Development. Potential leaders should seek professional development to better serve in her position. Don’t wait until a management position presents itself; if you have a desire find related workshops, seminars or even take classes to develop those weak areas. In a short time I was promoted from case manager to manager in an agency with no preparation or additional training ready; what was finally brought to the table had nothing to do with the job. Lesson: identify potential areas that need improvement and take initiative to ask, if it is not offered. And, pass it down. Be willing to learn to also develop others. Once you have it, effective managers encourage and nurture their skills, too. There’s truth behind the saying that great leaders are only as good as those around them.
Communication. An effective manager excels at keeping everyone in the know. It’s not only talking to his supervisor but also subordinates by phone, email or the traditional face to face method. What if a manager is facing a serious dilemma? A subordinate could help solve that problem or situation. Simply say that you need help. In many situations, managers have lost their jobs because of pride or fear that lead to silence. And, learn to accept constructive criticism. Ask for feedback from others and expect the same since communication is a two-way street; that definitely includes being honest no matter what the situation. Also understand confidentiality as sometimes saying less (when required) means a lot. You may not be considered the most friendly but excellent communications skills earns a leader some respect.
Delegate responsibilities. It’s great to have the skills to multi-task, but take on too much and any manager will suffer from burnout, sooner than later. Effective leaders learn how to delegate tasks as it promotes an efficient work environment. I took on a five-part project, and understanding the stress and time it would take, I asked two employees to take on one section each. Or, call on another manager. It was not only to give make them feel part of the plans but to make sure the deadline was met for the sake of the department and/or company. And I’m never shy about taking the initiative to ask a manager for an assignment or presenting an idea to add value. If you ask, most likely it’s “yes.” It definitely takes some pressure off. And believe me, people will notice that quality. Effective leaders know when to take over, but shouldn’t take on an entire department’s responsibilities alone; not with a good team of people around.
Relationship Building: leaders deal with so many people. So in any business an effective manager uses communication skills to build relationships with new employees, fellow managers and others outside of the company. He or she must also learn to maintain those previously established. This is definitely where the power of networking comes in. Whatever a potential leader is interested in, learn the art of building relationships. Make calls to those you feel can give you guidance. Find out who the key people are. Phone call, follow up email and then follow up if no answer after the first two attempts. You get a response you must get creative fostering the relationship. Managers will often serve as liaison for the company when collaborating or partnering with other companies so it is good to be able to master this art now. Once you become a manager it will be second nature initiating and maintaining relationships.
Decision making.On may occasions the buck stops with the manager, as the person everyone will looks to make a decision for the betterment of the company. This is a quality that separates a good from an effective leader. At times it may take a day, but there will be some instances where crucial decision making happens in a matter of minutes. To learn how to cultivate this skill a potential leader needs to have good analytical skills and be able to make projections from it. An effective leader will understand relevant and contemporary trends can help make decisions. And identify someone else who will offer wise counsel. Then, trust your instincts (they often scream if you pay attention!) and be confident enough to stand by it.
At any company, agency, firm, etc., everyone should be working towards a common goal or mission and look for direction from their leaders. You want to be most effective.