Useful Management Skills for Leaders
When thinking about leaders, who comes to mind? What admirable qualities do they have in common? What management skills do they possess? How could we cultivate those skills ourselves? Let’s take a look at some of the useful management skills for leaders.
Management skills imply the ability to organize your work. Skills such as knowing how to plan your workload, having an agenda in order, and knowing where to find important information will help to sharpen those leadership skills. So many things happening at once require your attention, with lots of fire to put off or unanticipated events. Being organized frees up some of your energy, so you can use it elsewhere. You can use this time to lead a team or to handle challenging collaborative projects.
Tips: Find a routine that suits you. Prioritize your tasks and start with the ones that require more time and concentration.
Leaders simply cannot lead without communication skills. These management skills include namely the ability to express themselves, to convey important and meaningful content or information in a clear and compelling way, the capacity to convince and inspire, the capacity for active listening and reading non-verbal cues.
Tips: Prepare and practice. Think about your message by stripping it down to its most simple form by applying the kiss principle (keep it simple, stupid). Ask yourself what you really want to say, why it should matter to your audience, and as a five-year-old would you understand it?
A very useful management skill for leaders lies in a keen sense of assessing situations, identifying sources of problems, strengths, and weaknesses, evaluating and measuring processes, workflows, resources, productivity, performance, and collecting useful feedback and valuable insight. Managing a project is one thing, but managing it by knowing where to look and which direction to take when equipped with quality data can potentially improve leadership skills.
Tips: Observe and take as many notes as possible. Organize and categorize your observations. How are they connected? Consider what the results mean. Are they good, bad, average, high, low, not applicable, etc., and how they can be used to improve your business? Ask simple W-based questions such as what, when, who, where, why, how, how much, and how many, to see what is missing, and investigate further. Track these performance and problem indicators regularly to monitor evolution. Eventually, your research will take shape and offer a big picture.
One of the most essential management skills for leaders is the curiosity and capacity to learn new technologies, methods, approaches, concepts, knowledge, and skills. One demanding aspect of being a leader is the need to stay up-to-date with virtually everything that might impact their business: current trends, industry developments, experts, competitors, ideas, changing policies, news, etc. Changing habits or the way to do things is difficult, but as drastic things can happen overnight, leaders need the effortless ability to adapt to new realities, like adopting new technologies to stay competitive.
Tips: Make friends with people who love technology. Their passion is infectious in a good way! Expose yourself to tutorials for beginners and as you slowly start to understand some basic notions, apply them and see the positive results, it will build confidence to deepen your knowledge and put it to good use.
Another great management skill to have as a leader is trusting team members when it comes to delegating and assigning tasks, roles, and projects. More brains are better than one to find a solution to a problem! The success of any collaborative project solely depends on its team members. Therefore, the idea is to make sure that the project is well coordinated within the team. This way, everyone clearly understands each other’s respective roles, tasks, and expectations without stepping on each others’ toes or having a few items that are falling through the cracks. In this case, skills related to teamwork for leaders translate to rising up to the situation and addressing contentious issues in a transparent and respectful manner.
Tips: Regularly and briefly ‘check in’ with your colleagues to get a pulse of the team. Use the opportunity to see how everybody is doing. See if questions can be answered or if any adjustments need to be made. Explore the available apps designed to build and boost team culture. Read our article on building great team culture.
Communication and teamwork are important. These management skills for leaders are associated with a social component. Cultivating healthy work relationships goes a long way to improving the work environment, employee retention, satisfaction, and performance. For instance, we all know how the quality of customer service is crucial to the sustainability of a business.
Tips: As a colleague with leadership aspirations, be the first to reach out. Find commonalities. Offer to assist on a particular project. Give specific praise on professionalism. Learn to listen. Show compassion.
Shirley is a Vacation Tracker occasional contributor. She’s held a few positions in communications, marketing and copywriting. When she’s not at her laptop, you can find her daydreaming about her laptop and chasing the sun while people watching.