Becoming a manager gives you the opportunity to help shape your organization and advance your own career. As you take on more responsibility, you’ll be tasked with making decisions, developing teams and maximizing productivity.
While being a manager enables you to deliver optimal value to your employer, it also enhances your job satisfaction and allows you to achieve your professional objectives. In addition to commanding a higher salary and more generous employee benefits, taking on a leadership role can fulfil your professional ambitions and give you a whole new range of challenges to overcome.
Before you begin applying for supervisory or managerial roles, however, you’ll want to ensure you’re equipped to deliver the desired results. By expanding your skillset now, you can boost your self-confidence and begin your leadership career with the resources you’ll need to succeed. With this in mind, read on to find out what it takes to be a good manager in today’s business landscape.
1. Forming Cohesive Teams
One of the key responsibilities of a manager is building and leading teams. No matter what department you work in, managing personnel will be critical to your success. Depending on the specifics of your role, you may be involved in the recruitment process, as well as being responsible for training new hires and creating a collaborative work environment.
In most instances, you won’t be given dedicated training to help you become a great motivator but, nonetheless, your success as a leader will depend on your ability to inspire your team. Due to this, it’s vital to take a proactive approach to developing this skill.
Both formal and informal learning will help you to adopt established methodologies when it comes to managing cohesive and productive teams. By applying management theories, embodying a positive attitude and giving staff the resources that they need to achieve their potential, you can set the groundwork for optimal performance within your department.
2. Sector-Specific Leadership Skills
Many leadership skills are transferable, in that they can be applied in any working environment or industry. However, there are certain leadership abilities which are intrinsically linked to the sector you operate in. Take a look at this blog post to find out how you can become a leader in the engineering industry, for example.
If you’ve worked in a particular sector or specialism for some time, you’ll already have in-depth knowledge of this niche area. However, you may benefit from developing sector-specific leadership roles. An Operations Manager working in the manufacturing industry may need to have up to date insight into automated solutions and knowledge of when human input should be favored, for example.
By incorporating sector-specific issues and aspects to your development as a manager, you can ensure that you’re ready to take on a leadership role within your chosen field.
3. Willingness to Learn
Many people assume that you become a manager when you’ve learned everything there is to know about your industry. In reality, you’ll never possess all the knowledge you need, no matter how long you’ve been a leader for. The business landscape is continually evolving, and it changes at a rapid pace. With technological innovations, evolving consumer behavior and regulatory changes to consider, your industry will shift numerous times throughout your career.
In order to manage effectively through these changes, you’ll need to have a willingness to learn. When you’re prepared to devote some of your free time to continue learning, seek out additional training opportunities and enhance your employees’ knowledge, you’ll be well on your way to embodying the zeal and inquisitiveness of a natural leader.
When you’re in charge, people will look to you for reassurance, guidance and inspiration. If you’re pitching ideas to your superiors, you’ll need to ooze confidence and persuade your audience that your ideas offer valid and valuable solutions. Alternatively, if you’re motivating your team, you’ll need to give them the confidence to believe that they can achieve the designated targets and deliver what’s expected of them.
Of course, if you don’t believe in yourself, no-one else will, which is why it’s vital to have a healthy dose of self-confidence. While arrogance is rarely a hallmark of a good leader, being confident in your own abilities and expressing this confidence in a likeable way will help you to generate goodwill and belief from your team, colleagues and managers.
5. Ability to Solve Problems
Most successful companies are in the business of solving problems and the same can be said for their staff. If your organization produces goods or delivers services, for example, you’ll be looking to solve problems for your customers or clients. Similarly, in-house staff are actively trying to eliminate problems, such as lengthy workflows, bottlenecks in processes and regulatory restrictions.
Being known as a problem solver will stand you in good stead when you’re lobbying for promotion to a management role, but you’ll need to be able to deliver. When you identify the key information, analyze data effectively and use it to develop innovative and effective solutions, you’ll become invaluable to your employers.
When you’re working as a manager, your team will turn to you for assistance when problems arise. As such, a significant proportion of your role will involve problem solving and all that it entails. Whether it’s resolving conflicts between team members, streamlining processes to maximize efficiency or switching vendors to shorten the supply chain, you’ll need to have the skills and character to identify, analyze and solve a wide variety of problems.
Being credible means that people have a reason to trust you, which is vital to your success as a manager. If your team don’t have faith in you, you’ll struggle to win them over and get them on your side. Furthermore, you’ll find it tough to motivate them or persuade them to get behind your ideas and indicatives.
So, how do you go about enhancing your credibility? In most instances, this happens over time and is more to do with your personal interactions and communication than it is your professional accomplishments. While a stellar resume will certainly help to impress, being trustworthy, accountable and honest are the traits that will help you to become credible in the workplace.
When people view you a credible manager, they’ll find it easier to place their trust in you. When they do, you’ll be able to lead your team effectively and motivate them to enhance outputs and generate more value.
Being in a leadership role puts you in a position of authority and, as a result, you’ll be able to delegate responsibilities to members of your team. In fact, your ability to delegate will be a central element of your role. No-one enjoys working with someone who ‘micro-manages’, so learning to let go and trust your staff is an important part of being a manager.
Conversely, delegating responsibility is about much more than simply assigning a name to a task. To delegate effectively, you’ll need to know your employees’ strengths and weaknesses, as well as the areas they want to progress in. Similarly, you’ll need to monitor workflows and workloads to determine capacity and delegate tasks accordingly.
As a manager, the buck stops with you. When you’re leading a team, you’ll be responsible for their outputs and outcomes, which means taking on a lot of responsibility. Additionally, you’ll be putting your professional reputation on the line every time your team or department undertakes a new project. Of course, this means that it’s in your best interests to hire top talent and develop strong teams.
Taking responsibility and being accountable doesn’t only mean receiving the accolades when things go well; it means owning it when things don’t quite go to plan. While no-one wants to be responsible for a task or project that doesn’t deliver as expected, being accountable, identifying what went wrong and enacting effective solutions will earn you the trust, respect and admiration of your colleagues.
9. Staff Development
Until now, career development probably meant identifying your own professional goals and finding ways to achieve them. As a manager, however, you’ll play a key role in helping your staff to climb the career ladder. By working with individuals to help them establish their own goals, providing in-house and external training, as well as giving staff the opportunity to flex their skills, you can give them the break they need.
Playing an active role in someone else’s career can be extremely fulfilling and rewarding, providing you get it right. By making sure your staff have access to the right range of resources and opportunities, as well as offering guidance and support, you can put them on the path to success and watch them flourish.
Taking on a Leadership Role
If being a leader is your ultimate ambition, start taking on additional responsibilities as soon as you feel ready to do so. By doing so, you can expand your skillset and showcase your natural leadership qualities. Over time, your reputation as a leader will grow and you’ll be perfectly placed to secure a managerial role in your chosen field.