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Human Resource Skills for People Managers

Have you heard the statement ‘people are the most important assets” when referring to an organisation? I’m sure you have, and even if you haven’t, it’s likely you believe this statement to be true. Whether you’re a human resource manager, a line manager, or even a team leader, you’re aware of the value people add to a business. They’re invaluable components that move the business forward. It’s safe to say that without good people, the organisation would certainly collapse.

“People can exist, indeed did exist for thousands of years, without companies. But companies cannot exist without people.” — Lazlo Bock

If people really are the most important asset, doesn’t it make sense that each person who finds themselves in a leadership role should understand basic HR practices? Understanding how to manage staff challenges, support hybrid workspaces, successfully drive employee motivation, retain key employees, and hire good people should not be left up to the HR department alone but instead should be a prerequisite for managers across the board.

The benefits of strengthening your HR skills as a people manager:

Before we emphasise the benefits of strengthening your HR skills, let’s first understand the general responsibilities of managing other people. You may notice that almost every managerial function involves the employees and teams that are being managed.

People-focused responsibilities that managers are called to perform include:

1 | Staff management: managers are required to interview, hire, and train new employees.
2 | Communication: managers act as the information-sharing vessel between top management and employees.
3 | Delegation: effective managers identify strengths within their team and allocate tasks accordingly.
4 | Motivation: a people manager is required to encourage and further motivate staff, increasing productivity and performance.
5 | Enforce company policy: managers enforce company policy, creating an environment built on accountability, responsibility and respect.
6 | Training: managers are required to devise training strategies and develop employees on new technologies or systems that being are introduced.
7 | Evaluate: managers evaluate employee performance and analyse data to ensure goals are being met.

Do you agree that the role of a manager requires a certain level of skill in human relations and people management? A manager does not perform their core responsibilities without interacting, managing, and involving the people they are working with.

 

How you will benefit from strengthening your HR skills:

  • Understand people and personalities to ensure your staff management strategies are optimised.
  • Learn effective recruitment and selection techniques to ensure you build high-performance teams that’ll accelerate growth.
  • Devise and develop winning training strategies to get the most value out of your team.
  • Understand performance evaluation techniques, and learn how to strengthen performance and rapidly improve employee motivation.
  • Deal with grievances and disciplinaries in line with legalities.

A good manager becomes an excellent manager when their HR skills are just as strong as their technical and conceptual skills. Through their basic understanding of HR, their team will be positively impacted, encouraging further growth of the department and the business as a whole.

Developing HR-related skills will advance your career in management:

“Having good people skills means maximising effective and productive human interaction to everyone’s benefit”, says Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant; How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job. “People want to connect on a humane level in the office; the alternative is a sterile environment with low productivity. So, the more you demonstrate these abilities, the faster your career will advance.”

She goes on to say:

“Given the choice between a savvy job candidate or, similarly, an employee seeking promotion – the one with excellent people skills and less technical ability will usually win the prize versus the converse.” She adds that “having good people radar is harder to teach than technical skills, but is a requisite for long-term, effective leadership.”

Lessons every entrepreneur can learn from Madiba

learn from madiba

This month, we celebrate the greatness that is Nelson Mandela. As we fast approach Nelson Mandela Day (18 July), reflecting on his messages of hope and perseverance is inspiring and can be applied everywhere – especially entrepreneurship. 

Nelson Mandela’s name will always be held high among the list of effective global leadership. Here’s how his messages of inspiration can help you lead your business to success.

No matter the difficulties, carry on

“Difficulties break some men but make others.”

Nelson Mandela has faced excruciating difficulty but what makes him a man of honour and resilience is the fact that even during these challenges, he never gave up. When you’re starting out, you’re going to face some hiccups. During this phase, it’s easy to throw in the towel but, it’s important to think of these bumps as little lessons.

The truth is that sometimes you’ll be faced with a challenge. The important part is how you overcome this and that you have overcome it. Before you think of giving up, think of all the times our former statesman has faced challenges and how he persevered. 

Conquer your fears

“… judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

As a business owner, your biggest fear is that your business will fail. This negative thought before you start your business could demotivate you. Eventually, you’ll end up not wanting to start your business and perhaps regretting this decision.

You will have mishaps along the way. Instead of wallowing in your failures, take the lesson and start over again. Maybe you’ll get it right the next time, maybe it takes a third try. Don’t think of mistakes as ultimate failures but as lessons. 

Impossible is nothing

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

Thinking that this client is too ‘big’ for you to land? Anything is a possibility. All you need to do is try. Of course, things may seem impossible because you haven’t taken action to achieve your goals. 

So how do you get yourself out of this mindset? Research what needs to be done to achieve your “impossible” task. Once you have actionable steps, you’re able to clearly realise your goals and you’ll have the confidence to tackle them. 

If you believe in what you’re doing, you’ll achieve great things

“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.”

If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, you’ll do almost everything you can to make your dreams come true. Your passion will not only ensure that you’ll work hard to achieve your dreams but also makes you enjoy the work. 

No matter the challenges, if you’re passionate these small difficulties will be speed bumps that can be easily overcome. Dedication will equip you for the road ahead and will be your greatest asset. 

Don’t be afraid of your dreams

“There is no passion to be found in playing small…”

No businessman has achieved great success by playing small. You have to take risks to reap the rewards and if you think your dreams are too big, perhaps it’s time to go back to the drawing board. Yes, being humble with what you can achieve is good but there are times that you need to dream bigger to achieve growth. 

One day, your small business will grow. To help build a scalable company, you will need effective leadership, something Tata Madiba can teach us all. For more on how you can become an effective leader, try enrolling in short courses that will teach you practical information that can be applied to your work and personal life.

How diversity makes teams more innovative

Creating something new whether it be a new idea or concept is by definition creativity. Innovation is using this creativity to change or enhance processes, people, teams or organizations.

Innovation and Creativity

Most businesses these days are all going through or facing change. An ever-changing global marketplace is a driving force behind these changes. With all the technology available at consumers fingertips and competition amongst business increasing, innovation and creativity have never been more important.

TED Talk

Rocío Lorenzo and her team surveyed 171 companies to find out if having a diverse workforce increased innovation. The answer was “Yes”. In a talk that will help you build a better, more robust company, she explains how your company can start producing fresher, more creative ideas by treating diversity as a competitive advantage.

Who is Rocío Lorenzo?

Rocío Lorenzo is a Partner and Managing Director at The Boston Consulting Group, based in Munich.

For the last fifteen years, Lorenzo has worked extensively in telecommunications and media. She has advised senior executives across Europe and the US on strategy development, growth programs and large scale transformations. In 2015 Rocío was named one of 25 female business leaders by Handelsblatt, HuffPost and Edition F. She is the author of several studies on diversity, including “The Mix that Matters: Innovation through Diversity,” and she leads the [email protected] Initiative in Munich.

What are the five leadership styles?

top leadership styles

Not all leaders are created equal. Each business has different requirements and effective business management need varying leadership qualities to ensure success.

There are five different leadership styles that entrepreneurs and managers usually use. It is important for any aspiring leader to know the different styles in order to identify their own, or to be able to adapt should the business require it.

The five leadership styles

1. Participative
2. Autocratic
3. Laissez-Faire
4. Transformational
5. Servant

what is your leadership style

What is a participative leader?

This leadership style involves input from all employees, resulting in a decision that reflects the majority’s views. For example, if there is a company-wide problem, managers will inform the staff and a majority vote will determine the solution.

Why this works

It’s a lengthy decision-making process, but it has its benefits. It improves employee morale as they are given a voice and feel like their opinion matters. With participative leadership, employees will start taking an active role within the company and are more willing to accept workplace policies.

Famous participative leaders include Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America. When Toyota vehicles were recalled, Lentz appeared on a website Q&A to field any questions customers had.

The downside is that if a decision needs to be made fast, the participative style might not work as the participation process takes time.

What is an autocratic leader?

Autocratic leaders will inform everyone of a clear goal and will tell you how to get there. Everyone understands what role they play and are provided with guidelines if they need. Unlike participative leadership, if a new strategy is implemented, there is no input from subordinates. All goals, procedures, and tasks are decided by the leader and will be delegated amongst everyone. The team faces dire consequences if goals are not met.

Why this works

Firstly, if decisions need to be made quickly, autocratic leaders can make decisions without any pressure or stress. If there is a clear chain of command in the workplace, tasks get done more efficiently. This leadership style is also beneficial if you have employees who need extra guidance and rigid processes. The disadvantage of an autocratic leader is that there is often a divide between employee and employer in the workplace. This often leads to a hostile work environment and high staff turnover.

Famous autocratic leaders include businesswoman Martha Stewart, who was once described as a “scrupulous and meticulous boss”. However, Stewart has built a global empire using this leadership style. Director Ridley Scott is also considered an autocratic leader. He is known to be a perfectionist and expects his actors to know their positions and lines. This has worked well for him considering his box office success.

What is a Laissez-Faire leader?

‘Laissez-Faire’ is French and loosely translated it means ‘do as you will’. In terms of leadership style, it’s more laid back. This approach allows teams to explore creative strategies and drives innovation. You will usually find this kind of leader in a creative environment, where deadlines are not crucial and team members manage themselves. Employees are given the resources they need and what they do with it is up to them. The leader will provide the information and trusts the team to achieve a great result.

Why this works

In a creative working environment, independence is valued. Teams are highly motivated and usually meet requirements and deadlines without any guidance. A hands-off approach makes employees feel that they are trusted and in return, feel confident in their ability to perform the task.

Famous examples of Laissez-Faire leadership include Warren Buffet, who rarely intervened in the workplace and allowed employees to perform tasks without his help.

The leadership style does have its disadvantages, especially in an environment where deadlines need to be adhered to. With the leader uninvolved in many of the procedures, employees could often mistake this as disinterest, which could result in a poor performance.

What is a transformational leader?

Transformational leadership is someone who actively communicates any changes to employees and is always motivational. Team leads are good examples of this. Once they receive a task from management, they communicate what is needed and inspire the team to achieve this goal and maximise productivity. They also offer support to individuals in a team and encourage an open communication space.

Why this works

These leaders tend to be supportive and loyal. As a result, team members will mirror this attitude. No matter the workload, tackling this project and achieving the desired outcome will be the main priority of the team. This also results in a high retention rate, as employees feel that they have an ally within the company.

Sir Richard Branson is a famous transformational leader. His approach to management is that the key to success is to ensure that all employees are motivated: “If you can motivate your people, use their creative potential, you can get through the bad times and enjoy the good times together… if your employees are happy and smiling and enjoying their work, they will perform well.”

While it is the most common style used by management, this approach could backfire. The leader needs to be sure of the decisions made. If not, the team is put in the line of fire, not the leader. Employees are also increasingly motivated to achieve their goals and will work long hours and burn out while doing so.

What is a servant leader?

Servant leadership puts the spotlight on the employees, while management is usually working behind the scenes. Like participative leadership, decisions are made by a group instead of one person. Servant leadership toes the line between leader and servant. In a nutshell, they lead with the others in mind. You’ll find this approach at non-profit organisations, where the mission is key.

Why this works

A servant leader values diverse opinions and everyone’s contribution is taken into consideration. People working under this leadership will feel that they are contributing to something meaningful and always feel encouraged in the workplace.

Famous servant leaders include Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Theresa, and Mahatma Gandhi – people who put the needs of others before their own.

This type of leadership is rare in a business environment and may not work, especially with deadlines. However, certain characteristics of this style can be used when motivating a team.

How do you find your leadership style?

Leadership style depends on personality type and playing to your strengths. You can also combine the above styles or switch between, depending on what the goals are. Online courses in management can also help you focus on finding your leadership approach.

5 ways to improve business efficiency

improve business effeciency

The lifeblood of any efficient company depends on the way the business is run, not just from a top level management perspective, but filtering through, all the way down to the baseline employees. The following suggestions to improve company operations will provide you with top tips to improve business efficiency in the workplace.

Your business deserves to run at 100% all day. It is up to upper level management to ensure it does so. If you are in quest of methods on how to improve business performance, you’re in luck, follow us as we tackle the best work efficiency tips.

1. Automate tasks to save time and improve business efficiency

There are numerous tedious tasks that can be fully automated, in any organisation. Something as simple as sending a receipt can be automated. The automation process adds to an overall efficient company in the long run, by providing employees with more time for critical thinking, therefore increasing productivity.

2. Encourage employees to chat face-to-face, rather than over communication tools

Challenge and disrupt the status quo. Nearly all large organisations rely too heavily on technology to stay up to date with their peers in the workplace. A face-to-face, hands on approach goes a long way to improving efficiency in the workplace.

Encouraging a face-to-face approach allows for employees to communicate more regularly, ultimately leading to better trust and therefore better communication. This hands on approach also allows for no mixed signals or crossed wires, adding to an efficient company policy.

3. Hold a daily 10 minute meeting

Daily meetings are a necessity and vital to efficient company dynamics, however, they can also drag on and on, leaving staff with less time in their day. Daily company meetings can be extremely useful, however, learn to keep them short, concise and effective.

Encourage efficient business practices for an overall efficient company, so that employees are constantly aware of what they need to do, and how exactly to do it. By holding daily meetings of around ten minutes long you can get everyone up to speed and going quickly. This process goes a long way to improving efficiency in the workplace.

4. Use task management software to keep track of productivity

Task management tools are helpful resources that help your organisation’s employees stay on top of critical projects and their objectives. Even though you may feel an email is sufficient, it is not always the best way to encourage staff to keep following the flow of a project. Task management software like Asana helps by improving efficiency in the workplace via its useful and friendly user interface, which allows everyone to collaborate on tasks in a single location.

5. Promote a company culture that allows for open communication

These work efficiency tips may seem repetitive, but learning how to improve business efficiency at work is interlinked to constant and stable communication within your organisation. You need to be promoting and endorsing a culture that not only allows for open communication amongst peers, but also amongst top level management.

It’s simple; everyone wants to be valued. A valued employee will be far more effective and play an invaluable role in your efficient company. Open the lines of communication and propel your company’s mission forward constantly. Do some team building, involve your employees in your company’s vision constantly. If you ready to take your career to the next level, download our Business Management course brochure.

South Africans are concerned about their working futures

south africans are concerned about job security and employability

The economic and political situation in South Africa has all of her citizens concerned about their job security, especially in the years to come. A research report conducted by MasterStart reveals that a mere 23.8% of working South Africans believe that their current skills will keep them employed in ten years time. One undeniable fact about all South Africans is that we are resourceful, intuitive and most of all survivors. It’s exciting to see that our people are taking initiative, and finding new ways for staying relevant in a world where change occurs almost daily.

Adapt with technology

Technological advancements including artificial intelligence and robotic process automation have the majority of South Africans looking for a way to future-proof their careers. In a survey of over one-thousand people, the MasterStart workforce barometer uncovered a very real statistic. That was 95% of people agreed lifelong learning is the key to retaining relevancy in their chosen field.

A word from the CEO

Andrew Johnston, Former CEO of MasterStart says, “Our workforce is clearly concerned, but positively, our research revealed that people are aware that frequent upskilling and reskilling will aid them in remaining relevant and employable. Especially in a country where unemployment is an ongoing issue, it’s imperative that we empower people to future-proof their careers by making lifelong learning opportunities continuously accessible.”

The Raw Reality

Did you know that it is estimated that artificial intelligence could boost global Gross Domestic Profit by as much as $15-trillion by the year 2030? That’s a whopping injection into the world economy. Aim to be a part of this dynamic movement, with technology that helps make our lives and jobs easier, it is still imperative that we keep ahead of the curve, in order to stay relevant.

Today is the biggest challenge

It’s really tough out there; 80% of people surveyed believe that it is far more difficult to find employment, as opposed to ten years ago.

Factors to consider today

In today’s day and age, there are numerous aspects to consider in the South African workforce. If we zoom into it; macro and micro factors seem to be at the core of the current employment situation in South Africa.

The most talked about and obvious being the political and economic climate of the country. Increased competition, where even online businesses are starting to become over saturated making it difficult to stand out. Fewer employment opportunities and rapid change have also been noted as a hindrance to growth and development within the job market.

IT and technology jobs are seen as the most secure

It’s actually quite ironic that IT and technology-related jobs are viewed as the most secure amongst South Africans since these very industries are responsible for decreasing the demand for human engagement in the workplace. Our survey noted that 30% of IT and tech employees felt supremely confident in their skills and relevance moving forward into the future, or at the very least for the next ten years.

Don’t let age hinder your career prospects

Many of the survey participants claimed that their age and lack of skills were their biggest barriers to gaining meaningful employment, especially for people over the age of fifty. It is interesting to note that people from twenty-four up to the age of thirty-four listed a lack of skills as the most prohibiting factor in securing employment.

Recognise, Retain and Nurture Talent

Large companies need to take the lead. Corporations can help by becoming apart of the solution. By investing in their staffs’ education, they are able to upskill their employees to help them stay relevant in a world that is constantly changing and adapting to technological needs. The reality is not all managers are equipped to deal with people on a human level.

If you recognise this, it could be beneficial for your business to upskill managers on people skills. A short course in human resource management from MasterStart may just be the answer you have been looking for. Likewise, there are various courses on offer for any employee wishing to stay relevant in the modern age. The key to staying relevant and a cut above the rest is lifelong learning. This short-course will help you stay at the top of your chosen field, now, and far into the future.

 

It’s Not All Doom and Gloom

Even with the glum statistics and the current recession South Africa has slipped into, rest assured there is still hope on the horizon. Its uplifting to see that 80% of survey respondents were planning to study further in the future. Studying further allows you to not only enrich yourself but enrich your company. The majority of companies love employees who take the initiative to study further and enhance their skill set.

Look to study online

Studying online courses can help you receive that promotion that you have been yearning for, followed by a hefty salary increase. You owe it to yourself to stay relevant, which will ultimately result in a more diverse set of skills making you less irreplaceable, higher motivation levels and improved communication skills, which allow you to form long and lasting relationships with your company.

Johnston concludes, “Given the competitiveness of the market – which will only increase with the rise of automation – having a sought-after skillset is the best way to guarantee ongoing job retention.  This means using online learning tools to get to grips with AI and RPA in order to build on efficiency and one’s overall value-add in a business.”

Read the top 10 key findings from the survey here: MasterStart Workforce Barometer Report 2018.

 

Leadership styles: Four common types in business

what is leadership

Did you know there are four types of leadership styles? Often, a leader doesn’t just adopt one of these styles, but all four are present in their methods of management. And, did you know that their style changes based on a number of factors? That’s right; leaders are a little more calculated than one might expect, but it’s for the good of the team and the vision and that strategic approach ultimately part of the characteristics of a leader.

The four types of leadership styles:

  • Direct,
  • Coach,
  • Support, and
  • Delegate.

While these leadership styles may not mean much to you right now, they are certainly worthwhile considering when you enter into a leadership role.

These four styles of leadership determine the level of decision-making authority you, as the leader, give to individuals in your team. Each individual will be given different levels of ‘authority’ when it comes to decision making, and this is based on the nature of the task at hand, and the individuals role, experience and emotional maturity.

Take a look at the leadership framework below to wrap your head around these four styles, and their ‘level’ of support and direction:

Leadership style #1: Directing

True leadership skills are not required when one is telling another what to do; how to do it and when it needs to be done. This makes this style more of a management tool than a leadership tool.

The ‘directing’ style is useful when: one is working with freelancers or contractors for example. When work is outsourced; and you have a clear idea of what you need done; and what the outcomes should be, you would use a ‘telling’ style. In this case there needs to be a clear direction (in order to communicate what you want), however, there needn’t be a high level of support.

The ‘directing’ style would not be useful when managing a direct team, as it would hinder growth and prevent the development of an inspiring team culture.

Leadership style #2: Coaching 

Leaders are visionaries; they build a vision, and direct their team to achieve the vision. However, in order to successfully direct their team and accomplish the objective, they first need to sell their idea and vision to all those involved in bringing it to fruition. This is not only done to effectively communicate the objectives, but to also excite, motivate and get team members believing wholeheartedly in the endeavour.

The ‘selling’ style is useful when: you, as the leader, are introducing a ‘new’ or refined vision. Although the vision was not formed by the team members; you need their buy-in to ensure they’re motivated to perform, and achieve the end goal.
This style is best used when the team is made up of individual contributors that are full-time employees.

Leadership style #3: Supporting

Collaboration is about working together: sharing ideas, suggestions and solutions within a group; but having the final say, as the leader. This is a rather inspiring leadership approach, as each team member is considered, and feels they are contributing in the decision-making process. Because the style is low on direction (from the leader), it gives the individual space to prove themselves and lead the process; and because there’s a lot of support, they are not held directly accountable for the outcome, should it fail.

The ‘collaborative’ style is useful when: a task needs to be carried out but does not need the initial involvement of the leader until a decision needs to be made. For example: when one of your team members are hiring an employee – they have full control over the recruitment process (interviewing/screening etc), but you as the leader have the final say, based on their input, ideas or suggestions. The ‘collaborative’ leadership style is best used when leading a team of managers or directors; otherwise a team of individual contributors.

Leadership style #4: Delegating

‘Delegating’ is yet another leadership style best used when leading a team of senior leaders, directors or managers. Because there is little direction or support, the leader gives full authority to the individual or team to make the final decision.

The ‘delegating’ leadership style is useful when: you fully trust the decision-making abilities of the individual or group. This style is usually used by CEO’s, who fully trust the capabilities of their directors or managers, due to their experience and emotional maturity. The ‘delegating’ leadership style is hardly ever used in teams made up of junior or mid-level staff, unless the decision is incredibly low-risk.

Do you have these important leadership qualities?

important leadership qualities

Perhaps you’re interested in pursuing a career in leadership, or maybe you haven’t yet given it a thought. Either way, establishing whether or not you possess these critical leadership qualities may just validate your decision to enter into the field. It may only just spark a light bulb moment that a career in leadership may, in fact, be the correct path for you!

Great leaders are:

Confident

A great leader is confident. They believe in their abilities, as well as those of the team. Through their confident demeanour, they are able to win the trust of those around them because they never come across uncertain. It would be incredibly difficult to lead without confidence, which makes this a key characteristic in successful leaders. It’s believed that leaders who are confident have better relationships with those around them; are open to risk, are motivated, make better decisions and accept feedback.

Visionaries

A leader is coined a leader because they have a vision, and are able to lead those around them to fulfil and achieve this vision. It takes a special person to successfully put the pieces of the puzzle together in their mind’s eye, and recognise what needs to be done in order to accomplish their objective; as well as effectively communicate this with everyone around them. Visionaries see the bigger picture, they are able to dissect their idea and motivate themselves and others to achieve the main goal.

Risk-takers

Leaders are risk-takers – this is where confidence comes in, as well as the dire need to accomplish their vision. An individual who is risk-averse would find the role of leadership rather challenging as risks need to be taken repeatedly. This is what moves a team forward and what brings the vision to fruition.

Natural problem solvers

Leaders are born with natural problem-solving abilities. Perhaps strategic/high-level problem solving is learned, but there’s no denying that exceptional problem solvers are gifted with natural talent and skill. Leaders are faced with challenges constantly, however, they are able to quickly pinpoint areas of concern, and swiftly strive to solve them. They don’t harbour on problems, they instead shift their focus to the solution and seek to inspire those around them to do the same.

Emotionally intelligent

Emotional intelligence encompasses self-awareness, impulse control, stress tolerance, empathy and self-expression. These traits make leaders aware of their actions, and the reasons for making certain decisions. Through this awareness, emotionally intelligent leaders take action based on what is best for those around them, rather than being clouded by their own thoughts and feelings.

Transparent

Leaders value honesty from those around them, and they strive to always remain transparent and honest, themselves. They are committed to working ethically, and will always go the extra mile to do the right thing and ensure that all is fair. An individual who displays integrity in all that they do is an invaluable asset to any business, as there is never a risk that the individual will be dishonest or involve themselves in underhanded practices. Team members are also drawn to leaders whom they know are reliable and transparent, and ultimately have their best interests at heart.

Empathetic

Empathy is a critical quality of effective leaders. Empathetic leaders don’t think of what’s best for themselves or the business, for example; they consider the feelings, concerns or situations of each individual when making decisions, no matter their position in the team. This builds a strong, inspiring team culture which positively affects performance and productivity.

Have what it takes to be a great leader? Find out more about our Leadership online short course. Refine your skills and advance your career!

4 unlikely skills that can drive your team to victory

winning skills

We can go on and on about the many technical and conceptual skills every great manager needs. Skills such as: communication, organisation, analytical and logical skills, basic financial skills … the list goes on. However, there are a few unlikely skills every manager should develop to drive their team to victory – skills you may not have associated with the role of a manager, yet almost guarantee a winning outcome every time.

These skills may not directly impact the outcome of a task but they certainly impact the team and the vision positively, influencing performance and productivity.

HR skills

Though most management roles don’t require HR skills, it’s a skill that presents many advantages. A team is made up of diverse individuals of varying age and ability, and finding a way to effectively manage and motivate each individual in a way that speaks to them is invaluable to performance. Another advantage that comes with acquiring HR-related skills is the ability to successfully recruit, select, retain and nurture talent within a team. This again impacts productivity and performance, and will almost always guarantee victory. People are the most important asset, and a manager who acknowledges this and strategizes accordingly will always see great results.

Sales Skills

Managers should always have a vision, and this vision should always be communicated effectively with team members to ensure they’re aware of what’s expected of them; what the objectives are, and ultimately where they’re headed. However, to get team members on board with your vision and get them excited and motivated to inject their best efforts, managers need sales skills. This is because the manager needs to sell the vision to their team – they need to make the vision sound enthralling and compelling, enough for the team to feel exhilarated to perform.

Creative skills

Most of a manager’s role involves strategy development: finding more effective and efficient ways of doing things; better ways to motivate people and improve team performance, and they’re often required to develop strategic visions. This requires a level of creativity, in order to formulate smart strategies that propel the team forward. Without creativity, the manager would find it challenging to come up with inspiring ideas; and without inspiring ideas, the team is sure to become static.

Strong self-management skills

This may seem like a rather strange skill. You’re probably thinking ‘of course managers would already know how to manage themselves’ – especially if they know how to manage other people. Surprisingly, however, many managers lack self-management skills. Many are unable to manage their stress or even their own workload effectively; sending a ripple effect through their teams. Some find it difficult to manage their emotions – often acting out of impulse or making decisions based on their own feelings, rather than what’s best for the team. Strong self-management skills give managers the upper hand, as they are able to separate their strains from their responsibilities as a manager; which positively affects those around them, as well as overall results.

Become a well-rounded manager who not only displays technical and conceptual ability but who is skillful in ‘unlikely’ areas that are guaranteed to take your team to the next level!

Leadership essentials

essential traits of leaders

Do you believe you have what it takes to be a great leader? Do you recognise leadership characteristics within yourself?
Most leaders are born with leadership qualities; but even so, these qualities need to be nurtured and refined in order to be executed and used to their full potential. While one can learn many effective leadership techniques, there’s another effective way to strengthen your given leadership skills – this is by practicing them each day, in every situation, and embodying the behaviour of a leader. This will train you into becoming a strong, influential individual, who leads naturally and effortlessly.

By practising these leadership qualities – in every situation, you’ll be on your way to nurturing your leadership potential:

1. Inspire and uplift

One of the key characteristics of an effective leader is the ability to drive positive change. Leaders know there are various ways to approach this challenge, but one of the most effective ways is through inspiring and uplifting those around them. This is how trust is cultivated, and it’s also the fastest way to increase the motivation of team members. It takes a strong, charismatic individual who understands the value of people, to successfully steer a team. If you want to engrain this highly effective leadership quality into your psyche, practise inspiring and uplifting those around you; whether they’re family, friends or even strangers. By exercising this characteristic early on, you’ll find it easier to step into a leadership role in the future and successfully influence your team.

2. Set attainable goals

Leaders should always set attainable goals. Without clear-cut goals there’d be no clear direction of where the team is going and what’s being worked towards – this negatively affects motivation and therefore productivity. When leading a team; attainable goals are critical as they remove fear and are easier to ‘swallow’, whereas big goals have the potential to intimidate. To learn how to set attainable goals and work towards achieving a vision, set attainable personal goals for yourself. Identify what motivates you to achieve them, and recognise the difference in your personal performance when faced with daunting long-term goals compared to attainable short-term goals. This awareness will give you a clearer indication of how most people (and your future team) would react.

3. Communicate effectively

Effective communication is a vital prerequisite for the role of a leader. A leader needs to effectively communicate with their team members so that each individual is aware of the goals, objectives and the ultimate vision. Without clear communication from the leader, team members would be oblivious to what is expected of them – which is sure to affect motivation, productivity and performance. Leaders need to act as the communication vessel between different departments, as well as carry and relay information from top management, to staff and vice-versa. To become a strong communicator, practice communicating clearly with those around you. Try to predict the questions people would ask, based on the information you’re giving them, and recognise the weaknesses in your approach, which need to be worked on.

4. Give Recognition

Leaders should give recognition where it’s due, especially if they want to positively impact motivation of team members. People want their efforts to be recognised, and it drives staff to maintain – or exceed their previous performance when their superiors acknowledge them and their hard work. To become an individual that identifies the good in others, practise giving recognition to those you see are doing their best. This will help you to quickly identify, and acknowledge your team members’ efforts in the future.

5. Balance emotion and logic

It’s important that leaders find a balance between emotion and logic. While they should display a degree of empathy, it’s important they also manage emotions to ensure a clear perspective in all situations. Leaders are usually more logical than emotional, however, decisions based solely on logic can also be fairly dangerous as there’s a higher chance of team members’ feelings being disregarded. A balance of emotion and logic is a great formula to becoming a successful leader. Learn how to find the perfect balance between the two, by becoming aware of your emotions, your actions, and the way you seek out solutions. This will give you a clear idea of which side is stronger, and therefore which side needs to be nurtured.

You know the saying: “Practise makes perfect”! Become an influential individual by practising the above leadership traits, and nurturing your leadership abilities. To become an unstoppable force in leadership, however, you may want to invest in your career potential too.

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