5 Functional Skills Managers Need to Lead Their People

Posted by Susan Cullen on February 19, 2018

5 Functional Skills Managers Need to Lead Their People - NexaLearningWhat are the primary functional skills needed for managers and supervisors to lead their people effectively?  Our experience, after working with thousands of managers and supervisors, has shown that there are a core group of skills most managers need if they are going to excel in their role.  These all involve key functions managers must demonstrate regularly, while bringing out the best in their people. 

The primary skills include:

  1. Behavioral Style Flexibility: Each employee will have different strengths and challenges. They will also be motivated by different things and have different preferred approaches to work. Knowledge of diverse personality styles will help any manager better understand each unique team member.  It's important that the manager can first identify the style of each individual on their team. Then that manager will need to adapt to each employee's style in order to motivate, develop and engage their performance. We recommend the use of resources like the Everything DiSC Management Profile help managers understand their own style and how to specifically adapt to the style needs of others.

  2. Consistent Coaching: The most effective managers know their people well and consistently coach them. They provide praise and show appreciation when it is deserved. They also help the employee find ways to improve performance when it needs to occur.  These managers build engaged employees who aspire to improvement because the employee takes responsibility for solving any performance slip and is not “told” what to do. As a result, both performance and motivation can rise.

  3. Performance Management: The manager’s ability to help each employee achieve their annual goals is a key element of effective leadership. Managers need to be especially astute at these 3 phases of the performance management cycle:

    ♦ Establishing clear, specific and measurable annual goals
    ♦ Coaching their team members throughout the year to meet those goals, and
    ♦ Fairly appraising performance at the end of the year.

    Many leaders struggle with the process of making their goals specific and measurable.  This makes it virtually impossible to measure performance fairly.  However, in addition to this challenge, even more managers struggle with making the time to provide meaningful coaching throughout the year around the accomplishment of those annual goals.  The most fundamental job of any manager is to help their people succeed.  Without the skill and discipline to be effective at performance management, employees will struggle and never really receive from their leader what they most need to successful in their jobs

  4. Interviewing Skills: It is important that leaders can identify and hire the right candidate to begin with. The impact of making a poor choice can take a heavy toll on the morale and productivity of the entire team. Plus, the cost to replace, train and coach a new team member is expensive and time-consuming. To help leaders make the best hiring decision, we suggest they use behavior-based interviewing techniques to identify a candidate's past performance and ability to perform the essential skills needed in the role.

  5. Leading Change: Change is the one constant in today's ever-evolving world. Leaders today need to be skilled not just at coping with change, but at leading it. To do that well, they must understand the typical emotional response most people have as they move through different phases of any change cycle. Then they must know what to do to best lead their teams through each phase until the change is finally accepted.

These 5 skills outline functional responsibilities most managers will need to perform. When you practice these skills, you will be viewed as a competent, engaging and effective leader who builds a climate of innovation and problem solving.

If you would like to learn more about building an innovative climate, download our white paper entitled “5 Strategies to Create an Innovative Culture”.
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Topics: Personality Styles


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