6 Proven Methods to Improve Management Skills
Published 3 May 2021 in Business Tips
It is super important for anyone in a leadership role to always be looking for ways to improve management skills for themselves, and those around them. We share six proven ways to do just that.
Managers are not only responsible for the work they do, they are responsible for other people as well. Some of the skills required to be an effective manager are taught in school, others are learned from research or years of working at a job.
However, just like software needs an update or becomes obsolete, management skills need to be updated and improved in order to catch up with the changes in the workplace.
This article discusses six ways to improve management skills.
Develop emotional intelligence
High emotional intelligence leads to improved communication, self-awareness and an understanding of other people. It leads to improved compassion for team members and improved team performance. Take an example of a previously punctual employee who suddenly starts to show up late.
Without emotional intelligence, a manager might resort to a stern talking to. Emotional intelligence however will dictate that the situation is approached with curiosity, patience and compassion.
High emotional intelligence also leads to better self-control as a manger doesn’t respond to every impulse. They are able to wait to cool down before addressing a difficult situation for instance. This can be an asset when it comes to decision making and can improve the work environment for everyone.
Try the following to improve emotional intelligence:
- Do a self-evaluation to determine your weak and strong points
- Ask for feedback about your conduct from trusted colleagues and friends and receive it with humility
- Observe how you communicate and how you react in negative and positive situations. Examine how this might affect others.
Consistency improves management skills in two ways; first it sets a standard for the way things should be done in the work place. Productivity is improved when everyone knows the processes they need to follow to get the job done. In some professions, encouraging consistency can lead to an increase in on-job safety.
Managers shouldn’t just tell people to stick to the processes, they should explain why it is important to do so. When people understand the why, it is easier to adhere.
The second way consistency improves management skills is that it builds trust in a manager. When a leader is known to be consistent with his words and his actions, it increases the morale and productivity of those he supervises. People like to work with a leader they can count on. The opposite is a manager who says one thing but means another or one who cannot be relied on in tough times.
Consistency also sets a good example for employees. They look to their manager’s behaviour to show them what is acceptable at work. A manager who lives up to his promises and walks the walk will inspire others to do the same.
Improve management skills by learning to manage expectations. As a manager, you are a bridge between upper management and your team. This means that you have to relay what your own managers need to your team as well as represent your team’s needs with upper management.
Learning to manage expectations can save you from over promising and under delivering. Be honest with your bosses and tell them what is possible given the resources available. In the same way, tell your team the truth and not what they need to hear. This will earn you the trust of both camps.
Prepare to make difficult choices
When you know that making hard decisions comes with the territory of being a manager, you will be able to equip yourself with the fortitude to make them. Such a situation can arise when for one reason or another you have to let an employee go. Even when you have built human connections with your team, there may be times you will have to let employees go.
With the right resources, you will know how to communicate as well as make the transition easier for the remaining teammates. Sometimes making a hard decision requires you to say no. Although uncomfortable for some, learning to say no has its own rewards.
Listening is one way to improve management skills. There is a lot that can be learned from paying attention to what employees and team mates say. When a leader gives others a chance to contribute, it allows for a wider pool of ideas, some of which can propel the organisation forward. It also helps to build team cohesion as everyone has a chance to voice their ideas.
Try active listening to make sure you are supporting your team and improving your own management skills. Active listening includes; paying attention, reflecting back what is said, asking for clarification, summarising what you have heard and keeping an eye on your body language as well. Nod once in a while and avoid crossing your arms.
There are numerous resources like courses and trainings that you can exploit to improve your management skills. Education should be an ongoing process because work, and the needs of the workforce keep evolving.
For instance, due to the pandemic, remote work is currently the only way some employees can do their jobs. An effective manager needs to learn the new ways to lead and motivate their remote teams. Even when more workers are able to fully return to offices, there will be new techniques managers need to learn to effectively lead.
For some, formal courses might not be an option. However, shadowing and mentorship programs are powerful ways to learn skills. Seeing what other managers do and being able to ask questions can help to improve management skills.
To those they work with, managers are seen as leaders, employees, team members, morale boosters and so much more. To keep up with these roles and deliver, there is a need to continuously improve their management skills.
Managers can rely on techniques like listening and consistency which involve dealings with other people as well as those like improving emotional intelligence which involve a manager investing in their own personal development.
About the Author
Gerald is a freelance writer with a pen that is keen for entrepreneurship, business and technology. When he isn't writing insightful articles on employee engagement and corporate culture, Gerald can be found writing for a number of media outlets.