If one of your goals this year is to make more money at work or advance your career further, then consider if you’ve got what it takes to become a manager.
Management is a funny gig …
I should know. I was a manager for many years.
And even though I’ve switched jobs and am not currently in charge of anyone, I’m sure that I will be again some day as I carve out my new career path.
Depending on your industry and how far you take things, managers can often make several times more compensation than their lowest paid employees.
In fact, to illustrate how extreme this situation can be, Forbes reported that CEO’s (the highest position of management you can have) make 331 times as much as the average employee!
Why is this??
It’s because organizations often associate managers as being able to produce greater overall results than individuals can. They set the direction and make decisions that could result in thousands or even millions of dollars of savings. Therefore, there is quite a different perception of value.
Plus, there is another great thing about being in management: It will always be necessary. Humans on every level need structure like government, teachers, and other leaders to guide them. At work, even the best performing and well intentioned group of individuals will need someone to give them direction and keep them on track.
As someone who has managed other people, I can tell you that some days are certainly more challenging than others. But there is something to be said about the satisfaction of bringing an entire group of people towards reaching a common goal.
So if you believe you have any talent in this area or would like the opportunity to earn more than you are already, take a few minutes to reflect upon this management skills list and ask yourself if you’ve got what it takes to lead others and yourself to success.
The Top 10 Skills Good Managers Have
1. Leadership. A great manager will get others to see the big picture. This is often the most important and hardest of all the management skills because sometimes even managers don’t know where they’re going. That’s why in the field of management there is a lot of debate over whether a “manager” and a “leader” can or should be the same thing. In my opinion, a great one will embody characteristics of both.
2. Charisma. Another of the hardest items on this list is having what it takes to get along with others. A good manager doesn’t have to be everyone’s best friend, but they do have to know how to get the most out of people. And as the old saying goes, you can more flies with honey than with vinegar. Therefore, a little personality and charm can go a long ways!
3. Passion / Ambition. Believing in the greater overall goal, a good manager will be passionate about what they do and internalize their duties. A great manager will find a way to motivate others to do the same. Usually this will be accomplished by getting others to perform the best they can and/or fearing the consequences of not doing so otherwise.
4. Produce Results. Have you ever received poor service from a clerk or server, and then were treated completely different by the manager? That’s because as a manager, they know that they always need to find a solution. Always being able to create choices and produce results is an important part of being a skilled manager because it’s how successful managers create results where others would otherwise fail.
5. Decisiveness. Managers don’t know everything. But they do have the call the shots when no one else will. So whether it’s the right choice or the wrong one, a good manager will make a decision and be able to support why they feel it is the best choice.
6. Listens to Others. Even though a manager is the one to make the call, a smart one will first consider the opinion of those who are more qualified to make the judgment call.
7. Leverages the Talents of Others. A successful manager will see the strengths in others and use them where they are the most appropriate.
8. Challenges You to Develop. At the same time, a successful manager will also see your weaknesses and give you tasks that will force you to grow your skill-set. They will find what motivates you and use it! We can all use a little coaxing out of our comfort zone!
9. Creates Other Leaders. A single person can’t be in charge of everything. For an organization to grow, a truly great manager will need to develop other people into future leaders with the same qualities as you find on this list. Where would Apple be today if Steve Jobs had not groomed Tim Cook?
10. Makes Themselves Not Needed. As ironic as it sounds, the truly successful managers are the ones who develop their people so well that they are rarely needed for all the mundane, everyday decisions. This because they create a well-oiled and efficient machine that requires as little maintenance as possible. By doing, their time freed up to work with other leaders on bigger goals, future growth, and development of the organization as a whole.
Readers – How many of you are managers? What do you consider to be a must on the management skills list, and how do you embody this?
Images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
John S @ Frugal Rules says
Great points MMD. I especially agree with #9. Managers need to have the ability to look beyond themselves and see the potential in others. That benefits the company, but also the individuals involved.
Its the only way to grow John! A manager can’t do and think of everything. I always imagine it like a pyramid, and the more people you can develop around you, the larger the base becomes and the larger the organization can grow.
Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank says
That last point is key in my opinion. It is important to be able to leave some tasks and decisions to other members of your staff. Many people really shine when given the opportunity to be involved in a project or task and when they are able to make important decisions.
It’s amazing how well some people do when they are given the opportunity to take the reins. I like to think that part of that success comes from leadership that encourages them to step up!
Jason Clayton @ frugalhabits says
I agree with Glen, number 10 is key for everyone’s sanity. Great leaders hire and develop great leaders so that they don’t need to make every decision. Just the key ones.
Exactly! The best managers will handle the things that are truly important like growth and longevity of the business. Getting the group to the point where others can make all the lower level decisions is the only way to rise up from that.
This is why I’ll probably never become a manager lol. I lack more than just a few skills in that list including charisma and decisiveness. But I think the first point sums up the rest of the list pretty well, being a good leader is ultimately knowing your team, knowing their strengths and weaknesses, knowing how to delegate the work,and knowing how to help them become better. These are all important characteristic of a good manager 😀
Ha! At least you know yourself well enough to make that call. There are a lot of managers out there who think they are hot stuff when really they shouldn’t be in charge of anyone.
Maybe you don’t have charisma and decisiveness now, but I’m a big believer in behavior modification. If you want it bad enough and are willing to work at it, it will come. I’m very surprised at the skills I have that I would have never dreamed I would possess.
[email protected] says
I am not technically a manager right now but I would probably be ready in a couple years. I need more time to learn my industry.
Not everyone needs to be in charge (and technically they can’t). Its pretty hard to steer the ship if you don’t understand the waters, so there’s nothing wrong with waiting to learn the ropes until you are comfortable.
Nurse Frugal says
I’m not a manager, but one of the most important things I have seen in a manager is selflessness. The ability to put your employees needs first or take them into consideration for the betterment of the department.
That is a really good quality to possess. We can all think of managers who have not done that, and how little we respect them!
Rohit @ The Money Mail says
I think two most important skills are
– the ability to get work done and
– the ability to motivate others to get their work done
Other than this, its up to a managers style.
Style is a big part of it! The thing a lot of people forget is that every manager has a different way of achieving the goal. Its important to know yourself and play into your own strengths if you want to really get others working towards the goal.
[email protected] says
Great post! I totally agree with all of these and I think that some people have the personality to be managers and others should never be.
Ha! Beware of those who got there “by default” (which is really unfortunate) because they are NOT pleasant to be around.
While I completely agree that these SHOULD be traits of managers, I think the majority of them lack these qualities. I rarely see true leadership, or see many managers really listening to their employees and/or building other leaders around them.
Unfortunately, you are absolutely right. It’s very hard work to be a GREAT manager. Therefore, we have a lot of average and not-so-great ones out there making the lives of many miserable. It’s sad too because usually if you understand your employees and really work with them / listen to them, they almost always give you everything you need to succeed. You just have to put all the chess pieces in order to make it work.
[email protected] says
Although I’m not a manager, I’d think communication skills are very important. Not only speaking, but also listening. If you listen to what your customers and employees want your area of the business can run much smoother.
Listening is one of the strengths I play into (being an introvert myself). Its amazing how much data you gain about others, your customers, the business, etc by letting others talk and then asking strategic questions.
[email protected] says
I think it is important to be decisive. If you hem and haw and can’t make a decision, you’ll get eaten alive. Listening is a great one as well. You also need to be willing to accept responsibility when someone under you makes a mistake, like in the point about producing results. The buck stops here sort of mentality. I am so tired of being the boss and can’t wait to sell. My husband, on the other hand, just got another master’s degree to become a principal. We are going in different directions and are both excited. Strange how that works out.
Not being able to take responsibility for those on your team is where a lot of people fall short of being good at this.
Good for your husband becoming the principal! I hear there is a lot of money in that position!
I have no desire to be a manager, personally. This year I also plan to focus a bit more on freelancing and online income. For me the three things I associate most with management are people skills, big picture thinking/strategy and organisational skills (though I guess some can get by without the last if they have good support people).
Management is not for everyone, but I think more people are up for the challenge than they realize. The skills you mention are pretty vital.
Freelancing and online income sounds great! What do you plan to do differently to grow these areas?
KK @ Student Debt Survivor says
I agree with everything on this list, particularly #5. Some people can’t make decisions without hand holding. I deal with a lot of crisis and people in crisis in my line of work. An important skill that I’ve been able to build on my ability to make a decision and roll with it. Sometimes I don’t make the “best” decision, but if I don’t make a decision at all people’s lives could be in jeopardy. Being a manager isn’t for everyone, but many people can learn with the right training. That being said, some days it would be nice to be line staff without the pressure of having to make those types of decisions. Tradeoffs I guess.
I think you hit the nail on the head – it may not be the correct decision, but its the one we’re going with!
I know exactly what you mean about working as a lackie rather than being the boss. I love the pay and being able to take the company where I think it should go. But sometimes it would be cool to just leave the hard stuff to someone else. It might be fun for a day, but I think we’d get too frustrated after a while! Once you’ve been in charge, its in your blood!
Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank says
With those 10 items, I think I have what it takes to earn more this year, MMD, and I am so excited to start as soon as possible. I just need to have willingness, dedication, and consistency.
Listening and decisiveness are two tips that go together well. Listening well can help managers make the best decision.