“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Assuming a person possesses key core traits – initiative, genuine care for others, drive for results, to name a few — then the craft of management is learnable. Mastery of management skills, like any discipline, is built upon mastering fundamentals.
Increase your likelihood of success in 2019 by implementing the following 7 Manager Skills until they become managerial habit. These competencies may also lower your stress and bring more fun into your work.
- Be an agile learner. Your current expertise, and your team’s, is insufficient to solve tomorrow’s problems or quickly pivot to seize opportunities. Your ability to be curious, ask questions, engage your team in divergent thinking, and enable organizational learning is today’s critical leadership competency.
- Create psychological safety. This culture dynamic makes people feel comfortable speaking up and being themselves. The business case is that team members move beyond superficial nice-talk and engage in honest dialogue that make everyone better. They don’t avoid conflict, they leverage healthy debate to produce improved business solutions. Open cultures create agile learners, the force behind problem solving and continuous improvement.
- Have a bias for informed action. A manager’s credibility is built by consistently making strategic decisions that move the business forward. They are proactive versus reactive but are always making it happen.
- Manage by expectations, not hope. According to Gallup – “only about a half of employees strongly agree that they know what is expected of them at work.” Most of us know the frustration of working for a boss who fails to set clear priorities, direction, and responsibilities. This management style also fails to inspire because employees can’t see past the daily grind to the company’s vision, mission, and core values. Management ambiguity degrades people’s motivation.
- Teach, coach, and grow others. Great managers invest in relationships. They are servant leaders. They simply bring out the best in others. They grow future leaders, not more followers. Be the boss that everyone wants to work for.
- Measure, hold accountable, and reward performance. High performers respect managers who demand high standards and build a culture of accountability. There are no shadows to hide in. Great managers reward the doers, without apology. Low performers naturally get weeded out, making room for better talent.
- Be upbeat and positive. This is not modeling Pollyanna behavior, that’s being inauthentic. Leaders’ moods are like a cold; everyone around the manager is susceptible to catching it, which in turn affects employee engagement. Management demands significant energy output so why not make it constructive?
Reflect and look ahead in this New Year. Have you developed your manager blue print for success? What are your top development goals that will inspire others, build a cohesive team, and put up big results?
Consider identifying at least two skills, implement them with regularity, solicit feedback from your team, and become the boss that nobody wants to quit.