources available and the impact on the business.
- You execute actions with quality, timeliness and awareness about the possible consequences of the decision made.
- You convince others of the importance of generating various options before deciding.
Fourth Skill: Delegation and Empowerment
Delegation is one of the essential managerial skills, it is a function that is inevitably associated with any manager position for several reasons:
- You do not have enough time to carry out all the tasks under your responsibility, so you must delegate their execution to others
- They supervise different more operational or tactical areas where there are already specialists who may have a higher technical level, so routine or very specific activities must be delegated to them, while the manager deals with more strategic aspects.
However, not all managers necessarily know how to delegate , since they often end up doing what is known as “ micromanagement ”. Hence the importance of placing the ability to delegate as a key for every manager .
This skill begins by trusting the team and empowering them in functions and tasks that are at their level of execution and at the same time helps them increase their own confidence in the role.
Management skills and team management : Good managers know when certain people are better equipped to perform specific tasks and when to stop overloading the “stars” of the team. Seeing the potential of an employee and taking the necessary steps to achieve a good delegation process is part of success in the position as a manager. Also, by delegating to the right people you will not only achieve a high impact but you will be able to achieve results beyond those imagined. So says John C Maxwell:
“If you want to do some little things well, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and have a great impact, learn to delegate.”
Some indicators of the ability to delegate that reflect that you know how to delegate in your team:
- You identify the strengths of each team member before assigning a task.
- You know how to share both the successes and the negative consequences of the results with your entire team.
- Incentivize actions to empower each member of your team.
- Set clear and measurable goals.
- You follow up according to the capacity of each person.
Fifth Skill: Strategic Thinking
Strategic thinking is another of the most important management skills, but let’s start by understanding what strategic thinking means. Strategic thinking is a type of critical, organizational and pragmatic thinking that involves seeing the big picture , to later plan concrete actions that allow you to obtain a competitive advantage in business.
It is understood that to achieve this, it is essential to focus on finding unique opportunities that others may not be able to see; even challenge traditional ways of seeing things.
Developing strategic thinking is not easy, in fact, there are managers who reach high positions in organizations, but fail to stand out, precisely because they lack this important skill, since it is what guarantees adding value to the company.
A strategic thinker is always looking for something different, and is able to have different perspectives on the same aspect, which allows him to achieve greater objectivity when making decisions, as well as take more calculated risks. If you want to achieve strategic thinking, you will have to work on it, because as Michael Porter points out:
“Strategic thinking rarely happens spontaneously”
Some indicators of strategic thinking ability :
- You have a broad view of things, but at the same time you identify important details.
- You accept alternatives.
- You approach situations from another angle.
- You look at things in the medium and long term.
- You are critical of yourself.
- You identify opportunities where others do not see them.
Skill Six: Curiosity
It is a natural skill, as we grow up and become adults, we tend to lose that sense of curiosity that characterized us so much when we were children. Many stop being curious by immersing themselves in the routine of work, others to avoid being “fools” by asking about something they think they should know.
Yet it is this trait that has characterized the brightest minds and most successful managers.
In fact, many of them, including the founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, describe curiosity as one of the three Cs of successful leadership along with creativity and commitment, therefore curiosity is an important skill in a manager although not it seems so at first.
Curiosity arises when you are exposed to new information and want to know more, so the leader who develops this ability, manages to get out of his bubble in an effort to generate new ideas and see things from another perspective.
In a study by Donald Sul l, Rebecca Homkes and Charles Sull published in the Harvard Business Review, they point out:
“Simply defined, curiosity is, ‘the desire to learn or know more about something or someone.’ It is the starting point of every great idea, invention and new business. It’s what makes some companies wildly successful while others are just average, and it’s the real reason some leaders and their teams succeed while others fail.”
Some indicators that reflect that you are a curious person are:
- You seek to delve deeper into things that you see as “new”.
- You ask “why” or “what if” questions.
- You’re not embarrassed to ask about things you just don’t know.
Seventh Skill: Resilience
In recent years, there has been a lot of talk about this concept, but perhaps no one thought to live it, or at least develop this managerial ability like now, once it seems that we have overcome the pandemic.
Today we understand that resilience is the possibility of refocusing on failure and seeing it as an opportunity to recover and come out better than we were before. How many, in these times of remote work, have not quickly adapted to new technologies like you never thought you would?
Understanding what resilience is, it is not difficult to imagine that every manager or manager with important responsibilities faces situations almost daily that can lead to failure, and even lead to it, but what happens next? Well, precisely, overcoming that failure, learning from it and coming out stronger is a skill that every manager in our times must develop.
To achieve it, it is necessary to lower your expectations of “perfection”, both in your own tasks and those of your team, as well as the fear of failure and achieve a broad vision to identify learning.
Resilience was described as follows by Elizabeth Edwards – an American healthcare attorney, author, and activist:
“Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it is less good than the one you had before. You can fight, you can do nothing but scream for what you have lost, or you can accept it and build something good. “
Some indicators of a manager with the resilient competence are:
- He is self-aware, and therefore more attentive to his actions and responsibilities.
- You see the world in a realistic way, which allows you to deal with difficult situations and make better decisions.
- Remains calm when under stress.
- He is empathetic because he manages to understand the situation of others.
- He is optimistic and manages to focus on the best way out of a difficult situation.
Eighth Skill: Problem Solving
The success of companies is not only in reaching high levels of profitability, it is in the fact of being able to solve the thousands of problems that are found along the way to meet the goals. And who solves the problems? The managers within each organization.
Managers who have the ability to systematically analyze the facts, diagnose the situation, and find an accurate and workable solution will help the business grow and prosper. This further enables them to guide teams toward goal achievement by eliminating frustration, confusion, and misunderstandings before they become unmanageable.
Good managers often have the ability to anticipate problems and deal with them very effectively. How do they do it? Most comply with basic problem-solving steps that with experience become part of their way of acting, namely: identify and define the problem, analyze the context, the situation and the variables around it; develop solution alternatives; plan and act.
Arnold H Glaslow highlights this ability of a leader as follows:
“One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency”
Some indicators that you know how to solve a problem as a manager are:
- You investigate and use observation skills to clearly identify a problem.
- You consider all the edges of the problem, however simple it may seem.
- You seek support from other people who can give you another vision of the problem.
- You create potential solutions, analyzing the pros and cons of each one.
- You do not avoid the problem, on the contrary, you ask yourself how best to approach it.
- You actively participate in the solution, assuming the responsibilities and consequences of them.
Ninth Skill: Integrity
It is the directors who, mainly, must be models of integrity in the organization, through what is expressed in English as “walk the talk”, which is nothing more than leading by example.
A study carried out by several universities in Norway found that the integrity of directors generated better employee performance, because among other things, they encourage honesty and fairness, thus creating an environment of trust within the team.
Therefore, it is essential that all managers realize that their actions, words and decisions, based on integrity, strengthen the values and culture of the company and guarantee the success of the company.
Dwight D. Eisenhower spoke of integrity in the following way:
“The supreme quality for leadership is, without a doubt, integrity. Without it, true success is not possible, whether in a gang, on a soccer field, in an army, or in an office.”
Some indicators that your team can observe as a behavior of integrity in you are:
- You are honest.
- You treat each team member respectfully without discrimination of any kind.
- You avoid favoritism.
- You inspire confidence by keeping your word.
- You assume your responsibilities and the consequences of your actions.
- You comply with company policies, without questioning them or wanting to evade them because you feel entitled to your position as manager.
Tenth Skill: Emotional Intelligence
According to Salovey and Mayer, emotional intelligence is a form of intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, distinguish between them, and use that information to guide one’s thoughts and actions.
It sounds simple but it really isn’t. Achieving a high level of emotional intelligence requires: self-awareness, self-motivation, self-control of emotions, empathy and harmonization, and mastery of human relationships. This makes it one of the most complex management skills .
These are components that every manager must work on today to ensure that well-being at work that employees seek so much and that they are not willing to sacrifice despite the economic benefits they may obtain.
According to a study outlined in the Harvard Business Review, emotional intelligence accounts for nearly 90% of what makes high-performing employees stand out. If we add to this the impact it has on the teams of each manager, we already have an idea of the importance of this skill. In fact, Dale Carnegie highlights it as follows:
“In dealing with people, remember that you are not dealing with creatures of logic but creatures of emotion.”
Some indicators of a manager with emotional intelligence are:
- He practices “selective vulnerability”, that is, he knows how and how vulnerable he can appear in front of his team.
- He communicates assertively, understanding the impact his words can have on the other.
- He knows how to identify his own emotions, so he does not show extreme postures.
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