Top 10 Management Skills You Need to Succeed in the Workplace
As you gain more experience and climb the career ladder, you may need to develop new skills that aren't necessarily related to your technical expertise.
For example, good managers have exceptional people management skills: they can motivate and encourage others and spot leadership potential in other people. These are skills that can only be gained from years of experience, however.
Suppose you aim to become a manager at some point within your career. In that case, it's important to understand what management is all about and what management skills you may need to handle these new responsibilities.
In some respects, management is about delegating projects and leading by example. Management could be about running a team and ensuring that everyone has the tools and resources to manage their job.
However, good managers are also responsible for creating a flourishing environment.
It's about creating a working culture that supports staff, motivates them and rewards individuals for their success.
Much has been written about the need to lead from the top, and the reason some companies thrive while others fail can often be traced back to good or bad management styles.
With this in mind, we're looking at the top management skills you need to succeed in the workplace. We'll explain what management skills you need, provide an example of these skills being used in practice and explain how you can improve your management skills.
The Management Skills You Will Need for Workplace Success
Before you submit your job application, you need to consider whether you have the right management skills in place.
You should highlight these skills within your resume or your cover letter and be prepared to talk about these skills in-depth during a job interview.
Employers are looking for managerial candidates who have a good track record of achieving projects, inspiring fellow workers, and leading by example.
In addition, the best managers can spot and nurture potential amongst others and facilitate a thriving working environment that leads to long-term employee retention.
With this in mind, you may wish to consider highlighting the following management skills or leadership skills in your resume.
Ability to Delegate
One of the hardest things to learn in the early years of management is how to delegate effectively.
Until this point in your career, your job has literally focused on doing your work's technical side.
However, as you approach a management position, you need to step away from the day-to-day operations and focus on enabling others to get the work done.
Delegation isn't about sitting back and relaxing while others do the hard work. Instead, it's a skill that you will develop.
You will learn how to spot the signs of potential in others and ascertain ways to delegate tasks to individuals that suit their strengths.
Delegation is about organization. It's about finding ways to get the work done to a high standard as quickly as possible, on time and under budget.
You need to learn when to delegate tasks to your existing staff and spot the signs that you need additional resourcing. In addition, you can delegate to external contractors, such as agencies or freelancers.
Knowing how to delegate and make sure the tasks are achieved on time is a key managerial skill and it is one that you will develop and enhance as your career progresses.
As a manager, you will have to learn how to provide constructive feedback to your colleagues that will allow them to feel positive about their work yet help them make tangible improvements.
A core part of your role will be to manage performance reviews and identify any training needs within your team.
Therefore, you will need to think carefully about how you plan to critique your team's capabilities, especially if you have progressed through the ranks and previously worked in a junior role with those colleagues.
Hiring managers want to know how you can deal with performance issues constructively. How can you help staff work to their potential yet still find ways to improve their skills?
You need to show that your staff respect you and listen to what you are saying, yet still feel empowered and motivated in what they do.
You may wish to provide examples of when you have used the positive sandwich. This is where you frame any potential negative feedback with two positive points, therefore creating a positive ratio to your feedback.
Another core managerial skill is knowing how to use conflict resolution techniques to overcome any issues preventing your team from working as effectively as possible.
This isn't always something that should be escalated to your HR department.
Instead, good managers should be able to nip potential issues in the bud before these issues are out of control. You shouldn't wait until someone airs a formal grievance to manage any issues.
A manager's strength is having the observational skills to notice where a problem could potentially arise and prevent it from occurring.
Can you give examples of where you needed conflict resolution skills to prevent workplace issues between two staff members?
For example, perhaps there was a personality clash that could be controlled via a different seating plan. Or maybe you've had to juggle different priorities from different departments.
Where possible, you need to show the context of the issue, explain how you handled it, and give an outcome of how work improved there-on-in.
When you are a manager, you are no longer solely responsible for your own workload. Therefore, you have to think carefully about how to manage the workloads of your team.
Your management skills should rely on interpersonal skills that enable you to work carefully with others.
Interpersonal skills are far-reaching. They can be a broad term for communication, teamwork, dependability, flexibility, active listening, patience and empathy.
It's not enough to simply state that you have great interpersonal skills. You need to provide evidence and context. Without that, the phrase could be considered meaningless jargon.
To attract a hiring manager's attention, you need to have clear examples of moments where you have demonstrated these interpersonal skills. For example, perhaps you've been able to offer flexible working patterns to support a co-worker during a tough time.
Or maybe you can share how you've encouraged a strong team ethos and why you feel it is so beneficial.
The more you can justify and support your claims of interpersonal skills, the more you will be able to impress a hiring manager.
As a manager, you will be responsible for managing the business strategy. For example, perhaps you are responsible for developing new products or services, or you need to focus on a new area of business growth.
The role of a manager is three-fold. It's not just about doing the job itself and managing those within your team.
It's also about looking to the future and finding new ways of working that can lead to business growth.
Are you aware of what else is going on within the business and how you can take steps to meet the wider business objectives? Perhaps you need to work with the senior management team to confirm priorities.
You need to think strategically within your team as you assess capabilities. For example, could individuals work more effectively if they had better equipment? Or could you see a return on your investment if you sent your team members onto a training program?
Within a job application context, you need to show your management skills via your strategic thinking.
Try to give examples of moments where you've looked ahead to the future. For example, perhaps you identified that you lacked specific skills, rectifying that through additional resourcing, which led to improved output.
Where possible, you need to give as much context to the section as possible and share the outcomes of that strategic thinking.
Business or Industry Awareness
It stands to reason that good managers are well aware of the business plans and the wider sector.
Therefore, you need to pay close attention to trends taking place and understand how to present a business case for investment in new areas.
You should also keep an eye on local economic, societal, and political issues and be aware of how you can take advantage of new opportunities.
The more you know about your industry, the easier it is for your team to respect and admire your knowledge. Good managers can inspire their teams to want to learn more about what you can do.
They can give new recruits and junior members a passion for what they do and are happy to share their extensive knowledge widely.
It also goes without saying that managers need to be financially prudent. They need to be aware of how to manage budgets and make sure that any decisions made are cost-effective, with the capability to generate a strong return on investment.
Therefore, you should highlight your financial literacy skills to showcase how and when you've made effective decisions that have ultimately improved your business's bottom line.
How Can You Develop Your Management Skills?
As we mentioned, the skills listed above are ones that you will need to learn rather than intrinsically have.
As you gain more experience, you will generate better management skills – no one is a perfect manager on their first try. But by listening carefully to your team, being flexible, and collaborating with others, you can improve and become better as a manager.
So, what do you need to do to develop your skills?
Implement a Comprehensive Training and Development Plan
Firstly, you could implement a comprehensive training and development plan for you and your team.
The more you invest in your team and their careers, the more capable they will be, resulting in more success for the team as a whole.
It would help if you considered looking into training programs designed for managers; you can learn new techniques such as conflict resolution, how to communicate better with your co-workers, and what makes a good manager from other participants.
It's important to remember that training isn't about overcoming a weakness. Instead, it's about making sure that you continue to have the right skills to work to the best of your ability.
Think carefully about how you plan to seek feedback from others.
For example, if you are generating performance reviews for your team, ask them to submit their feedback on improving your skills to help them succeed. Great management is about communication and collaboration.
Perhaps you have unwittingly favored one person over another, or maybe your team doesn't feel that your project briefs are clear enough or they have enough timescales.
Establish a Team Ethos
You need to establish a team ethos where individuals feel empowered to talk to you openly and honestly and feedback is a crucial two-way process to establish this.
Practice your active listening skills. These are key because it's about learning how to pay attention to what is going on around you and being aware of what is not being said.
Your active listening means that you are always keeping an open mind and you're happy to listen to (and act upon) other people's ideas.
The more you can show that you are listening to other people and recalling information later, the more you will establish a team that works on trust and honesty. Your listening skills should focus carefully on what is happening around you.
Perhaps you can overhear some conversations suggesting unease between two colleagues. If your active listening has presented a challenge or an issue, you are better placed to implement solutions to overcome these issues before they escalate.
Focus On Communication
At any point, every single member of your team should be well aware of what they need to do, when it needs to be done, and, more importantly, why that task is important for the wider business strategy.
Good managers know that to empower their workers, they need to make staff feel that they are directly contributing to business growth.
Therefore, managers should ensure that their staff is aware of the business priorities and that employees feel that they can pitch ideas that could align with those business goals.
Once those ideas are pitched, good managers should reward their staff and make sure that any achievements are recognized and celebrated.
Even if you are not planning on applying for a managerial role just yet, these skills are important for everyone to succeed.
Therefore, regardless of which stage you are at, these skills are vital for helping you to work effectively.
It stands to reason that employers highly seek these skills because they represent leadership capabilities and managerial potential.
Therefore, if you can demonstrate practical examples of how you have used these skills (as well as any context or quantifiable outcomes), you may be in a better position to succeed in your job search and generate a higher earning potential.