Do You Have What It Takes? The Top People Manager Skills Needed to Thrive
As you take on the role of people manager, are you sure you’re fully prepared? Hopefully, you have you been through some proven management training programs to help transition from the role of individual contributor to leading a team.
And ideally for new people leaders, the new manager training included the:
After all, your success will ultimately be a function of the success of your team and, to guide a team to success, you need to be an effective leader of different kinds of people.
The Top 9 People Manager Skills You Need
Here is a summary of the skills you must have to thrive as a people leader. Check off those on the list you feel, objectively, that you have already mastered and highlight those skills you need to bolster through more coaching and development.
The best people managers are:
- Open to Feedback
Just as your team needs feedback from you to improve their performance, so must you ask for, be open to, and act upon their feedback on how you can improve as a manager. Appreciate those who provide you with the gift of feedback.
Be humble and listen with a growth mindset.
Empathy requires that you can see things from another’s perspective. When you can fully understand your employee’s point of view and truly identify with their issues, your employees feel valued and that you “get” what they are saying.
How can you hope to engage your workers and gain their commitment unless you really hear what matters most to them?
Self-awareness as a people leader helps you understand others and how people see you, your temperament, and the way you respond to them real-time. When people managers see themselves clearly, they make better decisions, build more meaningful relationships, and lead others more effectively.
- Business Savvy
To be a successful leader, context matters. Do you have an in-depth understanding of how your business works, how it makes money, and how specific strategies and decisions impact business results?
Strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing teams. Managers who “get the business” are better able to interpret how their team’s function fits into the overall organization and are better able to guide the team in a direction that contributes to the company’s overall success.
- Skilled at Coaching
Managers who are skilled at coaching their team members help their employees perform at their peak, keep them fully engaged, and come off as leaders who care about their employees and invest in developing their careers.
In fact, employees who receive consistent and effective coaching outperform their peers 4-to-1.
- Master Communicators
One size does not fit all. Managers need to get to know their employees on an individual basis. What are their career ambitions, their interests outside of work, their preferred working and communication styles?
With this knowledge, the best managers flex to communicate in a way that works most effectively with each individual.
- Team Advocates
Do you stand up for your team when they have been maligned or, perhaps, asked to take on a job that is neither feasible nor achievable? Advocating for your teammates when there is pressure from above will win their respect and loyalty.
Make sure that your team feels like you have their back and do not tolerate any gossip or back-channeling on your team.
- Trust Builders
Leadership trust is earned when you do what you say you will do — always. And trust is the basis for every meaningful relationship. Set the example for accountability and hold your team to the same high bar.
It is somewhat counter-intuitive but, when leaders show their vulnerability and humanity, they gain stature. Leaders make mistakes too. Admit them and learn from them. A little honesty and transparency goes a long way toward encouraging loyalty and respect from the team.
The Bottom Line
New people managers need not just business skills, but also people skills if they want to succeed. When it comes to leading others, the “technical hard skills” are typically what gets people hired while the “soft skills” are what takes them to the next level as a leader.
To learn more about the people manager skills needed to thrive, download the 6 Management Best Practices that Make the Difference Between Effective and Extraordinary