The most important management skills

June 27, 2022

Oftentimes, people moving into a management role because of a promotion don't necessarily have experience in managing people. They may be professional, hard workers, and have every reason to move up, but this is a skill that needs to be learned – in this case, immediately and on the spot. And while managing people might seem simple, it can be very challenging. This can take a toll on managers and increase turnover in the position. A survey by Digits suggests that managers who haven't received any management training are 36% more likely to leave their current jobs in the next year than managers who receive regular management training.

Not only does this affect the manager, but also the employees. A Society for Human Resource Management survey found 84% of U.S. workers say poorly trained managers create a lot of unnecessary work and stress.

So what kind of skills should new managers be looking to learn in order to beat the statistics?

Among the most important skills for a manager to have is the ability to plan well. Being organized (and using proper communication) can go a long way in your own productivity and the productivity of employees. Having a plan can take the form of standard operating procedures, specific duties within jobs and scheduling. Planning leads to efficiency and order, both things that help a workplace run smoothly.

Delegation goes hand-in-hand with planning. As a manager, you can't do everything. That's why you have people that you manage! To avoid being either too hands off or too hands on (the dreaded micromanager), check in with employees about their workload and don't be afraid to ask them to take on more if they're able. A good manager will identify employees' skill sets and use them to delegate specific projects that are suited to them, which can multiply the work and its quality. 

Conflict resolution and problem-solving
One of the more challenging parts of management is conflict resolution and problem solving. Not everyone on your team will agree on everything all of the time, that's just the nature of humans. However, how this is expressed and handled makes all the difference. Proper conflict resolution skills can make conflict, not only a problem, but a solution. Compromise and collaboration can result in something even better than what an individual can come up with.

Everyone has different approaches to this one! But what effective leaders have in common is the ability to motivate employees. Workers who show up with purpose will have better attitudes, cultivate a more positive atmosphere, and produce better work. For some companies and positions, there may be financial motivators like commission. For others, the motivation may come from the happy workplace environment, praise and recognition, or promotions and a clear path of growth ahead. This will be to be specific to the job, but as a manager you always need to consider employees' "why."