6 Important Skills Every New Manager Should Have
Promotions are the fruits we gain for all the hard work we put into our professional duties. And it is a great feeling to move on to the next level at work.
So congratulations if you’ve just been promoted or are soon going to be.
But with higher positions comes greater responsibilities. And higher the number of skills you need to fulfil those responsibilities.
I know a friend who had to promote the people in his team to make management and division of labour easier.
However, he found that not having the relevant skills to manage at that level made it hard for the promoted employees.
So what changes when one gets promoted?
When you are a part of the team, you are responsible only for yourself. But when you head a team or division, you are equally responsible for their performance too.
And that is where one needs to rise to the challenge and handle it with a gamut of skills. Apart from confidence to project the new found authority, I have at least 6 skills that a new manager requires to be able to function well.
Even if one doesn’t possess all the skills, one can work on them gradually until they have mastered it.
1. Inter-personal communication
Because you need to now drive a team to action. You are responsible for their targets and projects. You will need interpersonal skills to:
– win the confidence of peers and seek the support of seniors in the team.
– make the team feel comfortable
– understand the team’s challenges and be able to coach them
– be assertive enough to get things done
Giving them the freedom to do their tasks and being around to help makes the transition easier.
This could be harder than it seems. Especially if you belong to the school of thought – if you want something well done, do it yourself.
But as a team leader or a manager, you will need to share responsibilities and trust that the team will do it.
Some of the ways to make it easier are:
– Learn to let go
– Try to find the right fit of tasks for the right people
– Focus on getting work done rather than doing everything on your own
– Be patient when others don’t do things your way. It’s the end result that matters
3. Time Management
While it was just you as an employee, you just had to take care of your tasks. As a manager, you have people reporting in to you. And their performance is as important to your success as your own.
Manage time to ensure:
– You have time to help them with the team with tasks they aren’t able to handle on their own
– Motivate them and make sure they have a smooth working environment.
– Plan strategy for your team as a leader who needs to look at the big picture
We are so used to talking that we forget the other important part – to listen. As a manager, it is important for you to listen. If you listen closely, you will be able to discern the pulse of the team.
Instead of being dismissive, you can take their cue and understand how they see things.
Including their views in your work plan will create bonhomie within the team and a greater respect for you as a manager. And this is possible only when you lend a keen ear to what they say.
5. Fast Learning
When a friend was promoted to an operations profile, he was in a fix because he had always been in sales. To manage operations, apart from sales, seemed like a huge challenge.
The only thing that saved him was his capacity to learn fast. From finance processes to inventory management, he had to get a hang of everything. And fast.
This not just helped him stay in control of the divisions but also got the respect of his team members. Knowledge is the key here. You can’t be ignorant of the technical aspects of the job. The faster you can grasp things, the better you can function.
6. Influencing skills
As a manager, there will be times when your team might not agree with you. Or you may be forced to represent the management and convey bad news.
This is when influencing skills will come in handy.
It’ll help you stand your ground because you know that’s the right thing. Your focus should be to handle the unpleasant feelings and help the team move on.
In other words, there are times when a manager needs to be assertive in the best interest of the team and the company.
These are just a few skills for starters if you are getting promoted. Assertive skills, command over communication, email writing skills, executive presence – there are so many skills that go a long way in making a leader successful.
What are the skills on your list that you’d like to develop to move ahead in your career? I’d love to know your ideas.
If you want to partner with a coach to develop skills and get ahead in your career, drop me a line here.