The most important soft skills for managers and how to teach them
June 29, 2022
The strength of a manager’s soft skills is often what allows them to advance in a company or become a natural leader within an organization. It is naturally those who are the easiest to work with and achieve results with who will be asked to lead their own teams. But while they may be hard to quantify and may not become visible until a person has settled in an organization, they can be learned and strengthened. They can also fluctuate with time depending on a person’s stress level, well-being, and commitment. The most important soft skills for managers can improve with time and can often be taught once a person has been identified as a potential leader.
“Leadership contains certain elements of good management, but it requires that you inspire, that you build durable trust. For an organization to be not just good but to win, leadership means evoking participation larger than the job description, commitment deeper than any job contract’s wording.” ~ Stanley A. McChrystal
6 of the most important soft skills for managers
While communication is the obvious first on the list of important soft skills for managers, its training is often neglected, and sometimes until it is too late. Communication is a soft skill that can appear strong or weak depending on the situation or overall. Making sure that managers have access to training that will keep expectations around communication front and center will lead to greater work satisfaction and productivity for the entire team.
Types of training to strengthen managers’ communication skills:
Asking important questions
An effective manager doesn’t just work well with their team, they put systems and expectations in place so that the team works well with each other. While some people are natural leaders, others gain the ability to effectively lead teams over time. Regardless, all can benefit from ongoing information and soft skills training on group efficiency.
Types of training to strengthen managers’ teamwork skills:
Building rapport with your team
How to delegate
The benefits of teamwork
Incorporating all team members
Identifying and utilizing employee strengths
Managing conflict and disciplining employees is an important soft skill for managers that few are enthusiastic about practicing or developing. Yet having confidence in this area can go a long way in talent retention, preventing problems, protecting a company’s reputation, and minimizing the time spent on it. An effective and healthy organization has clear protocols for managers to follow and expectations on how conflicts are both prevented and dealt with. Regular focus on evaluating a manager’s ability to manage discipline is a necessity in today’s diverse workplace.
Types of training to strengthen managers’ discipline skills:
Firing best practices
One of the top and most basic responsibilities of a manager is to make decisions. From delegating to hiring, it is a soft skill that has an enormous impact on a business. One’s ability to confidently make decisions can also affect their work satisfaction and well-being and is, therefore, an important soft skill for managers to provide ongoing training in.
Types of training to strengthen managers’ decision-making skills:
Improving decision-making skills
Strengthening confidence as a manager
A person’s organizational skills correlate closely with their ability to be productive. This soft skill also impacts a person’s ability to delegate and therefore effectively run a team. This is an especially tangible soft skill to provide training on and a great soft skill to monitor and provide personalized content based on a manager’s needs and performance.
Types of training to strengthen managers’ organization skills:
Meetings that get results
Leadership as a skill may be the most abstract or hardest to quantify, but it is nonetheless among the most important skills to look for and to develop for managers. It is leadership ability that brings a person’s management capability to light and it is also a skill that can be weakened with the stress of added responsibilities. Providing ongoing support for managers through training is therefore essential for retaining and utilizing this talent.
Some ways that leadership soft skills show up is in a manager’s ability to motivate others, set a good example, recognize the contributions of others, solve conflicts, and communicate. It is hard to imagine a team functioning well without a manager who has some ability in these areas so it should always be of concern to maintain and strengthen.
Types of training to strengthen managers’ leadership skills:
Understanding different work styles