Great managers have technical skills, critical thinking skills and people skills. What we mean by technical skills, are the physical and mental skills required to do the job. The critical thinking skills needed by great managers represent the ability to ask who, what, where, why and how things are done or what problems occurred. Good people skills that great managers benefit from are defined as the ability to listen, to communicate and to relate to others on a personal or professional level. I believe it is in this area of managing people we need to refocus, go back and repeat the things that we did that helped us become managers in the first place.
One would think that because it is 2017, things should be easier for a manager or a leader, but the opposite is true. People who set themselves up to be managers or leaders require skills that we have conditioned out of them by sending them to rote driven education factories. Most aged people today have worked in environments where creativity was in the hands of artists, not a prerequisite for the position. We made sure the average person stops being creative when they were about 7 years old and started school (‘Just repeat everything I say.’). This goes on all the way through university even, then… you come to work and today the catch cry is creativity, be different etc.
We need to reintroduce this thought pattern into our education systems in a way that we produce individuals that can stand alone and think independently. We need to reteach people that they are valuable, competent and resourceful beings, we need to instill a can-do attitude into those who are leaving our education halls and we need to show that we are engaged with humanity, will not accept ‘ok’ for a standard and will not be afraid to help before asked.
How do we as managers or leaders show others that we are there to help them succeed? We need to revise our concept of what we are in the scheme of things. Our job is to ensure our people are using the skills they have learnt and that they are working to the best of their ability.
Communication: This involves the transfer of information from one person to another and ensures mutual understanding. There is nothing hard about it, except in the modern world, we have come to rely on electronics to communicate for us. Physically sit and write a short note to your people on paper with a pen. (Old times.)
Tolerance: Ethnic backgrounds today require us to be more tolerant than we have ever been, the everyday stresses of life or new work laws require us to be more tolerant and the fact of the global society within the workforce forces tolerance.
Empathy: Today more than ever before, we need to put ourselves in others’ shoes. The more we understand the story from the other person’s view, the more trust we get. Apart from the work issues, we need to be empathetic about educational, health and social issues.
Patience: As the electronic world dictates instant results, we need to be patient with those for whom the electronic world is still a mystery. Old fashioned communications with customers at the help desk require immeasurable amounts of patience.
Feedback/conflict resolution: Being able to resolve conflict in the workplace is a skill that many people lack today. Having a customer walk away feeling they are respected and were listened to guarantees success and trust. Due to the global society within the workforce, feedback and conflict resolution are key skills for managers and leaders today.