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Essential Skills and Qualities of an Effective Manager

Developing effective management skills to deal with specific challenges and problems is the urgent need of many businesses and organizations in today’s globally competitive environment which is witnessing rapid changesdue to technology and changing business environment. Thus, the new thrust of successful organizations the world over is to invest judiciously in training and development of their employees for developing skills that are characterized to improve work efficiency and effectiveness. Effectiveness, is not just limited to learning a few management techniques. Techniques do help to work smartly but managerial effectiveness is much more than that. It is influenced by a range of factors such as the individual himself, nature of the job you do, the people you work with, and also the organization you work in. Understanding Role of a Manager Before understanding role of a manager, it is important to know what management is. Simply put, “Management is the planning, organizing, leading and controlling of human and other resources to achieve organizational goals efficiently and effectively.” In 1916, Henri Fayol, a French mining engineer published a book on management in which he gave one of themost well-known definitions of management. In it he defined management as a process involving:

  • Forecasting and Planning
  • Organizing
  • Commanding / Leading
  • Coordinating
  • Controlling

The role of a manager is largely divided into these separate elements. Even if the word manager is not part of your job title but if you can relate your work profile with this description, then also you are a manager. In working through these activities individually or in teams to achieve organizational goals, you are managing man, material and other resources you use. To manage your work you require certain aptitude and skills. It often happens especially if you are new to the role that you find little opportunity to introspect and analyze what you are doing. You may feel pressurized to respond to a range of demands at work without being in much control of the situation. Gradually, at some point in time, most managers feel ill-equipped for their role and start thinking whether they are doing the ‘right’ things or simply killing time.

What does your effectiveness depend on?

A few set of factors that influence your effectiveness as a manager are listed below.Some of them are intra related and therefore under your direct control while others interdepend on a combination of factors.

  • In the first place itself, it is your own performance – your knowledge, skills, attitudes, values and experience that will eventually decide your effectiveness in job. If you have been working as a manager for quite some time now, you can recall several of the instances wheresome of these facets of your personality must have helped you to be more effective.
  • Thenext importantinfluencing factor is the job that you do. Every managerial role is guided by a set of key performing areas or key result areas. These KPAs or KRAs are likely to have many demands on you. For managerial effectiveness it is important that there is a fine match between your skills and the demands of the job as it affects your potential effectiveness.
  • The people you work withexert a major influence on how effective you can be as a manager. Perhaps the most difficult role of a manager is to get work done from different people. Here your managerial effectiveness depends on the extent to which you can motivate people and coordinate their action to achieve optimum performance. Needless to say thatthe managers’ effectiveness is restricted by the qualities, abilities and willingness of these people.
  • Finally, the organisationwhere one works also determines how effective you can be. Organisationalstructure, your position, authority and your responsibilities impose big constraints on what you are effectively able to achieve. Similarly, the culture of the organisation, with its unwritten norms and ways of working, also influences your ability to be effective as a manager.In the twenty-first century work environment many of the processes in organisations now involve softer methods of managing staff.

Skills / Qualities of an Effective Manager

A good manager should work on acquiring following skills to achieve managerial effectiveness. Greater Self-Awareness First and foremost, to be an effective manager you must know yourself, your strengths and your weaknesses, and those of the people around you. You must know your objectives and have a plan of how to achieve them. You must build a team of people that share your commitment to achieve those objectives, and you must help each team member to achieve their best which will be able to attain a common goal.

Good Communicator

The ability to communicate with people is the most important skill of managers today. The Manager is also a crucial link to the larger organisation. He must have the ability to effectively communicatebetween departments to ensure the success of the assignment in-hand. Through effective communication, a manager createsclarity of instruction to achieve clear output by creating guidelines for accomplishing tasks.

Passion and Enthusiasm

Managers have to be passionate and enthusiastic about their work. Dullmanagers can bring down the performance levels of their staff. On the other hand, enthusiastic manager with a can-do attitude can improve productivity of people. Enthusiastic Managers are more committed to their goals and express this commitment through optimism.

Leadership Skills

In the present day business world, Managers are chosen based on their ability to successfully lead teams rather than on technical expertise, as done in the past. Expertise in leadership management is another dimension of effective managers. The ability to challenge, inspire, enable, model and encourage areseen as demonstrable qualities of a leader.Effective managers are often great leaders too. The most important leadership trait in effective managers is the ability to remain cool under pressure. When leaders encounter a stressful event, they consider it interesting, they feel they can influence the outcome and they see it as an opportunity.

Ability to Delegate Tasks

The ability to delegate tasks requires trust building among members of the team. It is an essential element in the relationship of manager and his or her team. Trust empowers your people to improve and deliver greater results. It decentralizes control over others and provides space for flexibility and innovation to achieve difficult results.

Team-Building Skills

No manager can aspire to become a business leader one day if he or she does not possess team building skills. A team builder can best be defined as a strong anchor who keeps the team together for working towards a common goaland objective. He or she guides the team to progress as a single cohesive unit. He or she must also know the appropriate leadership style to use during each stage of team development. The manager must also have an understanding of the different team players styles and how to capitalize on each at the proper time, for the problem at hand.

Good Coordinator

As a manager you have to coordinate with different people within or outside your department and/or organization. If you want your work to be done on time with precision, you should be able to coordinate with multiple people at one time. You have to make them understand how their work contributes to the company’s success.

Help members of your team to set goals

Setting clearly defined goals with timelines helps keep teams focused by providing direction to their efforts. Communicate openly with each of your members about the company’s goals, and work with them to set individual targetsthat are directly linked to your business’s mission. Create enabling framework within the organization to make sure employees understand their professional growth path in the company.

Find Solutions rather than Problems

An effective manager should be a good problem solver. He or she must recognize problems as opportunity to improvise and improve. An effective manager must be proactive in solving problems by addressing it early before it starts affecting the work.

Be a good coach

Coaching requires a manager to work one-on-one with problem employees or to assign another employee to work with the employee to overcome their shortcomings. The mentor should provide the employee with feedback and solutions for improving their performance. Coaching requires patience and a substantial time investment, but it can help modify an employee’s behavior.Poor performance is not always due to a lack of skills; the employee may simply be disorganized or sloppy. These habits can usually be corrected with proper guidance. If performance difficulties relate to a lack of skills, consider coaching or additional training.In some cases an employee becomes a problem because their skills aren’t compatible with their assigned tasks or regular duties. In this case, offering the employee additional training or assigning them a different set of tasks is usually the most appropriate course of action. When you notice that, an employee has made some errors, point out the mistakes to the employee and monitor their work more closely. If the problem persists, speak with the employee and detail the most serious examples of problems with their work. Remember to remain positive and focus on how important the employee’s contribution is to the company.

Listen to your employees

Employee feedback is critical toenhancing employee engagement. Effective managers should organize frequent focus group discussions with their teams to gauge reaction and monitor the progress of change. This also helps to boost their morale. Talking to your employees is not a one-time event, and you need to reinforce your message by communicating early and often.

Finally

Professional managers are most productive when they are effective. For this they have to have the right tools and be able to create pleasant and comfortable work surroundings. Having the right skills and qualities can drastically improve their performance and ultimately the performance of the organization. Make best use of the above mentioned essential skills to reinforce positive attitudes and inspire employees and help them adapt to the changing dynamics of workplace for becoming effective managers.

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