Developing as an Effective Manager: Key Skills and Abilities

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In "Why It's Time to Change Our Views on Management and the Role of Manager," I underscore the renewed importance of this role in our world of uncertainty and change. Here, I'll drill down into some of the specific attributes you need to survive and thrive in this role.

Workplace Demographics Driving Demand for New Managers

We are living and working through an interesting transition period in the workforce. As older workers move into retirement or opt for part-time work, younger employees are moving into positions of responsibility.

Unfortunately, the pace of experienced workers exiting or reducing their daily involvement exceeds that of our ability to grow and develop new managers and leaders. There is a consistent demand across many sectors for management talent. In spite of the noise and news about machines taking our jobs, there is still a consistently strong demand for those with the skills to support the work of others. 

Management Can Be Rewarding, But It is Not for Everyone

On the surface, the idea of guiding others and getting involved in hiring and employee development sounds exciting and even exotic to some. In reality, the role is incredibly demanding and completely focused on supporting and guiding the work of others while meeting the needs of your boss, your boss's boss, and other peers and customers.

If you do not enjoy conducting difficult conversations, making presentations, navigating politics or even terminating employees, this can be a very uncomfortable role. 

"Why the Role of Manager Might Be a Mistake for You" outlines a number of the realities of this challenging role that merit consideration before you jump into it. 

Effective Managers: 10 Personal Attributes

I believe anyone can be a good manager. It is a trainable skill as much as it is an inherent ability; as much science as art. Here are ten personal attributes that make you a better manager:

  • You believe information should be shared, not hoarded.
  • You acknowledge errors, but don't apologize for trying.
  • You project authority.
  • You're consistent in your views, but willing to entertain new perspectives and learn better ways of doing things.
  • You set and achieve goals within predetermined timetables.
  • You keep your word, to cultivate trust among others.
  • You are outgoing and gregarious, yet always professional.
  • You're willing to hire and groom burgeoning talent, for success.

Some of the items are capable of being strengthened with coaching or training. Others are character related, and some just reflect your nature. There are many exceptions to the list as well, so if you are an introvert and conservative versus an extrovert and "a little bit crazy," don't be frightened away from the role.

On the other hand, self-confidence, character, an approach that is more inclusive than exclusive and a style that reflects an organization with a focus on results are all absolute must-haves for success.

The Bottom Line

Management is a rewarding career, where you have the unique opportunity to serve your firm while supporting the development of your team members. Great managers are masters of getting the work done and masters of creating opportunities for their team members to showcase and develop their talents. While not every day is a party, the role for the right person with the right attitude has a great deal to offer.