We live in the digital era, where the business world is changing faster than ever. Due to a changing work environment, new technologies, and evolving markets, new challenges are constantly faced by various managers. Often these challenges arise when there is a skill gap among them. There are certain essential skills for managers that most of them lack.  

As per Gartner, Inc., “organizations are finding a significant skills gap within their workforces.” Moreover, “70% of employees have not mastered the skills they need for their jobs today.”

Being a manager requires you to have the proper knowledge and skills to deal with people, tasks, as well as the needs of the organization. Failing to address any of these, can lead to damaging consequences for an organization. 

As a manager, you need to keep adapting to the changing environment by learning the skills that you might not have already mastered or even started to acquire. In a fast-changing business, skills often become obsolete, it is thus, important for you to build as many relevant skills as you can and upskill yourself to maximize your potential and demonstrate your value at work.

You need to make sure that you have all the right skills to be a great manager. You can prepare yourself to adapt successfully to the fast-changing business environment by pursuing the following essential skills for managers.

10 Essential Skills For Managers

Here are the essential skills for managers that will be most valued in the market. For these skills, we have looked at top learning platforms and curated a list of the best courses for you. 

Note: In every skill, we have asked a few questions, if your response to any of them is negative, then you might need to work on that particular skill. 

1. Providing & Receiving Feedback 

How often do you:

  • Provide feedback to your team?
  • Consider how your feedback affects your team?
  • Let your team know that their contribution is worthwhile?

Providing and receiving feedback is one of the most common areas where most leaders lack. Every manager must ask for and take in feedback from the employees. Interact with your team to let them know how they are doing. 

You must know how to balance critical feedback and constructive feedback. Don’t avoid negative feedback. As a leader, you must know how to provide critical negative feedback without demotivating or demoralizing the other person.

Benefits:

  • Improves performance
  • Improves employee retention
  • Promotes employee loyalty

Course Recommendations: 

Giving Helpful Feedback on Coursera

Giving and Receiving Feedback for Management and Leadership on Udemy 

2. Team-Building 

  • How often do you inspire your team? 
  • Do you lead your team with trust, confidence, and direction?
  • Do you take everyone’s ideas on board, not just your own?
  • If you face a problem, do you share that with the team so that you can learn something new and help the project get done faster?

A good leader strives towards building an inclusive workforce. A good manager does not let his or her personal feelings get in the way of supporting the team and working with them to get the job done. 

They always get everyone on board to ensure that the entire team works together towards a common goal. They encourage positive relationships not just within the organization but also and outside it, i.e. with customers, suppliers, shareholders, and others.

Benefits:

  • Improved morale of team members
  • Better performance
  • Faster and efficient completion of goals

Course Recommendations: 

Personal Growth and Team Building by IIM Kolkata

Team Building 101 on Universal Class 

3. Delegation

  • Do you often find yourself overworked?
  • Do you find it hard to trust your team with important tasks?
  • Is your team working at 100% capacity?

Delegation is one of the most challenging skills for managers. 

As a leader, you will have to do more than just managing people. At times, you will be faced with multiple responsibilities. You may have to manage your own workload, supervise the work of other employees, attend meetings, and much more. Failure to manage all the work effectively may give employees a negative impression of yourself.

You can ease your workload by delegating tasks to your subordinates. To do this effectively you will need to identify the skills of your employees and assign them duties depending on their skillset. Delegation results in growth for everyone and success for the company.

Benefits:

  • Improves efficiency
  • Increases productivity
  • Decreases delays
  • Improves motivation and job satisfaction

Course Recommendation: 

Effective Delegation on Udemy 

4. Critical Thinking 

  • Do you use multiple sources of data and information before making a decision?
  • Can you analyze information from different perspectives?
  • Are you aware of the distractions getting in the way of your thinking?
  • Do you challenge yourself to develop a deeper understanding of your company’s business?

Critical Thinking is the ability to analyze a concept objectively, considering the facts and various perspectives to reach a logical conclusion. As a manager, you should be able to think independently without judgment and bias.

As a leader, how you analyze problems influences how your team members will handle issues going forward. The use of critical thinking skills fosters teams to make positive contributions to the company.

Benefits: 

  • Efficient work processes
  • Individuals and teams more effectively diagnose problems and identify possible solutions

Course Recommendation: 

Logical and Critical Thinking on Future Learn

5. Conflict Resolution 

  • Do you fear conflict or always try to avoid it?
  • Do you fear disappointing or displeasing anybody?

Conflicts are inevitable and nobody has the exact solution to every problem in the workplace. Conflict resolution is all about the intention and sensitivity that you display when you or someone else faces a problem. In most cases, active listening is the most effective communication when it comes to conflict resolution. 

Whatever the cause of a dispute be, by learning conflict resolution skills, you can keep your professional and personal relationships strong and growing. With conflict resolution skills, you will be able to understand the emotions of employees and acknowledge their feelings, resulting in building a cohesive workforce. 

Benefits: 

  • Increased productivity
  • Improved motivation
  • Employee retention
  • Reduced stress
  • Enhanced workplace communication

Course Recommendations:

Conflict Resolution Skills on Coursera

Resolve Conflicts at Work on OpenClassrooms

6. Time Management

  • Do you know what to do when your plate is getting too full?
  • Are you able to schedule the right tasks at the right time?
  • Are you able to delegate effectively?

Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

Managers often find themselves working hard but unable to cope with a heavy workload. It is thus, critical for managers to known how to manage their time. How a leader utilizes his or her time will ultimately determine whether or not you’re successful in completing those tasks.

Mastering the art of time management will help you get the work done effectively and efficiently without shifting priorities and without leaving the work to pile up.

Benefits: 

  • Deliver work on time
  • Better quality of work
  • Improved productivity and efficiency
  • Reduced Stress 
  • Reduced procrastination

Course Recommendations: 

Time Management & Productivity

Work Smarter, Not Harder: Time Management for Personal & Professional Productivity

7. Effective Communication 

  • Do you get along well with others?
  • Are you able to persuade others?
  • Are you able to make others listen to you?

Communication between managers and employees is one of the most crucial factors for the success of any business. Effective communication skills are the most in-demand skills a manager can have. A good manager must be able to provide transparent, timely, and relevant information to the employees belonging to different age groups, ethnic backgrounds, and personality types.

Developing communication skills can help you motivate your staff, manage expectations, and resolve a conflict between team members. 

Benefits:

  • Builds employee trust
  • Employee retention
  • Resolves problems
  • Higher levels of engagement and productivity

Course Recommendations: 

Business Fundamentals: Effective Communication on Future Learn

Effective Business Communication by Swayam

8. Collaboration 

  • Do you listen actively to the concerns of other members?
  • How often do you brainstorm solutions to problems?
  • Do you give credit to other members for their contributions?
  • Do you involve employees as much as possible with new initiatives and goals?

As a manager, you may have to collaborate with members of the other teams. You might need to share information across all departments and levels. 

You must be aware of how to value and celebrate differences, build rapport, form alliances, and negotiate effectively. Managers must be able to promote collaboration by unifying teams and setting common goals. Clear and thoughtful communication helps in successful collaboration. 

Benefits: 

  • More employee engagement
  • Improved flexibility of the organization
  • Higher retention rates
  • Innovative ideas

Course Recommendation: 

Teamwork and Collaboration on edX

9. Patience 

  • Do you listen and ask questions with a positive attitude?
  • D you often lose your patience and get angry at your employees?

Patience is the ability to accept delays and problems without becoming annoyed or anxious. When there is uncertainty in business regarding market conditions, consumers, and economic conditions, patience becomes a vital skill for managers. 

A famous quote goes by, “patience is a virtue”. 

While most of us interpret it as good things come to those who wait, some believe that waiting doesn’t get you anything. 

But should you demonstrate patience at work?

Well, yes! 

Considering important judgments, negotiations, and innovative ideas that may come up at the workplace, it is important to practice patience so that you encourage a positive environment at the workplace.

While the right amount of patience enables managers to make logical decisions, too much patience may result in instability in the business.

Benefits: 

  • Increases productivity
  • Inspires positivity

10. Empathy

  • How often do you see through the lens of others?
  • Do you ever try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes?
  • Do you ever consider what you would feel if you were in the position of somebody else?

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the emotions and feelings of another person. It is a critical driver of the overall performance among managers. As a leader, you must learn how to walk in other people’s shoes and see things through someone else’s eyes.

Demonstrating compassion and connecting with others can be helpful to you, both personally and professionally. Empathy improves human interactions and can result in effective communication and better performance in the workplace.

Benefits:

  • Boosts productivity
  • Fosters effective collaboration
  • Elevates employee satisfaction

Course Recommendation:

Empathy and Emotional Intelligence at Work

Conclusion

These 10 skills are the pillars of any manager in an organization. Employers look for these skills in their potential candidates. Moreover, managers with these skills are most likely to do better than their competition. 

While a few of these skills will develop naturally as you gain experience in the professional world, you can take up a course to learn the rest of them. We hope that the course recommended by us in this post will help you thrive in a fast-paced work environment and succeed in your managerial position.

Remember that learning a skill is not the end, it is only the beginning. While learning a skill is essential for thriving in a fast-changing work environment, it is more of a passive exercise. To gain from it, you need to apply that learning to your work.

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