Most people think that low-level management should only focus on results of their team and they should leave big strategic decisions to top executives. This is the practice in many companies, but it is utterly wrong, because lots of low-level managers have totally un-biased look on company’s business strategy. They are people from the trenches in direct contact with employees and excellent knowledge of production process (in manufacturing firms). Good low-level managers motivate employees, provide results to executive board and run fast through the company ranks, the moment they acquire all necessary skills at their current position. In this article we tried to list skills managers need to learn, in order to advance to higher positions within the company.
Time is one of the main opponents of every manager. So much work, and the time is running wild, everybody experienced this situation at least once during their career. There are plenty of different practices that can be applied in order to use available work time more efficiently and be more productive. These are some that proved to be the most helpful:
- Organize To-do Lists– making to-do lists for you and your employees, is great, but you can always take your time management strategy one step further with organizing them with different color papers, notes, bulletin points, etc.
- Eliminate Distractions– Do this for you and your employees both. Although it sounds harsh, but you are entitled to forbid people from signing in to social networks while at work, or even answering their cell phones.
- Breaks– Both you and your employees should take brakes in order to relax and return to work recharged and more productive.
Everybody is a team-player these days, at least they write that in their resume. Collaboration skills are especially important for managers, because they need to improve and lead with their own example. Sometimes we end up with employees who are far from being good team players, and even they need to be motivated to give their best for accomplishing mutual goals. When it comes to organizing teams and making people with different characters to cooperate, we can see all the brilliance of successful managers. To get there, we will need to accomplish some of these criteria:
- Create mutual trust between employees within the team, as well as between manager and the team itself;
- Influence employees to work in the team and identify themselves with it;
- Listen to employee’s complaints, ideas and suggestions.
Managers need to be communication masters and great influencers who will make all employees feel noticed and valuated and influence them to work harder and be more productive. Communication between managers and employees should be common and stress-less and it should be practiced through different channels from e mails and social network accounts to phone talks and in-person communication. Managers should know that their communication skills are being constantly evaluated by both employees and their superiors. That’s why they can’t make mistakes, and need constant improvement in this field. These are some tips that will help you maintain better quality conversations:
- Give strong orders;
- Always act polite;
- Learn the basics of body language;
- Get rid of communication fillers;
- Prepare speeches or scripts if necessary.
Digital age brings new challenges. In order to run business process today, managers need to have at least basic skills in information technologies. MS Office is probably the most widely used program in business, and it became a must for both managers and their assistants. Most business schools and colleges include basic IT skills, especially Office, courses in their curricula. On the other hand self-thought managers, and those who finished their schools long time ago, might have troubles to learn some of the MS Office basics. Of course everybody knows how to type a document in MS Word (which in my opinion is an Office program that is the easiest to learn), but mangers also need to have a lot of knowledge in MS Excel, in order to make spreadsheets that will closely follow employee’s performance. For this and some other more advance MS Office tasks, it is advisable for managers to take different on- and offline Office courses. In Australia for example a simple two day TP3 course became almost a standard among the company management. During these two days, managers can learn everything from creating elaborate spreadsheets, to power point presentations.
Some other computer skills that might come handy when working on manager position are:
- Ability to conduct internet research, by using search engines;
- Knowledge of cloud apps;
- Use of social networks for business purposes;
- Work with various accounting programs like Quickbooks for example;
- Work with organizing websites like Trello and Basecamp.