The end of the year is a time where many find themselves taking a minute for self-reflection on their personal and professional lives: what has gone well, what hasn’t, and what can be improved upon for the upcoming year. But this upcoming new year is a biggie: it’s not only a new year, but a new decade—what are you going to do to make it really count? Recently, we offered up some advice to create a personal strategic plan as we head into the new year; but what if your strategic plan includes moving into a management role? What are some addendums to add to your personal strategic plan to ensure success in this venture?
There are 6 qualities that make managers indispensable and adding a mastery of these 6 qualities into your personal strategic plan will help to bolster your path into management.
Being a ‘solutions provider’, rather than a problem solver requires critical thinking skills with a slant toward solving, not just identifying, roadblocks, inefficiencies, or areas of improvement. Many managers can identify a problem, but the most successful managers bring a thoughtful solution as well, which requires critical thinking. Critical thinking refers to the ability to analyze information objectively and make a reasoned judgment. Managers are constantly being pulled in many directions and asked to address many issues all at once. Critical thinking allows a manager to approach a situation using logical thought and offer the best solution to address an issue. A solutions-oriented manager with a solid critical thinking foundation also is able to prioritize and delegate tasks without becoming overwhelmed.
Simply put, you can’t manage what you don’t measure, as the old saying goes. As a manager, you are responsible for more than just people, you are responsible for how the people, products and services you manage will make your business profitable. A manager should be able to interpret and respond to basic financial information or reports, as well as uncover roadblocks to success and make decisions to boost profitability and efficiency. Be sure to know your Key Performance Indicators, how they relate and respond to one another, how to manage these key areas and how to articulate what is happening to your superiors. And by articulating, do yourself a favor and learn to articulate in person and in writing. Which leads us to...
Communication is key and everyone has their own style of communicating. Positive communication skills can improve your relationships, minimize misunderstandings, and improve your work or personal life overall. Communication is a two-way street and the most effective communicators not only are able to adapt communication styles based upon their audience, they are able to actively listen to make the person they are communicating with feel at ease and important. As you grow in your position, pay attention to your verbal communication skills and look for filler words such as ‘uhm, so, like’ and so on. Try recording yourself talking and listen for confidence in your words, sentence structure and tone of voice. If you are particularly brave, film yourself and watch your body language and posture cues as well. Then, spend some time in 2020 developing your written communication skills. Writing reports for a boss or board of directors is a necessary skill as you move up the ladder to success.
Leadership is much more than a position title and is not granted solely based on merit or the size of your paycheck. Leaders must embody characteristics that reach beyond the scope of their duties. Someone with strong leadership qualities can coach others to a higher level of achievement through constructive feedback and leading by example. As labor shortages grow, those with strong leadership abilities are becoming truly indispensable.
As children, it was often a compliment to be considered one who “played well with others,” and it turns out that those children who were inclusive and open to others games on the playground possessed skills that translate into leadership skills. Being able to effectively collaborate will help you build rapport with others, form alliances and negotiate effectively. This collaboration transcends just your own team; consider your collaboration with other departments, industry experts, vendors, and business leaders from other sectors as well.
Managers are expected to be able to take a look at things conceptually and see the big picture and how it relates to operations, staffing, training, member relations, and so on…Being able to manage a project is crucial as the industry continues to evolve and transform. Managers who are able to manage capital improvements and take a project from conception to the planning phase and on to completion will thrive over the next five years.
How many of these skills do you feel you possess already, and what areas do you feel as though you could improve upon in the New Year? Take some time to map out a plan to increase your knowledge in those areas.
What skills can we help to develop in the industry in your opinion? We want to hear from you as we continue developing training programs for staff and managers of the future!