Every organization needs effective leadership in order to thrive, and developing your management skills is extremely important, both in terms of your own personal goals and career and the continuing success of whatever business or venture you are currently involved with. Being an effective manager can allow you to progress within an organization. It can help you flourish as an entrepreneur or SME leader, and it can also allow you to switch roles and sectors as many managerial skills can cross over between jobs and different fields.
Bob Bratt provides a good example of this ability to transfer skills across a wide range of different roles. He is currently the Chief Operating Officer at DLA Piper, a global law firm with lawyers located in more than 30 countries throughout the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East. With over three decades of managerial experience, he has enjoyed success in many different areas, including both government and commercial roles. He began his career at the Department of Justice, where he served as Executive Officer in the Civil Rights Division and Executive Officer in the Criminal Division. In the commercial sector, he has served as Vice President at Science Applications International Corporation and in several different executive roles at Unisys Corporation.
Here are some tips to help improve your own transferable management skills.
Lead by Example
The old adage that actions speak louder than words holds true in management as in many other areas of life. As a manager, you should always lead by example, ensuring that your own attitudes, abilities, and efforts are always the best they can be. It is hard to inspire respect and loyalty if those under you do not feel that you are pulling your own weight.
Some workers respond better to different approaches, but positivity usually elicits a better response than negativity. Any issues of poor performance or attitude must be addressed, of course, but it is generally better to offer constructive criticism and to focus on strengths as well as weaknesses.
Be Personable and Approachable
Remember that the employees beneath and around you are people, not drones or mere business assets. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, and personal quirks, and it’s your job to get the best out of these different personalities. You don’t necessarily have to be everyone’s best friend, but you should at least get to know your teams and make sure they feel they can approach you with any issues or problems they have.
Develop your Vision
One of the most important skills for a leader to have is the ability to see the big picture – to visualize where an organization, department, or team needs to be and evaluate what needs to happen in order to get it there. You also need to be able to communicate this vision and translate it into clear, actionable steps that others can follow.
Some people have a natural aptitude for management, but there are very few managers who couldn’t improve certain aspects of their managerial skillset. Doing so is to everyone’s advantage, including the teams or departments you are managing, and improving your management skills should be an ongoing process.