15 Management Skills You May Not Have Learned In B-School
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Some Crucial Management Skills You May Not Have Learned In B-School

A degree in business or, better still, an MBA, will ultimately land you a management position with a company or perhaps motivate you to become an entrepreneur. In either case, you will be managing far more than budgets, production, and logistics. You will be managing yourself, the climate that you want to foster, and probably an extremely diverse group of people. Good managers understand that the following specific skills are all within this set:

1. People Skills

This is a hugely nebulous term and we usually refer to good people skills as the ability to get along with others. In a management environment, however, these skills are much more, and include several specifics with certain goals in mind – productivity, loyalty, high morale, and low turnover.

  • Diplomacy.
    Watch how you phrase things when you speak with others, especially your subordinates. You may need to give negative feedback, but you can do so and leave a person’s dignity intact.
  • Praise.
    Give praise as often as you can – this creates loyalty and a desire to work hard to lease you.
  • Get your own hands dirty.
    When deadlines approach or when there is a crisis, you need to be on the field with the players. Pitch in. You subordinates will gain great respect for and admiration of you.
  • Ask about their personal lives.
    If a family member has been ill, if someone has died, if the individual has publicly spoken to a personal issue, check up on the individual and how s/he is handling things.
  • Ask for input and feedback.
    When employees believe that they have a say, they are far more committed.

2. Empathy

Putting oneself in another’s “shoes” gives us a good perspective on their thoughts and actions. When you have a better understanding of issues and priorities of those who work for you, you will be better able to develop strategies for managing their functions at work. If, for example, you know that a person literally hates a specific task, do what you can to relieve him/her of it if there is a willingness to take on an additional task in exchange.

3. Enthusiasm And Positivity

These are mental attitudes that are contagious, and those you manage will take their cues from you. Choose your attitude every day, have some fun at work, and make someone else’s day. Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, Washington, is not necessarily the best work environment in the world. It is smelly, cold, and the work is hard. And yet management has adopted enthusiasm and positivity and has found ways to make it a fun place to be. Workers take order, wrap fish while they sing and joke, and throw the packages to the customers, who love being a part of the action. People come to work at the fish market, and they don’t leave! The place became so popular, in fact, that a book and a movie now feature it.

4. Being Innovative And Encouraging Others To Be

Do you have a problem to solve? Seek options from within yourself and from those who work for you. Turn on the brain and be creative. Never “put down” the ideas of others – if you do they will stop giving them, and you will be the loser. Steve Jobs didn’t build Apple completely on his own. He was an innovator, but so were those he managed.

5. Being A Visionary

See the idea and communicate that idea to everyone – communicate it daily! Think and talk big, have high goals, and praise others who do too. You may have a sales goal or a vision for a new product or service. When you communicate that vision, others “buy into it” and will help you achieve it.

6. Developing Your Public Speaking Skills

You will motivate others with these skills. Think of Martin Luther King and his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Hi public speaking skills inspired an entire nation to become better.

7. Listening

Truly listening to those around you means you stop what you are doing, you engage your brain, and you acknowledge what another is saying. When you do this, people feel that they have value and their loyalty and willingness to be a team player just grows.

8. Knowing Thyself

Assess your strengths and weaknesses and let others know what they are. In times of crisis, do you act impulsively? Are you quick to anger? If you are, then you have to develop tools to mitigate these things. Once you recognize your own faults, not only can you work on them but you are far less judgmental of others

9. Decisiveness

When all the input has been gathered, when everyone has had their say, it is you, the manager, who must make the final decision. Make it, stick by it, and explain your reasoning to everyone. And in a crisis, you must make a decision quickly based on the information that you have. People expect this from you!

10. Conceptual Skills

You must learn to think in the abstract and to be creative. See the big picture, even though you are currently mired in detail. This allows you to develop long-range plans and strategies for your department or organization.

11. Discipline

If you do not have enough discipline to stick with tasks and see them through to completion, no one else will either. Harry Truman, former U.S. President, once said: “In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves….self-discipline with all of them came first”. Think of Bill Gates or any accomplished athlete. They know what they want, they know what it will take to get there, and they stick with it until they reach the “finish line”.

12. Being Tech Savvy

You have to understand the technology that is in use in your department or organization. If you don’t, then learn it! And when new technology is introduced, you take the training along with your subordinates who will actually be using it.

13. Learning To Delegate

This is so hard for some people to do, but you must force yourself. If you don’t delegate, two things happen: 1) Your employees come to believe that you have no trust or faith in them, and 2) you are exhausted all of the time.

14. Being A Team Builder

You must build a sense of unity among your people – they must feel that they belong. Once they do, they are “invested” in your goals and visions. Remember the story of the fish market. That market has become hugely popular and profitable – so much so that wages for these fish mongers are terrific!

15. Never Stop Learning

Change is coming more rapidly than any of us really wants, but that is the reality. You have to adapt to change, and one way to do so is to be in a constant state of becoming educated. People who do not continue to learn become irrelevant to an organization.

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