As a manager, you are always faced with various challenges, day in and day out. One of the most difficult aspects of the job is people management. In fact, it is probably the most difficult of all, and this is because everyone has a different personality, different strengths and weaknesses, and even different approaches to the responsibilities handed out to them. Moreover, when you have to manage several people in your department, this can be quite a challenge, even for experienced managers.
Part of a manager’s strength is their soft skills. This is because when you possess these, managing your people can become easier. Not entirely easy, because the hurdles would still be present, but it would be so much better than if you did not have the necessary soft skills.
So, the question you probably have in mind right now is: what soft skills do you need? Let us discuss these in detail to help you become aware of what you should acquire to become effective in doing your job.
Strong Work Ethic
This is perhaps, the single most important soft skill a manager should have. When you possess this, everything else will fall into place. Having a strong work ethic means making sure you get the job done without compromising quality; it means working honestly and fairly, even when no one is watching. It also means reporting to work early, attending meetings on time, and completing projects on or before the deadline. Additionally, it refers to maintaining a high level of professionalism at the workplace, to contribute as much as you can to help your organization’s success.
When a manager has a strong work ethic, everyone in the team or department will look up to him. He will serve as a role model for all to emulate.
Leadership and Problem-Solving Skills
To be a manager, it is important that you know your people very well. You have to know what makes them tick, and you highlight on this. Give them motivation to become more productive, no matter how mundane and routine their tasks are. Becoming bored at what they do is inevitable and you need to be able to counter this productivity killer the moment you see it coming.
Leadership is one’s ability to influence others and inspire them to maintain their focus on the company or organization’s goals. A leader is a visionary, one who can think out of the box and provides answers even in your organization’s darkest moments.This ability motivates others to keep going, because they know that as their manager, you have the capacity and the strength to guide them all the way.
Problem-solving skills go well with leadership because it is the ability to think ahead; to anticipate possible issues and provide fixes or even preventive measures. Additionally, it means having the grace to work under pressure, to be able to think and act on pressing issues. It helps in one’s job as a manager because if we are unable to think and prepare in advance, to think out of the box, we could easily be overwhelmed with the problems that we have to contend with everyday.
Possessing strong leadership skills and problem-solving skills are two of the most essential soft skills that you, as a manager, need.
One of the biggest mistakes a manager could make is to believe that they have all the answers. Thinking that you are always right could cost you a lot, in terms of your relations with your subordinates. It is necessary that you keep an open-mind; learn from others just as they are learning from you. Be open to constructive criticism because it is through this that you will discover your shortcomings and be able to do something to improve.
When you are not open-minded, you run the risk of creating a communication gap between you and the people you are managing. If you often dismiss what others have to say then the next time they have some good ideas brewing in their minds, they would probably opt to keep it to themselves for fear of rejection.
As a manager, you should learn and practice these soft skills so that you can maximize your potentials, as well as that of your people.