Whether you are a first-time manager, have been on the job for a while or are running your own business, you need certain skills and qualities to do your work effectively.
Acquiring new skills or improving on what you have will help you successfully handle your responsibilities with the organisation or in your business.
Here is a list of traits managers must have:
Expertise. Aim to become outstanding in your technical knowledge of a particular field, whether you are in accounting, banking, law, information technology or engineering. This is your profession, and you need to know your stuff. Being proficient is important as this will give you credibility among your peers, colleagues and staff.
Experience. It is not the number of years you have been on the job that counts, but how well you do it. The ability to multi-task, negotiate, solve problems and get results is what makes you a great manager. Remember that the basic role of a manager is to utilise resources and accomplish goals.
Achievements. Strive to improve productivity by achieving your own goals and ensuring that your staff meet the targets you set for them. Your individual and team goals need not always be big ones, but they must have an impact on the business and the image of the company.
Business acumen. This is essential if you want to run your own business or if you are determined to make it to senior management. This trait is demonstrated best in your ability to increase the bottom line. You may consider working towards a Master of Business Administration degree to hone your business skills.
Good communication. Having competent staff is crucial to your success. Talk to them individually to get feedback on their job satisfaction. Visit offices and sites, and interact with all levels of staff. This will engage them and boost performance levels.
Numeracy. As a manager, you will be spending a lot of time on reviewing reports, preparing budgets, forecasts and cash flow statements. You need to have a knack for numbers and details as well as a good overall understanding of financial matters.
Professionalism. To manage others, you first need to manage yourself. Carry yourself well, speak in a cultivated manner, treat your team as professionals and strive to work well with others.
Integrity. A respected manager sticks to his principles, treats people fairly and takes the high road where possible. Do not allow yourself to get embroiled in petty issues.
Critical thinking. This is an essential component in management as it requires you to think conceptually to manage systems and structures. Enrol in courses that boost critical thinking to help you analyse issues better, make better decisions and solve problems more creatively.
Leadership. Your staff members look to you for direction and advice. As their manager, you also have to coach them in certain tasks and ensure that they get the training they need.
Besides cultivating the above qualities and skills, a good manager is also expected to be adept at the following:
Planning and organising. Set a good example to your staff by always meeting your own deadlines, planning for contingencies and thinking things through systematically. You should also have a consistent approach to staff development, meeting goals and planning for the future.
Implementing control measures. As a leader in your organisation, you are responsible for monitoring and imposing controls to ensure that team and organisational goals are met. These controls can be in the form of deadlines, cost-saving measures, operating procedures and even dress codes.
Providing feedback and staff development. Besides the annual performance appraisal, it is good practice to offer continual feedback to your staff. Don’t just focus on what they do not get right — this will only discourage and demotivate them. Praise them for jobs well done, and show your appreciation sincerely. Schedule regular meetings (for instance, on a quarterly basis) with each individual to discuss his ongoing development.
Navigating office politics. Do not show favouritism, and do not have double standards. Make it clear that you treat everyone as equals based on their work performance alone.
To lead a team of people, you need to earn their respect first. Believe it or not, respect will always be given to the manager who comes across as intelligent, reasonable and fair-minded, and has a pleasant and approachable manner.