Skills for managers

What is the one skill that will always come in handy for managers?

Managers and leaders are responsible for the results their teams bring. Their wins or losses are often turned into an assessment of the manager’s competencies. In order to guide their teams through victories repeatedly, managers need to become masters of multiple arts. Apart from effectively handling managerial processes like change management and delegation, managers need some skills that assist them in carrying out each and every job. Their efficacy is often a result of these skills only.
When we talk about the skills of a manager, we can begin by listing the technical skills. These are particular to their niche and vital for optimum performance. Beyond these, managers need skills that help problem-solving, such as critical thinking. But the list does not end here! The day-to-day operations of a manager also require them to possess several essential skills.
Managers typically handle teams that are made of varied people. Ensuring that work is done efficiently and that the team runs smoothly needs managers to master human skills. Human skills play a critical role in our personal and professional lives. Primarily, they are essential for building a cohesive team through mutual trust, respect, and negotiation.

You can read more about the top 10 human skills for managers here. 

One such skill which is vital for maneuvering the workplace’s daily business is listening. We typically do not worry a lot about listening. After all, as long as we are in the earshot, we are listening, right? But that is not the case. Generally, we are passive listeners, meaning that we do not put much effort into deriving meaning out of whatever we hear. This behavior can be pretty dangerous for managers. 

A lot is going on in teams – from professional bickering to personal gossip – and a manager needs to be aware of all of it. Navigating the office environment can become a massive challenge if the manager is unaware of the environment. Therefore, neglecting to listen is among the biggest mistakes a manager can make. This has become even more important in the remote working situations.

Managers who ignore what is being said lose touch with their teams. Those who do not listen are easily termed arrogant by team members who feel discouraged. In totality, not listening actively can cause several troubles for you. The lost ideas, engagement opportunities, and goodwill might not call back! 

Not listening for understanding is among the significant listening sins of a manager. Check out here what the others are.

Now that we understand how not listening hurts teams, we must look for a solution. The panacea lies in adopting a different approach – active listening. Active listening happens when people intentionally listen and attempt to understand others. You can use body language to demonstrate your attentiveness and raise questions to get more insights. 

This approach is constructive for managers as it brings multiple benefits – great interpersonal relationships, a lot of energetic ideas, and the reputation of a caring manager. Teams led by managers who practice active listening are undoubtedly happier and more productive. Hence, you should definitely try to become a better listener in the workplace. 

You can read more about active listening for managers here. 

While you are at it, you can also take the free active listening self-assessment. As the name suggests, the assessment will help you understand the nuances of your communication habits. It will also help you learn the crucial difference between active and passive listening. Importantly, you will be able to identify your weak areas as a communicator. The active listening self-assessment empowers you to develop as a communicator. Resultantly, you can grow into an influential manager.

Once you know your listening skills, you can check out the free active listening toolkit. The toolkit contains helpful content to master active listening and practice it with your team. With clear roadmaps and guidance, you can become a pro at active listening in no time! 

☝️Ok, this Dilbert had nothing to do with active listening. But it was damn funny to not be included. 😂

After all, managers can do their jobs the best only when they know what their team members feel. Sometimes, we might develop an unintentional habit of passive listening, which could harm us unnoticed. Therefore, it is crucial that you identify how well you are doing right now. 

Active listening is among the most critical skills of a manager, but undoubtedly not the only one. Revisit our last newsletter to check your progress on managing delegation at work. 

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