4 Essential Soft Skills For Managerial Positions
Humor me by picturing this situation in your head for a minute: You are considering submitting an application for a position of a manager at an IT company, engineering firm, etc and you are hoping that they will consider you as a candidate and give you a chance to prove your abilities.
Now imagine that you got past the preliminary screening round and are preparing for your interview. They are quite likely to ask questions that go back to your skills, experience and motivation. It is necessary to have an in-depth understanding of the skills you will need for when and if you decide to take a leap and step into the role of a manager especially in times like these.
Let us take a look at a few nameable competencies that will not only impress your interviewer, but will also come in handy with the first ever team that will be working under you.
Adaptability is defined as the ability to be flexible to be able to respond to changing factors and conditions, and adjust to said changes. This is one of the skills that is highly valued at every workplace as all businesses or industries at one point or the other witnesses some changes that require understanding and adjusting to them accordingly.
With the outbreak of COVID-19 and the pandemic, it is certain that almost all companies had to get on with the times, change their policies to include work from home and switch to remote work for an unspecified amount of time. To be able to successfully execute such changes- they need the support of their leaders/ managers who go on to support the employees.
In order to be a good manager, you will have to learn to get comfortable with unexpected changes, situations and adversities.
No one is good at delegating tasks right from day one, this is a skill that you have to be patient with and learn as you start to spend more time with your team. While effective task delegation is absolutely essential to a team’s success, you will need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your team members.
It might be convenient to leave all the major, laborious tasks to your most experienced players, but that way you would only manage to just accomplish the task. It is important to not repeat this, since you might end up burdening one or two employees with more work than they have the bandwidth for, and no learning will take place for new employees.
The key to setting your team/ employees up for success is by providing all the training, resources and support they might need from you and guiding them in the right direction. Of course, you do not want to micromanage your employees, but employing smooth, two-way communication channels often prove to be helpful. Ensuring that your team is comfortable with asking questions, and with admitting their weaknesses is foremost.
Acquiring this skill requires you to be tolerant, and be okay with a trial and error process as you gradually understand what works best for you and your team.
Empathy is not necessarily a new skill, but it is only recently that industry leaders have recognized it as one of the most crucial and beneficial leadership skills. Yes, communication and task delegation are a priority, but if you cannot be empathetic to your employees' needs and situations, then you are more likely to be adding stress to their lives.
This is especially true considering the amount of hardships and losses people have witnessed over the last one year and a half. As a manager, you want to be in tune with what your employees need, and when they need to take time off, and respect those needs.
As a manager, it is also your responsibility to be up-to-date with and make sure your company has the right amount of support and resources available for grieving employees, employees who might be struggling with their mental and physical health. One way to do this is by putting yourself in the employee’s shoes, or think about how what they are going through might make you feel. This will help you get a better understanding of when to check in, ask questions and take necessary actions.
You might also want to let them know that there is someone who can cover for them and a plan is in place in case they need to take time off.
As the term suggests, if you are going to become a manager, you will need to come to terms with making decisions. More often than not, once you step into a leadership role, you will be asked for your opinion, and will be requested to take charge. These can include time sensitive decisions, making the tough choice which might lead to some of the hardest decisions you have to make.
Making a decision is not a temporary in the moment kind of thing, your decisions will impact the future of your team, your company and how everything else is handled. While this may sound overwhelming and might even make you afraid, the key is to be strategic and to accept that you are just going to have to make decisions from now on.
One way to make strategic, long term decisions is by being clear headed. When you are presented with two or more choices or with a situation, you are likely to get an emotional reaction to it. In such cases, it is cardinal that you remain calm, and in control of your emotions, and to let logic guide your decisions.
For you to be an effective decision maker, it is imperative that you are on good terms with uncertainty. When faced with ambiguous situations, try to fully understand the situation and focus on facts as much as possible.
In this article, we discussed 4 soft skills that are paramount to your success as a manager and/ or leadership role in a company. These skills are not limited to any one industry, but are common across all industries, and the sooner you start polishing them, the better off you will be.
Click the link below to read more about the in-demand technicals skills for an IT engineer:
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