The OECD Future of Education and Skills 2030 project framework identifies cognitive skills as essential. While professionals worldwide fear the growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI), the framework highlights that humans are more adept at handling uncertainty than AI. While disrupting technologies can complete tasks efficiently, professionals, especially managers, require social, emotional, and cognitive skills to deal with complexity and ambiguity. Therefore, due to the constant disruption, soft skills for managers have become a key hiring factor.
What are the Most Important Soft Skills for Managers to Possess?
According to the Future of Skills 2030 report by the World Economic Forum, soft skills like curiosity and lifelong learning, self-awareness, time management, resilience, motivation, and mentorship are the top skills for professionals. Let’s understand why these soft skills are essential for managers.
Clear and concise communication is the cornerstone of effective management. It enables managers to communicate their vision effectively to the team members. Moreover, written and spoken communication skills are essential in a hybrid or remote work culture to reduce misunderstandings and promote collaboration.
Strong decision-making skills are paramount for managers in a rapidly evolving business landscape. It helps them make informed decisions and allows them to lead confidently. Moreover, decision-making skills are also crucial for managers to navigate complex business challenges.
Technological advancements, changing market trends, and evolving organizational structures have made it mandatory for managers to adapt to continuous change. It allows managers to analyze the latest trends, anticipate future outcomes, and boost organizational agility. Thus, adaptability is one of the most essential soft skills for managers.
4. Critical Thinking
With the vast amounts of data available to organizations, effective decision-making has become a significant challenge for organizations. Hence, critical thinking skills enable managers to objectively analyze information, identify opportunities, and make strategic growth plans.
Problem-solving skills are crucial for managers to overcome business challenges and help organizations grow. These skills involve identifying root causes, discovering suitable solutions, and implementing the best methods to overcome challenges. Therefore, problem-solving skills help managers ensure the seamless functioning of the organization.
6. Emotional Intelligence
Employee burnout is one of the biggest concerns for modern organizations. Professionals seek work flexibility and prefer to work in organizations focusing on employee well-being. Hence, emotional intelligence, which includes empathy, is one of the most crucial soft skills for managers.
7. Conflict Resolution
Managers are responsible for ensuring healthy and collaborative work environments to improve overall efficiency. Conflict resolution skills empower them to resolve team disputes amicably and strengthen team functioning.
Modern professionals are seeking greater purpose at work. Learning is one of their core objectives. Consequently, organizations are also increasing their learning and development investments to train and retain talent. Therefore, mentorship and training are vital skills for managers that enable them to nurture talent.
Building, training, and nurturing a team is the core responsibility of managers. Instead of controlling, modern managers need to lead their teams, collaborate with the members, and make them feel valued. Hence, teamwork skills are crucial for managers.
10. Creativity and Innovation
AI, the Internet of Things (IoT), and other technologies have disrupted nearly all industries and created intense business competition. Therefore, creativity and innovation are the two most essential soft skills for managers. These skills enable them to find unique solutions and build innovative products. They help organizations gain a competitive edge and make the role of a manager more valuable.
How do Soft Skills Contribute to the Success of Managers?
Here is how soft skills for managers are critical for their success:
- Soft skills empower managers to effectively engage with team members, clients, and other stakeholders
- Teamwork skills improve collaboration and boost work efficiency, thus enhancing growth
- Conflict resolution help managers build a conducive and supportive work environment that encourages people to perform better
- Strong critical and analytical thinking skills allow managers to make data-driven decisions
- Curiosity enables managers to upskill, stay updated with industry trends, and innovate, thus advancing their careers
How Can Managers Develop and Improve Their Soft Skills?
1. Use Toolkits
Skill assessment is the first step to improving soft skills. Popular tools/frameworks like the Eisenhower Matrix for time management can help assess and enhance soft skills for managers.
2. Pursue Online Courses
Practical online leadership courses are becoming increasingly popular for upskilling and reskilling. In addition to teaching technical skills, these courses also help professionals acquire soft skills for managers. They include practical projects, case studies, mentorship, and networking sessions. Such sessions help professionals enhance their teamwork skills, decision-making skills, communication skills, and other essential skills for managers.
3. Seeking Mentorship From Other Leaders
Actively listening to and observing other leaders, communicating with them, learning from their experiences, and seeking mentorship are some of the best ways for managers to acquire soft skills. However, one should not mindlessly follow the advice or leadership style of other managers. Professionals should articulate their goals, identify potential mentors, initiate contact with them, actively listen, seek feedback, and tailor it as per their requirements to improve their leadership skills.
What Role Does Emotional Intelligence Play in Managerial Success?
Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, express, and regulate one’s emotions and those of others. It includes five aspects—self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Understanding emotions is critical to building strong interpersonal relationships with team members. It also impacts the ability of a leader or manager to foster trust and create a safe and collaborative environment. Therefore, emotional intelligence is one of the most essential skills for managers. Moreover, managers with high emotional intelligence can inspire and motivate their teams better, thus increasing productivity. Hence, emotional intelligence directly impacts managerial success and enhances leadership skills.
How Can Effective Communication Enhance a Manager’s Performance?
According to Grammarly’s State of Business Communication Report 2023, leaders report that effective communication increases productivity by 72%, customer satisfaction by 63%, and employee confidence by 60%. These statistics show that effective communication skills boost the overall growth of an organization and enhance a manager’s performance.
Moreover, clear and concise communication helps managers set clear expectations with their team members and helps align organizational goals with individual goals. Effective communication also promotes team collaboration, reduces conflicts, gives clear feedback to team members, and increases employee engagement.
According to a report by TestGorilla, 91% of employers believe that the importance of soft skills has increased significantly compared to five years ago. Moreover, instead of resume screening, over 83% of employers prefer to test the soft skills of candidates through assessments. Therefore, upskilling and reskilling is a must to secure your career. Emeritus’ online leadership courses help professionals learn relevant soft skills for managers and gain insights into the latest industry trends. Explore our online leadership courses today to become an effective leader and advance your career.
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