The manager's job is becoming increasingly complex. In France, there has often been a tendency to promote technical profiles to management positions, without paying attention to their appetite for this type of responsibility, or to the skills actually required. As if leading a team was a reward and did not require any particular work. Yet, many employees leave their company because of a bad relationship with their managers. As the primary cause of disengagement and turnover, the role of HR is increasingly focused on supporting managers in developing the right skills to align their leadership with the company's values.
In a March 2022 interview for the Harvard Business Review, Linda Hill, Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, points out that leaders are increasingly being asked to develop behavioral skills skills that enable them to approach business through the prism of a constantly changing world. The focus is therefore increasingly on behavioral qualities and soft skills.
Which managerial skills are most often found in the top 5?
The most important managerial skills are empathy in communication, delegation based on individual strengths and skills, pedagogy with which to disseminate the strategy, and demonstrating a faculty of questioning to adapt and motivate teams.
Develop skills communication
How to mobilize a geographically fragmented team? How can we ensure group cohesion and promote a healthy work atmosphere when each employee is alone behind his or her screen at home? How to support employees when the company is facing a major change? These are some of the questions that managers must answer in the post-Covid era. Questions that are as many challenges. And to meet each of these challenges on a daily basis, one key faculty invariably comes up: communication and adapting to multiple interlocutors.
This need is all the more important as the manager is the link between his employees and the management, and the hybrid or 100% remote dimension of the teams also contributes to this.
Knowing how to communicate actually encompasses many skills related to relational skills: active listening, being able to give constructive feedback, empathy, emotional intelligence...
Let's add that the involvement of managers in the dissemination of "corporate" information requires clear and structured communication from the company and the HR departments as a whole.
Knowing how to delegate to engage
Once again, being able to delegate is a key skill for managers. Micro-management is a practice that is increasingly irritating employees. Sometimes the demand of employees to be close to their manager is interpreted as a close control of the work of the talent. As a result, this attitude can be perceived as a lack of confidence in their abilities and lead to a decrease in team motivation. Moreover, a manager must be aware of his or her limits. But this also means accepting that things are not done completely his way.
Delegating requires good communication skills to begin with. But it is also necessary to be able to identify the strengths and areas for improvement of each employee in order to better determine which one is the most suitable to perform the tasks concerned or to participate in a multidisciplinary project.
To learn more, read the article dedicated to the distribution of tasks.
Have a global and strategic vision
In a fast changing world, managers must have in mind the long term vision of the company. A manager must be able to explain and clarify the company's vision to his team. This is essential to meet talent expectations, cultivate a culture of transparency, align teams and define clear objectives. The new expectations of employees are summarized in our page "winning strategies for managing employees".
Making well thought-out decisions, planning your actions in advance, saves time and productivity by having a clear direction. The manager will be able to think more serenely, contrary to a hasty decision. It will also increase motivation to participate in the company's performance, while providing more time to train, review strategies and progress. The team manager will be able to observe and analyze key performance indicators (KPIs, turnover, etc.) based on reliable HR data and thus improve performance.
The current period of continuous change leads managers to accept ever shorter deadlines, their ability to adapt is severely tested. Indeed, companies are constantly impacted by technological and digital advances, but also by new and more responsible practices. These changes lead to the creation of certain professions and the disappearance of others. New tools are emerging while others are becoming obsolete. In a constantly evolving world, it is essential to train regularly, to be flexible and to know how to adapt to changes.
The pandemic has caused rapid changes in our environment, forcing employees and companies to comply with government measures and economic disruptions. Telecommuting, the use of new digital tools, new work methods, short-time work, new tasks and assignments (such as the production of cloth masks or hydroalcoholic gel) have required rapid adaptation to cope with the emergency.
Adaptability and agility are key qualities in this period of economic downturn, which could be prolonged over the long term. It is crucial to be able to reinvent oneself, to accept novelty and challenge. In some fields, this may involve training and acquiring new professional skills. In this respect, curiosity is also a highly sought-after skill.
Be able to motivate team members
This last skill is obviously linked to the others mentioned above. In a time when the search for motivational levers is becoming more widespread in the workplace, how can managers, at their level, foster employee engagement when only ¼ of them say they are happy at work ? A motivated team is more likely to focus on the company's goals and work together effectively to achieve them. What are some ways managers can engage teams?
The levers to involve their teams are numerous:
- Cultivate aculture of recognition.
- Being able to give constructive feedback on work done is essential, developing a feedback habit that challenges and empowers.
- Encourage professional development by offering training and career opportunities, as well as rewards for achievements. They are an essential driver for internal mobility, for example.
- Create a positive work environment by taking into account everyone's ideas and comments.
- Establish clear goals and communicate regularly on the team's progress.
- Encourage a curiosity for learning and collaborative development.
Find out how to measure the motivation of your teams.
Many skills seem, at first glance, to be innate. This is more a belief than anything else according to Linda Hill. A manager has predispositions to lead and blend into a management style that fits the company, but a significant part of that is based on learning. The company, as well as HR departments, can help develop these different faculties by setting up coaching, support programs and thus infuse the soft skills aligned with the type of management favored in the organization.