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How Honing Four Critical Skills Can Make You a “Great” Manager”

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Your skills, knowledge, experience and talent have likely played a large part in helping you carve out your path up the promotion ladder, and you may well have your eyes on the higher rungs too.

However, what will count most from now on, especially if you want to go higher, is your ability to manage that most tricky, but precious resource – other people. Successfully engaging, motivating and developing committed and highly effective, productive staff doesn’t actually require a massive amount of time on your part, but it certainly does require that you hone a very special set of skills; which may not have been quite so vital to your success previously, as they are now.

Indeed, studies show that, the higher up the ladder you go, the more important these skills become; for your success and that of your team and organization. So what are those 4 critical skills which can catapult you into the big league?

They are: – Selecting and recruiting – Setting expectations – Motivating your people – Developing your people

No rocket science here – but understanding how to do each of these without it taking up masses of time we haven’t got is a different issue altogether. How well do you feel you have mastered these four skills?

The good news is, it’s less about taking lots of your time and more about the consistent application of processes and systems, and the way you do things as a manager in these 4 essential areas, which will determine your performance and that of your team.

Why should you bother? Is it actually worth your taking the time to hone these skills? Well, all the latest research would say it most certainly is. If you can get these four things “right”, you’ll not only have a happier staff, who work well together with minimal tension or conflict, you’ll also tap into what psychologists call the “discretionary effort” of your staff.

“Discretionary effort” – a manager’s “goldmine” .

Let’s face it – the amount of effort we put in to just about anything depends on a number of factors, but actually, in the end, it boils down to how motivated we feel about the task, and whether we feel it’s worth putting the effort in.

Have you, or anyone you know, ever done just what you needed to in order to keep out of trouble? Ever been a “9 to 5” person? Ever deliberately decided you’ll keep your head down, do just what’s required and dodge extra work? You may not get bonuses, pats on the back or glowing appraisals, but no-one bothers you, and you have got a life outside work anyhow. It’s just a job; it pays the bills so you can get on with your real life. However, if you’re a manager, how will a team full of “9 to 5ers” affect your overall results?

Great managers know, if they want more than mediocre results this mentality simply won’t cut it. Even in relatively good times, that’s like running a 6 gear car in 4th gear for the whole journey; costly – and even worse, wasteful. And when the economic climate is tough this mentality will not only slow you down, others will overtake you – and people outside the team start to notice.

Come the tough times, and the “9 to 5” brigade will probably slide to join those who are even less engaged in work; the “under performers” and the “moaners”, and then you really have an uphill struggle on your hands.