Becoming an Excellent Manager

So, you’ve decided one of your goals is to become a manager.

Well, fortunately for you, there are skills you can pick up now that will help you get where you wish to be and more significantly, remain there. Top profession experts shared what they believe is essential to gain proficiency in to really start effectively managing others.

Understanding the Company’s Focus:

The days when companies just promote their greatest performer on the team into management are long past. Companies have learned that being the strongest programmer, accounting professional, salesperson, and so on does not always equate to being the strongest leader. Alternatively, who would deserve the coveted management slots? Those in the group who have a firm grip on what’s going on in the company in general. Strong leaders see the overall picture, share the vision, and can explain how each person’s function contributes to business goals and influences positive action. If you are wanting to move into a management position during your career, an excellent way to acquire direct exposure to some transferable skills would be volunteering to participate in a focus group. Ask to lead a project team. This will enhance and reinforce critical thinking, influence, conflict resolution, and more.

Emotional Maturity and Intelligence:

Extremely important for making employees feel invested in the company, emotional intelligence and empathy are key to ensuring they do their best work.  Developing fully matured emotional intelligence skills will be required to fully understand and work with other people

Leadership:

You may be thinking “duh,” but while it sounds obvious, we sometimes find companies rife with managers significantly lacking in leadership abilities. As you might imagine, or perhaps even experienced, managers without the proper skills create enormous problems for teams working beneath them. To hone those skills, offering to handle additional work, leading by example, and standing and addressing issues when things are not going efficiently will put you on the right track. These are all essential things a future manager will need experience in. If your colleagues do not respect you when you’re working among them, they won’t appreciate you when you’re in charge of them.

Constructively Use Feedback:

Taking feedback well is very important for any staff member, however being able to actually use that feedback is the mark of an excellent manager. Humility and coachability are very essential attributes in future leaders, yet as much as businesses discuss how to give great feedback really few talk about ways to receive feedback. Given the opportunity we often provide excellent feedback to ourselves, should we be listening.   Ideally, future supervisors ought to put themselves in situations where they can practice self-reflection, and seek out growth-oriented feedback to facilitate improvement of their leadership capabilities.

Focus on Listening:

If you want others to listen to you, you have actually got to become an excellent listener. Listen to understand and do your best to hold your comments until the speaker is finished.  We tend to listen to our own internal dialogue and interject our views as soon as the opportunity presents itself.  Learning to be a fantastic listener can give you a leg up on other management characteristics.

Gain Experience in Managing Uncertainty:

In today’s business environment, ambiguity is a common state of affairs. Any person who styles themselves a future leader needs to put themselves in contexts and situations where they have insufficient information and where circumstances are in constant shift. The more exposure early in the profession, the much more prepared to lead they will be in the future. If your business is handling layoffs, an IPO, a merger or other prolonged procedure, you’re going to need to be comfortable with potentially being out of the loop.

Coaching:

You need to be a good coach to be a great manager. A good coach knows how to encourage those that struggle and push when needed, but also how to administer tough love when it’s called for. Building a cohesive team that works well together can determine your success or failure as a manager.  To develop this ability, here are a few strategies worth trying.

  • Determine who the teachers are in your office.  These are the people you’ll notice really enjoy passing on skills and have a talent for effective communication
  • Volunteer to lead a small project, either in your office or even in your community.
  • Become a mentor to new employees; it’s great practice of your coaching skills.

The more experience you garner as a coach, the better prepared you will be to assume the mantle of leader.  As you take on projects, don’t miss the opportunity to ask others you see as having great coaching skills how they might improve on what you’re working on.  Evaluate your own performance and identify what went well and what needs improvement, but always keep your eyes on individuals you work with that have some of the skills you aspire to gain.  You will enhance your growth exponentially by observing those that have demonstrated success.

Follow these guidelines, learn everything you can, and treat the people you work with well.  It takes many personalities to grow a successful company and learning how best to work with them all will take you a long way to becoming an outstanding manager.

Whether you’re looking for a job with a high salary or one with cool job perks (or both!), consider contacting a professional staffing agency. Are you in IT and looking for a job in Dallas-Fort Worth? Maxsys Solutions is one of the area’s exceptional IT Staffing Agencies.