It’s often been said that a team is only as strong as the manager. Are you delivering results but finding morale is down? Do your team have a strong bond but aren’t working as well as they should?
A manager’s style trickles down into a workforce and striking a balance between results and job satisfaction is hugely integral to the growth and well-being of your team.
‘The whole package’ is a bit of a cliché in the business world, but even today it still rings true. Take a look at our list of management skills no leader should be without, and see if your repertoire’s lacking these key workday traits.
1. Are you a leader or a follower?
We’ll start with the obvious – as a manager, it goes without saying you should also be a leader. Sounds like it’s not worth mentioning really, right? Wrong. Leadership is a crucial skill that many managers seem to lack.
Do you inspire your team? Do they look at Monday mornings as an opportunity? A great manager leads their team with trust, confidence and direction. Implementing these three attributes is key to making a team know their time is worthwhile and beneficial from Monday 09:00 to Friday 17:00. Which leads us onto our second point.
2. Talking the talk – communication is key
Any manager worth their salt knows that strong communication skills foster equally strong relationships amongst their team.
Pay full attention to any problems or concerns your team are voicing. Make sure tasks and challenges are laid out clearly and in an achievable manner. Adapt your communication to suit each employee’s personality.
If a smooth workflow is what you’re after, effective communication that’s empathetic and personal makes things a whole lot easier, even if it’s just a short morning chit chat.
3. Provide regular feedback
When we’re at school, we get feedback all the time – whether it was top marks, an A+ or the dreaded “must try harder” scribbled at the bottom of the workbook – our work was constantly reinforced by people guiding our way through every subject.
As we move away from formal education, sometimes the feedback and constructive criticism we were used to as kids can stop. This can make it difficult to know whether we’re actually doing well at our job. Do we need to improve? Should you build on the great work you just delivered to make it even better? Are you heading in the right direction?
Be sure you’re using your interactions with the team as an opportunity to let your employees know how they’re doing. It’s an area a lot of managers neglect and is a super effective tool.
4. Adapting to multi-generational teams
Adaptability is another hugely important skill that managers should be well versed in, especially when it comes to working with employees across generations.
With the largest workforce – Baby Boomers – making way for Millennials, adapting to what different generations expect from their work environment makes for a more effective team dynamic.
5. Building relationships brick by brick
Whether it’s helping shape their career goals, making them feel valued, or just getting to know them on a personal level, having a rock-solid relationship with people throughout your team is one of the most important skills you can have in a managerial role.
In some ways, it’s like being a team leader and a team player at the same time. Making yourself seem like you’re not above your team goes a long way to their growth and satisfaction – ask them about their hobbies, crack a joke every now and then, treat them when they’ve gone above and beyond.
Employees who feel valued go the extra mile, bring in results and receive a sense of achievement that would be missing without those strong relationships. Strengthen the bonds within your team to avoid both shaky business and a monotonous work week.
6. Developing their skills
Similar to our last entry – if employees know their career is developing, that satisfaction translates into a contented, focused workforce. If they feel like they’re treading water, month after month – even year after year – then that’s when things can stagnate.
The opportunity to learn and grow gives your team something to work towards, so developing a clear career progression for them and following up on it should be a big priority.
7. Do the right thing – decision making
Are you a bit of a fence-sitter when it comes to decision making? If it took you a while to answer that question, you might be. In the world of small business, quick-thinking and a strong backbone are absolute must-haves.
That said, we’re not saying hasty hires and rash ideas are the way forward. Look at the bigger picture, evaluate what’s important and what’s not, and consider the outcomes when you decide.
Whatever the result of your decision – right or wrong – make sure you use it as an opportunity to learn. Avoiding or applying that same decision next time around is key to the progression of your team and yourself.
8. The clock is ticking – time management
Are you and your employees carrying work out in good time or are you stretched between tasks? If it’s getting to a point where the team works late each day, then consider how well you’re managing your time. A working culture that interferes with day-to-day life is certainly not what people look for in a career.
Prioritising and delegating makes hitting targets more achievable. Make to-do lists. Eliminate distractions. Take breaks when you need to. Complete one action before you move onto another.
Saving time and energy by not spreading yourself too thin across multiple tasks speaks of your skills as a leader.
9. The fine art of conflict resolution
It will happen sooner or later, so be on your toes with a conflict resolution plan when employees disagree with one another or management.
Conflicts within the workforce contribute to an unpleasant atmosphere and negative working culture – so, handling them in an effective manner helps employees reach a shared understanding, rebuilds team spirit and regains focus amongst employees.
Without it, functioning smoothly is a much more difficult task, so it’s worth having something in place if problems do arise.
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