Career Woman

Transforming from a worker into a leader – 5 handy hacks to become a manager

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If you’ve been working your way up the corporate ladder for years, it’s likely that becoming a manager is your next big career step. However, before you try and secure this position, you need to ensure you’re capable of handling the responsibilities of the role. No matter what industry you work for, being a manager poses unique challenges, and since no one is born with leadership skills, the nuances of the job have to be learned.

Aspiring managers can prepare themselves and get the extra boost needed to be the best candidate for the role by seeking advice from other managers at that level, or engaging in formal training. According to MTD Training, management training courses focus on equipping you with the “tools, techniques and strategies that will really make a difference when you are back at work.” Whichever option you choose to further your knowledge of management, you’ll need to have mastered a few basics, and we’ve broken down five of the most important skills below.

1.   Communication

A manager must be able to navigate crises and provide constructive feedback, which means that effective communication is essential. This includes honing your written, verbal, and listening skills, while also being equipped to interact with people from different backgrounds. Poor communication can stifle collaboration, confuse objectives, and convey a lack of professionalism, while also leaving your employees frustrated, harming productivity, and increasing staff turnover rates. However, there are strategies to boost your communication skills, including arranging regular one-to-ones, using tools such as Slack, and meeting with the whole team regularly.

2.   Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence, also known as emotional quotient or EQ, refers to the ability to recognize, understand and manage their emotions. Research from 2015 found that emotional intelligence was the strongest predictor of performance, and judging by more recent statistics, this still appears to be the case. For example, managers with highly developed EQ skills outperformed yearly revenue targets by 15-20%. High EQ can also lead to happier employees, more productive incomes, and better business outcomes overall.

While IQ (intelligence quotient) levels are often set in stone, you can develop their EQ skills by learning empathy, as this promotes trust and opens up lines of communication among your team. It also involves being aware of others’ emotions and knowing how to respond to them effectively. Your employees need to know you are listening to them, and you can demonstrate this by focusing on each team member’s specific interests, connecting with them on that level, and trying to see their situation objectively.

3.   Project management

While an organization may already have a dedicated project manager, general managers are expected to oversee plans from start to finish to guarantee that every employee is doing their bit and able to meet any deadlines. This doesn’t necessarily require project management experience, but you should be able to structure, plan, and implement outlines while still keeping your team motivated.

You can improve your project management skills by prioritizing tasks through scheduling, being proactive, and ensuring that everyone is on the same page at all times. It may help to use project management tools like Asana, Trello and Zoho Projects for planning and organizing tasks too.

4.   Delegation

Managers have a huge range of responsibilities, but it’s impossible for one person to take everything on themselves, so important tasks will need to be assigned to others. As a result, delegation is an essential skill, helping you to divide up work and allocate it to the right people, which reduces your workload and gives you plenty of time to work on more important tasks. And by involving other employees in a project, it helps to build their skills and abilities. Furthermore, this develops motivated teams, improves performance, and saves the manager’s time instead of trying to juggle multiple tasks at once.

However, you must assess which tasks require delegation. For instance, small duties such as scheduling meetings and booking business trips could be given to an assistant, while a time-sensitive project could be passed to a few employees so it can be completed faster. To delegate effectively, the right person for the job needs to know why they were chosen, and receive clear instructions throughout.

5.   Understanding of budgets and finances

General managers require a thorough understanding of the company’s budgets and finances, regardless of the industry. So even if you hate numbers, knowing what they represent is vital for analyzing a business’s resources. That means being able to follow financial documents, including profit and loss, the balance sheet, and annual reports, and being able to set budgets and forecasts.

To master this skill, you should regularly monitor your business’s finances, know iits day-to-day costs, and keep records of any outgoings. You should also familiarize yourself with financial terminology, and understand how to manage a budget, which can help reduce overall business costs, leading to organizational improvements, and highlighting areas for growth.

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