By DeVry University
If you’re interested in a management career, you probably already have some idea of the basic managerial skills you will need. For example, managers need to be strategic, organized, business-minded and collaborative with a strong growth mindset.
But did you know that aside from these leadership skills, other soft skills are equally important for managers? These can be harder to assess and quantify than technical skills, for example, but they can be key traits to develop as you navigate through your career.
Here’s a look at some useful management soft skills that can help you be a more impactful leader.
Effective communication is essential to guiding teams and requires you to both express yourself clearly and listen openly. To do this, you will need to show your team members that you are genuinely interested in them as individuals as well as employees. Use active listening techniques to demonstrate that you hear them, encourage them to give honest feedback and proactively let them know about any issues or problems that arise.
Integrity is a simple word to describe a complex trait. It combines authenticity, reliability, honesty and embracing your own values. It means taking responsibility for your actions and owning your mistakes.
People with integrity believe in themselves and others. They give others the benefit of the doubt, show sincere appreciation for their contributions and go out of their way to lift people up. As a manager, you can show integrity by keeping your promises, explaining things along the way, trusting your employees and highlighting their successes.
Ultimately, managers are accountable for the successes and failures of their team. It’s important you learn to humbly accept success, while giving credit to those who had a part in making it happen.
Equally important is your ability to accept failure without placing blame. A key part of accountability is learning to give constructive criticism in a healthy way. You will also need to help your team members hold themselves and each other accountable in a way that doesn’t involve playing politics or trying to get ahead at the expense of others.
Empathy can be loosely defined as the ability to put yourself into someone else’s shoes. As a manager, you will need to open your heart as well as your mind to better understand your team members. Each person is an individual with their own dreams, hopes, fears, goals and challenges. Empathy helps you develop personalized strategies for bringing out the best in each member of your team. It also helps build loyalty by showing your staff that you value them as people.
Great managers dream big dreams. They also know how to clearly communicate those dreams to their team members to inspire them. To be an effective leader, you must be able to see and explain both the big picture and the small steps that need to happen along the way.
It takes confidence to lead a group of people – but be careful not to confuse confidence with arrogance. Managers need to remain humble. You can’t do everything by yourself, so be sure to delegate tasks appropriately and give credit to those who help you accomplish your goals. You’ll also need to listen to others’ opinions and recognize there are often many approaches to solving a problem. When you’re wrong, be willing to admit it and do what you can to correct your mistake.
Your team members are individuals with their own strengths and weaknesses. They, like you, are going to make mistakes. Great managers are patient with themselves and others, quick to forgive and always willing to teach. Your team members will have different learning styles, so you will need to be open to trying various methods to bring your employees up to speed.
8. Willingness to Learn
Today’s managers need to be flexible, agile and able to quickly pivot to respond to changing market forces. This makes willingness to learn a vital characteristic. Whether your company is adopting a new piece of technology or responding to industry changes, getting stuck in outdated ways of doing things can slow your team down. There are many avenues for lifelong learning, from online classes to working with a mentor, and great managers utilize more than one pathway to learn more about their field as they move through their careers.
9. Valuing Diversity
The modern workforce is highly diverse in gender, race, age, culture and so many other ways. Diversity brings a range of perspectives that can help your business perform better. Great managers value diversity and are willing to work hard to overcome bias, whether by using blind hiring software or forming a diversity, equity and inclusion council. A basic first step that any manager can take is to sit down with a diverse group of team members for an open discussion of the issues they currently face within your company.
Grow Your Managerial Skills
At DeVry, our flexible online business and management degree programs are designed with busy, working adults in mind. Our classes start every 8 weeks and provide you with the opportunity to pursue your degree from wherever you happen to be.