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Leadership Skills for Managers

All leaders are managers, but not all managers are leaders. A lot rides on a manager’s back in an organization. Whether it is the overall outcome of a project, the well-being and growth of their team, the results their team can produce, and so much more. A manager is required to lead their team, the project, the goals, the plans. They are responsible for many things and wear many hats. The one role or hat that encompasses all others is that of a leader. As their title suggests, they are required to ‘manage’ everything. But the difference between a manager simply managing rather than excelling is their ability to lead.

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.”Jim Rohn

Here are the leadership skills a manager needs to excel and grow in their career.

Communication skills

This is something that’s not important just for managers. Everyone, in any walk of life will benefit from strong communication skills. But for a manager, they need it for a myriad of things. To be able to get across to each member of the team, to make sure a brief is understood by the team, to negotiate terms with certain parties, to build and maintain relationships with bosses and seniors, to encourage and train the team, to gain trust, to instill required qualities, etc.

Motivational skills

One of the most complex leadership skills for managers is motivation. To be able to inspire greatness in another person is a skill that doesn’t come easily. It takes years of experience and practice, and a certain way of life and being to inspire another person. But that is an important skill tasked to managers. To be able to do this, a manager needs to understand each employee and what drives that person. While an adequate salary is essential, on a daily basis other kinds of motivation is important too. Whether in the form of rewards, celebrating every win, allowing for experimentation and failure, self-esteem-building activities, productivity activities, increased autonomy, building trust, etc.

Delegation

Managers are notorious for trying to do everything themselves. Because they know how to do it in the most efficient way. But the better way to do it, incorporating those leadership skills for managers, is to delegate. It is not feasible for one person to carry out the tasks of a team. Even if they know their way around better. Many managers struggle with this although it is the more efficient way to work. Some struggle because they think it might make them look weak or incapable. But it is just the opposite. Only a leader and a strong one at that can manage multiple tasks through others. This not only eases the pressure on the manager but also allows the team to learn rather than simply carry out instructions. Just like they did when they moved from being an expert to being a manager.

Decision-making

This might sound like an easy thing to do, but decision-making is a huge responsibility. Every manager will come across difficult situations that need either a quick solution or a well-thought out one. And that’s where the leadership skills for managers truly shows their integrity, vision, experience, and expertise. Making the right decision can avert a disaster, set an example, change the course of a project, have long-term implications, and be the key to success. It needs courage, know-how, and a whole lot of responsibility.

Innovation and creativity

Innovation is at the top of the leadership skills managers should have. Without innovation, a manager and their team will be stuck in a rut and not even know why. Innovation is required on a regular basis. A lack of innovation means moving backwards because the world around is constantly changing and moving forwards. Innovation allows managers to keep up with the surroundings and even lead from the front. With innovation also comes creativity. Most of what managers are faced with do not have a standard solution or a clear road ahead. This calls for creativity and innovation to go hand in hand and carve a path no one else might have even thought of before.

Vision

To be able to successfully carry out long term plans or even smaller projects, it is essential to have vision. To be able to plan for something in the future a manager has to be able to stay on top of the project and not let the complexity or multiple aspects of the project consume them. They have to have the foresight to break down the project into attainable goals for themselves and their team. A manager with vision is a leader. One who can articulate a journey through their vision and achieve their goals.

It is essential for a manager to understand the intricacies of these multiple hats to be donned. Putting all these skills together will make a manager a leader.

Summary

Q. Why is innovation an important leadership skill for managers to possess?
A. Without innovation, a manager and their team will be stuck in a rut and not even know why. A lack of innovation means moving backwards because the world around is constantly changing and moving forwards.

Q. How does delegation help make work more efficient?
A. It is not feasible for one person to carry out the tasks of a team. Only a strong leader can manage multiple tasks through others. This not only eases the pressure on the manager but also allows the team to learn rather than simply carry out instructions.

National University of Singapore Business School Accelerated Management Program

Content Admin

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