As times change and more millennials enter the labor force, the rules of management are changing. While universal skills like motivating individuals, encouraging teamwork and being a great communicator remain as golden as ever, the methods towards achieving them have gone through a sea change. Below are 8 uncommon manager skills that we think that today’s leaders need. Image Courtesy of Scott Adams via Dilbert.com
Know when to have fun
Gone are the days when having fun at work means, blue jeans on Fridays or taking the team out for happy hours. Companies like Google, Foursquare and Facebook lay a special emphasis on fun at work, by investing in interesting office designs and decor. Here are some cool office spaces that redefine fun at work. While not every firm out there will have the budget to create a gaming arcade in the office, try inexpensive but fun ideas to keep things light at work. At 9Lenses, we have Nerf gun wars when things either get a little too quiet or too intense. Think board games, hiking trips, fantasy football, or even starting a soccer team.
Here’s a popular quote from the Editor of Vogue, USA, Anna Wintour, “People respond well to those that are sure of what they want.” There are several occasions when as a manager, you will be second guessing your decisions, your own skills and ability to finish projects or lead a team. On these occasions, just make sure to line up all your facts and resources and then project an aura of confidence. As the adage goes, “fake it till you make it.”
Understand different cultures
The world is getting smaller and more connected at never before speeds. As a manager, if you close yourself out to different perspectives, global cultures, or even various working styles, then you may end up impeding your own growth! By having rigid opinions or a set style of work, you may face resistance from your own team, which ultimately results in loss of productivity.
Just like you need to lighten up the atmosphere from time to time, as a manager, the onus is on you to also nurture a spirit of competition, more specifically healthy competition. Many researchers indicate that Millennials get bored quicker than any earlier generation. Use this manager skill to make things competitive within your teams and with other teams in the organization too. By keeping things competitive, you can engage your teammates and increase productivity too.
Diffuse conflict quickly
Even healthy competitions can sometimes lead to conflicts, so to begin with, be proactive and prevent conflict. A manager should work towards creating camaraderie among his/her team members. Let your team know right at the start that you have zero tolerance to drama. Setting expectations within your team and also while interacting with your own superiors and other teams in key. Emphasize transparency and navigate any conflicts quickly and in a fair manner. Check out 10 tips for negotiating workplace conflicts as outlined by Conflict Expert, Jeffrey Krivis.
Create more managers
It has been said that today everyone is a leader in an organization. Each person leads his/her efforts and strives to achieve goals. Each person individually contributes to a collective goal. Nurture leadership in your team by clearly communicating group goals and also by giving every individual a sense of how they can contribute. Encourage creative thinking and also encourage your team to ask “why.” Be weary of your tendency to micromanage and let your team members learn to manage their time, effort and expectations.
Get behind that emoji
While being a good listener is a universal trait that has remained an important skill throughout the ages, it is now more challenging than ever. With remote working, communication becoming virtual, a manager will need to cut through all the noise, read between the lines and listen to the true meaning behind a person’s words. Yes, as challenging as it may seem, you actually have to understand the true emotion behind an emoticon or emoji! Again, here’s where understanding different cultures comes in handy.
Drive technology adoption
There are thousands of apps and versions of software being introduced globally on a daily basis and many of these are great for increasing productivity at work. As a manager you need to stay abreast of technology trends and drive the adoption of technology – both software and hardware when and where relevant.
We think the above eight aspects capture some interesting ways in which manager skills need to be updated to suit the working styles that is dominated by technology and a young workforce filled with Gen Xers and millennials. There surely are many more skills that managers need in order to be effective in spite of ever changing work force and styles. Tell us what you think are some manager skills that today’s managers need.
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