A Gartner survey has indicated the top three organizational priorities for companies in 2023 as harnessing change management skills, tackling technological disruption, and fighting talent shortages. At the same time, the ‘Great Resignation’ that started in 2020 has led employees to reevaluate their reasons for staying in the workforce. Therefore, embracing employee-centric management strategies has become a core concern for organizations, especially in these turbulent times. In this climate of uncertainty, what adaptive measures should managers deploy to usher in an employee-centric culture of maximum productivity, creativity, and organizational unity? And what fundamental management skills would that demand? Let’s take a closer look.
Top Management Skills
1. Team Building
The primary management skill that makes or breaks organizations is the ability to build cohesive, collaborative teams. Team building is an exercise towards maximizing productivity by understanding the needs and talents of all team members and helping them develop self-discipline, autonomy, and independence. Managers also promote cross-team and cross-department synergy, and these help in the formation of a healthy organization.
2. Giving Direction
Managers provide direction in the following ways:
- Understand teams’ dynamics and play to their strengths
- Place specific emphasis on detailed plans and goals for every project
Providing direction enhances inter-team communication, helps maintain quality control of processes, and minimizes uncertainties at every step.
3. Organizational Skills
A Glean report states that average Americans spend 25% of their workweek looking for resources, like documents or information, required to fulfill their professional duties. Strong organizational skills help managers stay abreast of short- and long-term goals, keep alignment among teams, and deliver a high-impact work culture.
There are two kinds of organizational skills: internal and external. Internal organizational skills cover one’s creative and strategic abilities to tackle complex issues. They demand strong mental composure and flexibility to rely on in the face of extreme pressure. External organizational skills deal with how one works with people. They include physical organization, prioritization, workflow, teamwork management, etc.
To make accountability a core part of the work culture, managers need to lead by example and take direct responsibility for the results of their decisions and actions. Here are some ways to promote this:
- Setting individual and team goals to establish a practical vision of what everyone is trying to achieve
- Establishing a psychologically safe environment for feedback exchange
- Ensuring the current feedback mechanism is a two-way process
- Assuming the positive intent of employees
- Using an accountability framework such as the RACI matrix
- Enforcing the Directly Responsible Individuals (DRI) policy so that no company work is left unassigned
5. Time Management
Time management is more than merely setting or meeting deadlines. It is a crucial management skill that balances the daily requirements of a team with company demands. Part of it is about prioritizing tasks by effectively managing your time and energy. Here are some time management tricks you can apply:
- Start early and declutter work processes through prioritization
- Plan your day and estimate the time for every activity
- Leverage technology such as time management and productivity tools
- Take a long-term goal and divide it into achievable or manageable chunks
- Delegate duties and don’t be afraid to seek assistance
At the core of diplomacy is a mutual agreement that benefits all the parties at the table. Moreover, politeness, strong rapport building, and assertiveness are among the crucial ingredients of diplomacy—all of which fall under management skills. Here are some tips to nurture positive workforce relationships through diplomacy:
- Use positive language
- Understand the audience and fit your communication style accordingly
- Take responsibility for your actions and maintain transparency
- Actively listen and bar from imposing your perspective on the situation
How managers communicate with their employees determines the latter’s attitude towards the workplace. In fact, given its importance, you should work on honing your communication skills by:
- Working on writing and speaking skills
- Fostering trustworthiness by being approachable
- Practicing active listening
- Creating a unified vision from all work processes
- Mastering any one form of organizational communication to prevent overwhelming employees
- Focusing on non-verbal cues to better understand people’s needs
- Asking for feedback
- Understanding the diversity of workspaces
8. Change Management
Navigating the continuous digital disruption of industries is impossible without flexible organizational design and streamlined change management strategies. Consequently, one of the highly prioritized management skills is to ensure change management success with an open-source change approach. In this, employees directly co-create decisions of change instead of just following change strategies set by leaders.
How Do You Develop Management Skills?
If you’re about to get promoted to a managerial position, consider working on the following management skills.
Active listening refers to providing space for people to voice their feelings without being self-vigilant. It is more of a mindset than a skill where you can actively suspend your judgments and understand a situation from different perspectives. Active listening allows you to observe all verbal and non-verbal cues in communication, preparing you for thorough reflection and clarity of thoughts regarding a subject.
If you aspire to get into a managerial position, start by communicating with your present manager about your faults and areas for improvement. It also helps to talk about your professional goals before your senior colleagues, who can provide fresh perspectives you hadn’t previously considered. This practice will teach you how to take criticism gracefully—a highly desirable quality among managers.
Volunteering and Self-Initiative
You shouldn’t miss an opportunity to make an impact. Being straightforward and upfront with your ideas helps with success in today’s competitive business environment. Spearheading projects with humility will demonstrate your leadership skills to the upper echelons of your organization.
To conclude, management skills have to be geared towards engaging employees in a climate of change and tackling rapid technological disruption. Explore further management lessons and learn to harness this changing human resource landscape with industry-acclaimed leadership courses from Emeritus.
By Bishwadeep Mitra
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