Here are some key skills of a manager:
☛ Strategic Thinking
☛ Emotional Intelligence
☛ Critical Thinking
☛ Tough Conversations
☛ Making Values Visible and Viral
Critical thinkers question conventional wisdom. They are vigilant about identifying and challenging assumptions that underlie actions or inaction. They are automatically wary of generalizations, inferences and unproven theories. Among their favorite questions is: "How do we know that?" They strive to independent thinkers, careful to check how their own biases might color their decisions. They do this automatically to speed up good decision-making, not to cause "paralysis by analysis."
Let people know what you stand for. Make those conversations a part of your daily work. Lose your fear of coming off as corny or holier than thou. Tap into the great reservoir of commitment and care that people bring to their work lives, but often fail to talk about unless they are at some professional seminar, where it pours out because you make it safe to talk about values like integrity, diversity, community, and service. All you have to do is start those conversations and they always take off organically. It should happen in the workplace, too. If you do not inspire, who will?
Are you among the legions of managers who habitually fix the work of others? Are you the non-stop answer machine for people who are overly reliant on you for decisions? And at the end of the day, do you wonder why you are frustrated and exhausted and employees are not getting better on your watch? You need to learn to coach their growth.
Do not avoid tough talks. Learn to do them deftly, avoiding the many pitfalls they can present. Become an expert at addressing challenges and problems early and often. Do not let problems fester or bullies prevail. Build trust as a leader so people recognize your good intentions even in the midst or wake of challenging conversations.
Your IQ alone can not fuel the group's success. Emotional intelligence is critical. Build your self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management. Recognize that as a leader, you are contagious. Be a source of energy, empathy and earned trust, proving optimism and realism can co-exist. Understand that resilience is key to leadership, especially in stressful times.
Commit to wearing what I call "feedback glasses" new lenses through which you look at people and their work. Through these lenses, you are always on the alert for opportunities to deliver specific, helpful information to people about their performance and their value to the organization. Upgrade the quality of all of your interactions by using them as opportunities for customized, effective feedback.
Telling people "You are lucky to have a job" in no way qualifies as motivation. Nor does fear, unless it is fear of letting a great boss down. Nor, interestingly, does throwing money at people. Pay them fairly, of course, but do not stop there. Understand the key intrinsic motivators:
Determine the prescription for each of your employees.
Change assumptions about the importance/subservience of certain roles in your organization.