Businesses are not run by computers or machines; they are run by people. And often when there are one or more people trying to communicate, there are problems. People skills are important in management -- so important that the United Kingdom’s National School of Government offers a class in people skills for its senior managers.
Not An Island
No one person can turn around a company on his own. It takes a team of people working together. However, the people skills needed by managers are specific to each individual situation. Some companies need managers that can manage people in a crisis, while others need managers capable of leading during a total restructuring.
One Important Skill
Managers who listen will have a better idea of how to lead their teams. That doesn’t mean just listening to her closest advisers. Sometimes, the people at the bottom of the corporate chain have the best insight into how to improve the company and take it to the next level of success. Managers who do not take the time to get to know their team members and talk with them may miss out on great ideas that could help the company.
The 3 Cs
Sometimes, it’s not what the manager says, but how he projects himself to the team. Confidence, calmness and control are attributes team members like to see in a leader. Compare it to the captain on the Titanic. If the movie is true to the reality, he was calm even as the waters were rising. No one wants to see the leader break down during a crisis. Exhibiting the three Cs will make a team confident in its manager, and it will respond better.
A good manager must communicate clearly. How can a team be expected to complete a task if they are not sure of what to do? However, that communication must be adapted to the manager’s style. If the manager is a horrible public speaker, she should communicate through the written word. But if a team member responds better to verbal communication, the manager should be prepared to adapt even if it is in just a one-on-one situation.
Fair and Flexible
Conflict cannot be avoided when working with people. While decisions should be fair, a good manager will adapt and look at every situation with some flexibility. People are not alike, sometimes mistakes happen and there is no bad intention or incompetence involved. A good manager will adapt to the different personalities working around him while treating everyone fairly. Flexibility is a good trait. Showing favoritism is not, and could affect the morale of the team.
- "Secrets of Successful Property Managers: Excellent People Skills are Critical"; Property Manager.com; Mike Levy; January; 2010
- "CRO's People Skills Are One Key to Success"; Turnaround Management Association; Joe Sullivan; August; 2008
- "People Management Skills for Senior Managers"; National School of Government
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