Leadership | What Essential Management Skills are needed in 2021?

What Essential Management Skills are needed in 2021?

Essential management skills are vital for any organisation to succeed and achieve its goals and objectives, especially as many are now navigating the hybrid workplace.

One critical way in which businesses will thrive in 2021 will be through the leadership approach of their managers. So, how can we, as people professionals, line our managers up for success? Especially as effective line managers drive their teams to perform. Well, in this blog, we will explore essential management skills, and how we can foster best people management practices.

Interpersonal skills

It should come as no surprise, but one of the most important skills any manager can have is interpersonal skills. Management jobs are all about people, and being able to build successful relationships is integral. Part of this foundation is the cultivation of trust as well as genuinely taking an interest in their people's personal lives. Certainly, empathy and flexibility are equally important during this pandemic. Being able to understand and relate with their teams is crucial for any manager.

Whilst some managers have natural interpersonal skills, some may struggle with this. What we recommend is encouraging your managers to set aside time for social chit-chat whilst maintaining professional boundaries. Whether that be through an informal online group chat, or virtual socials/team-building days, these can provide great opportunities for teams to get to know one another as well as their managers. Of course, professional communication is important, but we must allow for a good work/life balance.

Communication skills

Effective managers are masters of all forms of communication including written, verbal and listening skills. This is also a crucial aspect of good interpersonal skills. If we want to encourage our managers to build their communication skills, it is worth noting the benefits as well as providing examples they can follow. As previously discussed in our e-book on people management, a lack of clarity is often the leading cause of underperformance. Clearly, good communication leads to a clear understanding of what a manager expects from their team, limiting the risk of underperformance.

Clear communication, is perhaps, more crucial now in 2021 than ever before. With evolving work circumstances, such as some moving to hybrid working, clarity can be hard to deliver. This may be as a result of changing priorities due to the pandemic, requiring expectations to evolve more fluidly. For example, a manager may need to provide short-term goals on a bi-weekly basis, instead of monthly.

By using the right performance management technology, such as Actus Software, you can embed good communication practices within your organisation. With this technology, you can support fluid communication frameworks such as one-to-ones, appraisals and more. This provides a written record of expectations, which if done correctly, provides further clarity. This is a clear example of how managers can make use of available technology to improve their communication skills. For further support on how managers can provide clarity and deal with performance issues, watch our webinar below.

 Role models

Role models with an open, positive attitude can go a long way to creating a healthy work environment. Some managers may learn best through example, so by providing role models who demonstrate clear best practice management skills can be helpful. They can demonstrate that simple gestures, such as active encouragement, recognising achievements, ensure staff feel valued. Perhaps these role models can even provide online workshops on essential management skills, to help share their knowledge internally. People professionals can set out guidelines and core values for good role models, which will help in the selection process. This is also a great way of recognising your managers who have been helping the business to thrive throughout the pandemic.

Fostering best practices through role models and recognising these good behaviours in 2021 is critical as some people return to the office. Some may be experiencing reluctance to the change, so we need to engage our people in a positive way.

Provide managers with training

Recent CIPD research shows that improving people management capabilities is the top people priority for organisations, particularly since COVID-19. Therefore, it’s encouraging to see that employers are increasingly recognising the fundamental role people managers play in addressing workplace skills and improving productivity. Especially as effective managers are able to propel the company’s business goals forward with fewer hurdles and objections. They accomplish this through a combination of strategic planning, decision-making, problem-solving, communication, delegation, and time management.

However, CIPD survey evidence also suggests that, in practice, too few organisations are prioritising line management development, training and support. Whilst people professionals can support their managers with the right technology and best practice guidelines, these are not a substitute for the necessary soft skills managers need. The truth is, general management is identified as the business area with the greatest need of skills development. This is particularly important in 2021, as some managers may continue to work remotely, thereby requiring greater support. So, if we want our managers to succeed, we must provide development opportunities and training. Whether that be through an online e-learning platform they can access at their leisure, or structured in-house training, the key here is to provide them with the soft skills toolkit.

Discover how Actus can provide the necessary training to support your manager's in a hybrid workplace below.

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Actus Performance & Talent Management Software has been helping customers to dramatically improve employee productivity and enable year-round performance conversations amongst its 70,000 users worldwide. To find out more, visit www.actus.co.uk. Driven by HR Professionals, Actus is focused on helping others in the profession to rise up and make a difference to their organisations. Discover free Actus HR Resources or listen to The HR Uprising Podcast.