For generations, we learned that the person with the highest IQ is the smartest. And the smartest one should be listened to and followed by the others.
Now we know managers are those with the highest EQ in the office.
Emotional Intelligence is a genuine skill that helps you comprehend and handle your emotions, learn about yourself, and use these insights to perceive and shape the world around you. This term was described for the first time in 1990, by John D. Mayer and Peter Salovey, in their Emotional Intelligence study.
Five years later, the term was popularized by psychologist Daniel Goleman in his book Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ.
"The most effective leaders are all alike in one crucial way: they all have a high degree of what has come to be known as emotional intelligence. It's not that IQ and technical skills are irrelevant. They do matter, but…they are the entry-level requirements for executive positions. My research, along with other recent studies, clearly shows that emotional intelligence is the sine qua non of leadership. Without it, a person can have the best training in the world, an incisive, analytical mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas, but he still won't make a great leader." Daniel Goleman – What Makes A Leader
So, besides emotional intelligence, what else is there? What are the best skills that make you a great manager?
You are in the right place if you want to learn how to grow, inspire, and manage your team better.
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However, a few common ingredients (skills) make you the person others want to follow.
Management skills are the abilities individuals in leading positions possess or acquire to fulfill management-specific activities and tasks.
These skills help you perform your managerial duties efficiently while motivating your people, solving problems, and avoiding crises.
You can acquire and develop each management skill by learning and practical experience as a manager.
Either way, management skills are crucial for the success of any company. An organization that fosters continuous improvement of management skills reaches its mission and vision faster, with fewer obstacles and drawbacks.
There are many significant skills managers should possess. Still, they all tend to fall under three dominant categories, as they were identified and described by the social and organizational psychologist Robert Katz.
Technical skills give you the ability and knowledge to use techniques to achieve your managing goals and objectives. These hard skills are not exclusively related to operating machines, instruments, tools, and equipment. Technical skills also refer to the strategies you apply to boost sales, design products, and services, complete projects, and meet your performance goals.
Top-level managers benefit most from conceptual skills. They allow you to see the big picture, analyze, and visualize abstract concepts like the company's mission and vision. Conceptual skills help you look at problems from different angles and find innovative, outside-the-box solutions.
Interpersonal skills enable effective communication between you and your team, customers, and other managers. These skills are critical for fostering positive relationships between your team members. They help you motivate your employees to better accomplishments, solve workplace conflicts, and adapt to the fast-changing working environment.
If you want to master your role as a manager, you must find the perfect balance between your interpersonal skills, technical abilities, and conceptual thinking.
The key management skills that differentiate between successful managers and average ones are the following:
Let's detail each of these skills, starting with planning.
At some point in their careers, managers must define targets and align them with the company's goals. Whether you are a team or project manager, you must have the ability to create a cohesive vision, strategize solutions, and plan future steps.
As a manager, it is your role to establish objectives and plan the most efficient path to accomplish them. Here are a set of methods to plan better:
Many times, planning is associated with strategic thinking. Having some time to reflect on what needs to be done during the week, month or quarter can also be key to advance with your overall business planning. Reverse thinking the big perspective, what you want to achieve, create a plan of action, select who can do each step, and what triggers will be vital to accomplish the goals.
Once the planning is done, you must organize a structure for its successful
Implementation of work across the team. The organizing process might involve the following:
Consider that auxiliary skills such as goal setting, prioritization, collaboration, self-management, and project management are essential to save the organization money, time and help the team to achieve outcomes more effectively, thus making you a precious manager.
Tip: Remember that we are not speaking about physical, organizational skills that an assistant, secretary, or office manager can do, but primarily about the digital organization. Consider where you store your client's data, how you close leads, how you track performance, where you do your financial planning, or reflect on your future org chart.
As a manager, you are playing a leading role within your team. Leaders always look for opportunities to grow, coach people to become better versions of themselves, take risks, and challenge the status quo. Excellent leadership skills signify you are open to new ideas and accept different perspectives.
To be a better leader, consider improving the following abilities: a. Influence, b. Reliability, c. Accountability, d. Vision, and e. Resilience. This way, you will become among the top 10% most valued managers, those with leadership qualities.
Communication brings people together. To build a powerful team, you should cultivate practical communication skills. Master the different types of communication and adapt them to the personalities of your team members. Make time for each employee, listen to what troubles and what satisfies them, and create a positive and inclusive workplace.
The Economist Intelligence Unit highlights how poor workplace communication negatively impacts performance:
Communication is a two-way street. In the current work environment, you can't expect to give orders, and people execute. You are part of the team, working together towards a common goal. Knowing how and when to ask and give feedback is an excellent tool that pushes things forward individually and as a team. Honest, constructive feedback helps you find your areas of improvement and the strengths and weaknesses of your coworkers.
Managers are essential to the success of employees. In fact, according to Gallup, managers are responsible for 70% of the variation in employee engagement levels. For this reason, below are some pointers for giving feedback to your peers:
Tip: We recommend you become a coach rather than a general manager providing your feedback to your coworkers.
We know now that delegating tasks is far from a sign of weakness. Yes, delegating tasks lightens your workload, but it is not only about that. Knowing to whom, how, and when to delegate tasks makes you an excellent manager. It demonstrates you trust the people you are working with.
If you want to become a master of delegation, you must:
Assign and delegate tasks based on employees' expertise and aptitudes and build a happy workforce.
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Maybe you think that coming to work first in the morning and leaving the office last demonstrates how hardworking a manager you are. Think again! Spending 10+ hours in the office doesn't make you the busiest manager in the building. It instead shows you are not mastering your time management techniques very well. Remember, your team will follow your example, and burnout is just a step from here. Mastering good time-management skills make you more productive and efficient.
To create a valuable team, you must know how to motivate them individually. Identify your employees' strengths, weaknesses, and factors that motivate them and then assign tasks to capitalize on their exceptionality. Fostering healthy employee motivation leads to a more engaged workforce and strong teamwork.
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As a manager, you will have to make decisions all the time. Sometimes, they are so insignificant that you are unaware you are making them. However, your job means you will also deal with energy and time-consuming decisions that stress you out and leave you anxious. To ensure you make the right decision in a challenging situation, you must have excellent decision-making skills. They will help you minimize the negative effect while leveraging the beneficial impact.
Think for a second about the opposite. The consequences of poor decision-making in management can lead to failure. More specifically:
We don't want to hear about such situations associated with our business. HBR cites the key reasons why we make bad decisions:
If you need to make some big decisions and feel like you're in one of the abovementioned situations, we recommend taking a break and avoiding making an immediate decision. Such an approach will contribute to accomplishing personal, team, company goals and objectives.
Whether trivial or substantial, we constantly face problems at work and in our personal lives. A problem-solving mentality helps you identify an issue early on and quickly take the right steps to implement the proper solution.
A problem-solving mentality helps you:
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Becoming a manager is the validation of your skills and qualities. But the hard work doesn't stop here. Leading by example and inspiring your team requires constant personal and professional development. Here are some actionable tips to improve your management skills:
Whether it is one-on-one discussions or team-building activities, get to know your team members and show you care about them. Build a trusting environment and show empathy when you ask them about their struggles at work or in their personal lives. While keeping it professional during daily interactions is recommended, a friendly conversation can do wonders for your bonding.
As a manager, you must balance knowing what your team members are working on and micromanaging. Micromanagement in the workplace is a symptom of distrust! Employees see micromanagement as an intrusion. They become disengaged, and this leads to high turnover rates. Discipline yourself and start trusting somebody else can do the job as well as you.
It is easy to make mistakes and pass the blame onto someone else when things don't go as planned. As a manager, you need to master the art of saying sorry. Admitting that you are wrong reshapes a mistake into a learning opportunity. Lead by example, own your mistake and apologize sincerely.
Look for great leaders who inspire you inside and outside your organization. Having a person to look up to is crucial for your personal development. See how they interact with each other, their response in difficult situations, and how they react when facing challenging circumstances. Learn from the best, and you will become a role model for your team.
Leadership success is not something you can achieve overnight. It takes years of hard work, continuous learning, and the chiseling of your skills. Also, luck and opportunities are very welcome.
Build your success in management by developing these must-have traits of an extraordinary manager: