What Skills Make A Good Manager?

Firstly, what do we mean by a ‘Manager’? A manager of things, tasks, activities, results or a manager of people, or indeed both?

Whether you directly manage people or not; people, their behaviours and the quality of their working relationships have a direct impact on business performance. Whatever type of manager you are, the greatest determinant of success will be how well you manage your working relationships and how effective you are as an iinfluencer.


What skills do managers need?

There are countless books, tools, courses, qualifications, seminars, conferences (and of course the internet) to provide us with all the knowledge and advice we could ever wish for. We are in the age of information where information is power. The fact that in today’s technological world, we can access this information & advice instantaneously, makes that potential power even more accessible.

However, there is no magic wand. What use is that knowledge, if it is not used effectively? Worse still, if it is misused, which is all too often the case! As trainers, coaches and advisors we are all prone to making things complicated in pursuit of a USP and the credibility needed to compete.

What you actually need is a very simple set of tools and a simple framework to enable us to use those tools effectively.

What simple tools & framework do you need?

Well there’s some good news and there’s some not so good news:

  • The good news is that you already have the tools in your kit bag, you’re using them every day.
  • The not so good news is you’re probably using them in the wrong way, in the wrong order and at the wrong time, but ‘hey’, we can fix all that!

The tools that I am referring to are those in your "personal influencing toolkit". They are things that you are using all the time. Your powers of observation, your listening skills, questioning skills, voice tone etc. There are nine in total and these sit at the core of so much of what we do with our clients. Whilst there are a number of factors that will determine how well you use your influencing toolkit, it is your level of ‘self-awareness’ that is at the core of your effectiveness. More about your ‘toolkit’ another time.

How do successful managers engage with members of the wider team?

With regards to an effective framework, quite simply it comes down to how often you engage with people and the type & quality of the conversations that you have. There are a number of key conversations that you should be having. The most obvious is the open, honest and frank conversations around business KPIs and performance, providing effective feedback (both positive and corrective) and giving direction and, hopefully, support.

The conversations that all too often don’t take place, are those that develop trust & understanding and those that clearly map what we expect of each other. These conversations are the core foundations of successful relationships and high performance. From these foundations, the other conversations that you have will have a far greater likelihood of sustainable success.

Why don’t difficult conversations sometimes take place?

In our experience the two most common ‘excuses’ are:

  1. ‘I don’t have time’
  2. ‘I don’t really do that pink & fluffy stuff!’

The learning here is that you need to make time to have the right conversations in the right order.

So time is key and there is one other overriding factor that will determine how successful you are as a manager…

How your mindset affects your ability to be a successful manager

In addition to making the time to have the right conversations in the right order, more than anything above and beyond using our toolkit more effectively is your mindset.

As Henry Ford famously said,

“Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t, you are right!”

If you don’t understand the benefit to yourself, your team and the business of making the time to have these conversations, then you won’t have them. You need to get your mindset, and your attitude straight first.

What skills do managers need to be successful?

The particular mindset that I am referring to is the mindset that realises that in order to get the very best out of your team, to truly engage with them and understand them, you need to make the time!

Our own particular approach is to blend the right amount of knowledge & theory on the toolkit and the right conversations, with plenty of practice to build the competence and the confidence, to be highly effective. For so many of the people we work with, this becomes a life-changing experience.

So make time and have the right conversations in the right order!

In summary: what skills do managers need to be successful?

  • Apply your personal influencing toolkit - observe, listen and question
  • Engage effectively with your staff - ensure conversations develop trust & understanding between you and your employees
  • Have the difficult conversations - these can be uncomfortable but an open dialogue is more likely to be effective than closing yourself off
  • Ensure you have a positive mindset - believing you can is much more effective than believing you can't
  • Make the time to be an effective manager

If you still feel like you need help working out what skills will make you a successful manager we can offer Management Training Courses for a whole range of businesses. Contact us today for a no obligation chat.

Learning and training development