Management skills are what you need to have in order to rock any managerial job position. Find out what makes a good manager in the work place and if perhaps you are keen to enhance your own leadership skills through a management studies stream.
To manage something – it’s a term that we use all the time. We say that “Charles is managing the company’s finances,” and “Sarah is managing life as a single mom,” or “Jill doesn’t know if she’ll manage to finish the pizza on her own.” Yeah, the concept of managing something is pretty omnipresent in this world – and for a good reason. Having management skills as part of your overall abilities is something for which everyone should aim. Here’s why.
In essence, managing something embodies two ideas: firstly, it means being in a position where you make decisions about something, and secondly, it means achieving something despite certain challenges or difficulties. Now, management skills embody the combination of these two ideas. It’s about the ability to take charge, organise, and cope.
What skills do I need?
When your job lands you in a managerial position, you carry a lot of responsibility. Whether you are in charge of managing finances, personnel and staff, events, or marketing projects – you need a basic set of management skills that will allow you to perform your job with a high caliber, and keep you, your staff and your clients or customers happy.
Though there is no clear-cut formula, there are certain skills that, when added up, create a solid platform for good management skills. There are plenty of resources on the Internet, like self-help books, forums, articles, and so on that serve as a guideline for the most important necessary management skills. In a nutshell, however, it comes down to the following:
Be a leader, not a nincompoop
Being a leader is a skill. Anyone can boss people around and delegate left and right. As a leader, you want your authority to be respected, but you also want to be a source of inspiration and motivation for your colleagues and employees. If you get this right, harmony will come knocking.
Be a Critical Thinker
When you manage a situation, try to base your decision-making and problem-solving on all aspects involved. Inform yourself, and don’t make any hasty decisions. Assumptions, naivety, and haste are not your friends. The best solutions are sprung from informed decision-making that is based on facts, as well as the ability to find new ways of approaching an issue.
Allow for Change
If a system is not working for the business, don’t be scared to change it. Without change, there is no room for improvement.
Part of what enables a change for the better is being open to constructive criticism and feedback from others. Be open for honest confrontation. It’s good to re-evaluate the way you are managing things, to see what works and where or how you can improve on your leadership role.
We all know what happens to leaders who refuse to implement change, and solo-waltz through the day singing, “My way or the high way”… they are never very popular.
Be Aware of Performance
Sometimes performance is great, sometimes it sucks. As someone in a managerial position, it is your job to recognise strong and poor performances, and respond to them accurately.
If a colleague or employee is performing poorly, approach them about it and see how the situation can be improved. In a case where there has been outstanding improvement, make sure you award or praise your employee for this. Positive reinforcement goes a long way. Feeling appreciated and recognized will make your employee go that extra mile and keep up the good work.
Be a mediator
You need to be able to manage conflict situations. This includes negotiation, problem-solving, and, of course, decision-making skills. A mediator wants all parties involved in a conflict to come to an agreement and be as satisfied as possible.
Conflict can arise anywhere – among employees, between clients and service providers, or even between yourself and the office phantom who keeps eating your lunch. When you are personally involved in the conflict, knowing how to manage and cope in this situation with professional elegance is what will set you apart from someone whose temper and personal issues get the best of him or her.
Communicate with Clarity
If ever there is an unnecessary and annoying situation, it’s when something goes wrong because of a misunderstanding or lack of communication. Management skills include the capacity to communicate clearly what it is that you expect from your staff. Communication forms one of the most essential foundations for any relationship – professional, familial, romantic, owner-and-pet, you name it.
As a manager, you represent the service or product you provide. You need to embrace that responsibility. When things go wrong, you are accountable, even if this is not directly as a result of your own actions. You are expected to manage and lead your team, and if one of your employees makes a mistake, then it is your job to help fix it.
Make sure that you are approachable. If something goes wrong and people are too scared to tell you, because they fear being reprimanded, then things can get a whole lot worse. Being approachable and making employees feel that they can come to you with a problem is a sign of good leadership.
Management Studies at Damelin College
Have you ever considered pursuing management studies? If you have any of the skills and traits that make a great manager, then perhaps you should think about using this to your advantage! Enhancing your leadership skills and managerial expertise through tertiary education is a great way to further shape your abilities and prepare for the professional work space.
Damelin College is a national South African tertiary institution that offers a large variety of qualifications (including degrees, diplomas, FET certificates, to name a few) through various learning programmes, from full and part-time courses to distance learning.
The college offers management studies within all sorts of career fields – for example business and finance, events, administration, project management, personnel management, all the way to planning weddings and children’s parties. So whatever kind of management qualification you are keen to go into, one of the courses on offer is bound to match your field of interest.
You might even want to consider doing a short management course that can adorn other degrees or qualifications you might already have. Education and learning are processes that are valuable through our entire life, and never cease to be relevant.
FYI: Have a look at the Damelin page for more information on courses and qualifications.
Management skills don’t just manifest overnight. Sure, personality and character have a lot do with it, but knowing how to practice good management has a lot to do with experience, practice, and learning from people who already master these skills.