How to Improve Management Skills

Being a manager is a big job. In order to be an effective manager, you'll want to constantly sharpen and refine your management skills. If you're not on top of things as a manager, you could start to lose out on business opportunities due to poor employee productivity, a lack of company organization and stifled growth. The good news is that there are many things you can do to improve your skills as a manager.

Define your role as a manager. A manager is an umbrella term for a number of different tasks, and, therefore, no two management roles are the same. Sit down with your boss or colleagues and list the specific duties you're responsible for. Next, prioritize the job duties in order from most to least important. Doing this should help you be more organized and focused with your time. Plan to spend the majority of your time on the most important task, without ignoring the lesser ones. Defining your role should also help you eliminate any activities you do that are unnecessary.

Delegate responsibilities to other employees. A skilled manager knows how to delegate. If there are certain less critical, yet time-consuming tasks you're responsible for that another employee with extra time could easily handle, give him the task. Delegating will not only lighten your load, but it will give the employees you delegate to a sense of responsibility and ownership in the workplace.

Allow others to survey your skills as a manager. Self-reflection can be a difficult task, and it may be hard for you to see certain elements of your management skills that are obvious to others. Create a survey that allows your employees, colleagues and bosses to rank your skills in the role areas that you defined. Leave room on the survey for comments and suggestions, and keep it anonymous. Be open-minded as you review the survey, and try to gain as much insight as you can.

Read books about management. Keep your skills sharp by constantly learning. There are a good deal of books about management available. “Developing Management Skills,” by David A. Whetten, is an example of one of these books.

Attend a seminar to help refine your management skills. Take advantage of seminars offered by your company even if they're optional. This will help you in your skill area and make a good impression on your superiors as you seek to improve yourself. You may want to find additional seminars on your own, such as the those offered by SkillPath (see Resources), a company that offers a host of different types of business conferences and seminars.