One of the toughest things in a career, is the first time you have to manage others. It seems too many organisations assume that just because an individual is good at their job, that they will also be a great manager. Managers worry that they ‘don’t know how to do it’, without realising that many of the so-called experienced managers around them don’t really know either! Those that have worked it out, have probably done it through trial and error. If you want to short cut that painful process, here are three key management skills to help you get ahead!
Being a great manager has many attributes, but the most important part of the role is to develop your team. Improving your performance will only get you so far: improve your team performance and the benefits multiply. In my experience, both as a manager, and as a coach to countless managers, there are three simple management skills which can make the development of your team efficient and effective.
Priority Management Skills - Give feedback
Giving feedback is, it appears, one of the hardest things for a manager to do. Managers feel uncomfortable because they feel that feedback is unwelcome, negative, and confrontational. But addressed effectively, it can make a huge difference to the performance of your team. Feedback should be positive, as well as negative. After all, much of what your team does is great, right? If most of the feedback is positive, then the occasional negative piece will be far easier to deliver, and far easier to take.
Feedback, which addresses a specific behaviour , is a quick and simple way to make it clear to a team member which of their behaviour is great, and which isn’t. It takes a few seconds, and if that helps improve team performance, then that is about as efficient as people development can get!
Priority Management Skills - Coach
Coaching is another crucial tool for improving team performance, yet again managers often shy away, citing a lack of time as the key barrier. Coaching takes a little longer than feedback, but not as long as training, so it’s still pretty efficient. All that the manager needs to do is agree on a behavioural change, set an objective, work with the team member to identify resources, and then support the team member to create a plan. From then on in, it is the team member who does all of the work: the manager just needs to check in and keep them on track. And if they are off track? That’s a perfect time for feedback!
Priority Management Skills - Delegation
The third most of our priority management skills is delegation. Adults learn by doing, and your team will learn new skills by you asking them to try new things. Again, managers seem scared of delegation, mainly because they are concerned that the team member won’t do as good a job as they themselves do. Let me assure you, they won’t! But, I would guess, nor did you the first time either. Recognise that they will need help, allow time for reviews and for mistakes, and soon your team will be taking on tasks that you used to do: freeing you up to do other things.
Each of these three management skills are critical to developing your team; and developing your team is essential if you are to succeed as a manager. Over the next few months we’ll be exploring each of these, as well as a number of other management skills, in this blog. To ensure you don’t miss out, please subscribe here.