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Essential Skills of the Manager

Essential Skills of the Manager

Managers need to develop and hone the following skills:

  • Leadership—You’ve got to be able to set priorities and motivate your team members. This involves self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management. Be a source of energy, empathy, and trust. And remember that effective leaders work daily to develop team members through positive feedback, constructive feedback, and coaching. 
  • Communication—Become a student of effective communication in all its applications, including one-on-one, small group, large group, email and social media. Realize that the most important aspect of communicating is listening.
  • Collaboration—Serve as a role model for working together. Support cross-functional efforts and model collaborative behaviors to set the example for your team members. 
  • Critical Thinking—Strive to understand where and how your projects fit into the bigger picture to enhance your effectiveness. Review priorities in light of larger goals. Translate this understanding into meaningful goals and objectives for your team members. 
  • Finance—Learn the language of numbers. Managers must strive to understand how company funds are invested and to ensure that these investments earn a good return for the firm. While you do not need to be an accountant to be a manager, it is imperative that you learn and apply the basics. 
  • Project Management—Everything that we do that is new in an organization is created in the form of projects. Today’s managers understand and leverage formal project management practices to ensure timely completion and proper control of initiatives. 

The Bottom Line—A Career in Management

The work of management is divided into the activities around planning, leading, organizing and controlling, and the work of a manager encompasses all of these areas. Anyone aspiring to move into management as a career should develop and display strong technical and functional skills—become an expert in your discipline, and have a strong liking of interacting with, supporting and guiding others. 

The best managers understand their role is about their team and their team’s performance and not about themselves. They work hard to develop the skills identified above and they take great satisfaction in the successes of their team members. Do this effectively at a lower level and others will recognize your value and abilities and strive to increase your responsibilities over time. Management as a career is simultaneously challenging and exciting.