Five Strengths to Cultivate to Become a Better Manager
Not everyone is a natural born leader. Luckily, the ability to manage people can be cultivated. Here’s a look at top leadership skills and how they can improve your strengths as a manager.
Key strengths of effective management
Ineffective management contributes to diminished employee engagement and increased turnover. According to some sources, the most-often cited reason for leaving a job is a bad supervisor, and one-fifth of all employees feel their supervisors have a negative impact on their careers. Whether those statistics come as a shock to you or not, it’s logical that the better manager you are, the more engaged and loyal your employees will be—and the better their performance.
Moreover, when you’re an effective manager, it greatly improves the overall workplace experience for your employees. It reduces their stress and increases their enjoyment in their work. All in all, when you get better at your job, the situation improves for all concerned… and that’s a win-win.
Start growing your management strengths
If you’re reading this, you’ve already made the first step in becoming a better manager: making the conscious decision to improve your skills.
This rest of the process involves remaining aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and using all of the management resources and techniques available to continuously further your professional development.
If you’re unsure of where to start, consider these five universally applicable strengths that can help you become a better manager:
1. Recognizing employees’ most productive ways of working
Being a good manager isn’t about enforcing rules; it’s about getting the best out of your people. Allowing reasonable accommodations for individual work preferences can go a long way in maximizing productivity.
Some employees do really well when keeping themselves to themselves in a cubicle. Others prefer to listen to music while working at a standing desk; still others prefer to work in teams of two or three. Then there are people who need flex work arrangements that allow them to keep earlier or later office hours, and those who do well when they work from home a couple of days a week. Invest in finding out what your people’s preferences are, and if accommodating them truly enhances their productivity, keep doing so.
Remember that the post-COVID climate means that more people work remotely than ever before – including many people who wouldn’t have chosen to perform virtual work under previous circumstances. By granting employees the agency to approach their work in the manner they feel most productive, you can also help them stave off the burnout and mental fatigue that many people feel when working from home for the first time.
2. Transparent communication
Be transparent. As the supervisor, you’re the link between your people and middle and upper management. It goes without saying that your team looks to you to be kept in the loop in regard to important company developments. Make a point of keeping them informed, both when it comes to positive news and negative news.
That doesn’t mean you have to be an open book about confidential information. If something’s clearly in the works but you can’t discuss it, say so. In addition, be clear and transparent about your expectations. If you expect high standards from one employee, you should expect it from all—and most definitely from yourself.
3. Operational agility
Stay agile. It’s easy to get “stuck” in set ways of doing things, especially when you don’t have turnover and don’t need to regularly welcome new employees to the team. However, especially with constantly evolving technology and software tools, there are new, more efficient, and more effective ways of doing things being developed every day.
Stay agile by responding to suggested changes with an open mind and measured responses. When a new way of doing things emerges, try not to shoot it down or go all in right away. Instead, look at it from all angles and determine how it could benefit your team and your company.
4. Ability to delegate
There are only so many hours in a day—and chances are, you’re already putting in overtime. That’s why you need to learn how to delegate. Determine which of your employees can handle what kinds of responsibilities, and gauge whether they have the bandwidth to take on additional work. When necessary, hand off those tasks that they can take on, and keep the responsibilities that you absolutely have to fulfill yourself.
5. Conflict resolution
Many authorities identify conflict resolution as a key managerial skill. Employees gain respect for managers who address difficult situations head on and in a fair manner. If this is something you feel you need assistance with, start by working on an open and non-reactive mindset. Or, ask your employer to send you to conflict resolution training.
Any one of the aforementioned strengths will help make you a better manager. By continuously cultivating all five, you’ll set an example for the individuals who depend on you for leadership and inspiration.
What’s next for managers?
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