How do you become a good manager?
Managing a team is not easy. It takes self-awareness, practice, and courage to be open to feedback and change. But the great thing is – becoming a good manager can be learned. Just like any skill, it takes time, training, and a good amount of trial and error to build experience.
Over the years in my coaching practice, I’ve discovered five key managerial skills that are essential for any new manager. Understanding and practicing these skills will help you lead your staff with confidence in challenging times and inspire them when things get tough!
How can I be an effective manager?
New managers often come to me wondering how to be an effective manager. The answer is simple – a good manager is someone who has effective leadership skills. They understand that people are what makes a team, department, or company successful and so they focus on the talents of their employees to help them achieve personal fulfillment.
A good manager can translate vision into concrete yet achievable goals over time as priorities change. Good managers also help identify an individual employee’s purpose to ensure achievement leads toward both professional success and personal gratification.
But what does that look like, and where do you begin? Let’s take a closer look at the 5 Key Managerial skills every good manager needs to succeed.
#1 – A Growth Mindset
Growth mindset, a term first defined by Carol Dweck, means that you believe that you are in control of your performance and ability, and more importantly, you believe you can learn and improve. A good manager extends this idea to their direct reports, believing in their ability to learn and improve as well.
When coming up with a solution to a problem, good managers have an open mind and don’t assume that they know all of the answers. This helps start discussions about different potential solutions which can lead to identifying better ways of understanding how others see things, creating innovative solutions.
A growth mindset also means you are willing to continuously improve yourself both personally and professionally. You’re open to learning from others, both from their successes and their failures. You spend time teaching and learning, and not just putting out fires or making decisions.
#2 – Effective Communication
A good manager is someone who listens to employees and demonstrates a curiosity to ask questions tapping into their team’s expertise. They lean in on conflict and help people resolve misunderstandings when they arise.
A great communicator also takes time out of the day for themselves and each member individually while maintaining effective communication with them all; this includes knowing what motivates them, what they want out of their career, or if there are any personal obstacles that may be hindering success such as health problems or family crises happening outside work hours which need attention.
Effective communication also means that a good manager can provide the rationale as to why decisions are made so that the team can align behind the decisions and work together to execute and achieve the goals.
#3 – Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence (or EQ) for managers can be defined as the ability to accurately perceive your own and others’ emotions; to understand the signals that emotions send about relationships, and to manage your own and others’ emotions. You can learn more about EQ here.
As a good manager, having a high EQ means that you are a thoughtful individual who knows how to work with people. Managers with a high EQ constantly reflect on their strengths and weaknesses, while also being aware of the needs of those they are leading.
A great manager understands when it’s appropriate for them to adjust their style based on what may be best suited for different kinds of personalities that come up in an organization or team environment.
Managers with emotional intelligence create a psychologically safe environment enabling their team to express themselves, their ideas, their concerns. They take the time to be self-aware of how they show up, how they feel, communicate, and motivate and support others.
#4 – Make Decisions and Accept Responsibility
Making decisions is a key reality for all managers, but the best managers are the ones who also empower their team members and colleagues, set clear expectations for themselves and others, and correct unwanted behavior or performance when it happens.
A good leader has the courage to make difficult decisions so that they can deliver on their commitments. Accepting responsibility means that they can recognize and reward positive behaviour, performance and results while managing stress levels of the team.
Making decisions and accepting responsibility is a leader’s role, and a good manager is always striving to become a better leader.
#5 – Take A Leadership Role
This brings us to our next key skill – taking a leadership role. Being a good manager means learning and working towards becoming a better leader. And what do leaders do?
Leaders treat others including subordinates as having equal stature. Good managers who are leaders consistently show that they are human: they are personable, they show that they’re not perfect and own up to their mistakes. When it comes time for decision-making or problem-solving, these leaders have very clear individual values which can be used during interactions with employees – especially if an employee is feeling overworked or underappreciated.
Leaders are positive ambassadors for both management and employees. They can pivot and balance with tact and professionalism when communicating and representing both ideas and decisions.
Leaders can do this because they have a clear understanding of the organization’s culture, values, vision, and goals. They’re not afraid of facing criticism when necessary – but also know how to be humble when it is needed.
Good managers who are leaders recognize that their job is far bigger than just overarching goals: long-term success is made up of many small, day-to-day interactions.
Good managers who are leaders also recognize that their job is not just about getting tasks done – they’re able to make work a pleasurable experience for everyone on the team and in turn build loyalty towards the company.
How can you start using these 5 managerial skills?
You can’t become a good manager overnight – practicing these skills is the key to becoming a better leader, and bringing out your full potential as an individual. But every journey starts with the first step!
You can begin by learning more about developing your emotional intelligence, which is one of the strongest predictors of performance known. You might try getting your EQ measured using a proven Emotional Intelligence inventory profile, such as the EQi-2.0.
Leadership coaching (also known as executive coaching) is another way to begin to develop your managerial skills. Managers who partner with a leadership coach and who also learn coaching skills increase their productivity and self-confidence, and grow personally and professionally to achieve results and lead teams to propel higher.
Are you ready to take the steps necessary to become a good manager? Book a call with me and let’s talk about how YOU can become not only a good manager but a great leader.