Every successful manager needs more than a resume filled with technical knowledge and competencies. While corporations do want managers with a solid business education and experience leading teams, they are also seeking managers with the soft skills to relate to other people — especially under difficult circumstances. “Soft skills for managers” may not be the title of a course in an online MBA program, but the following concepts are just as important as a graduate degree in business administration.
Perhaps the most important soft skill for managers to develop is communication. Managers rely on written and verbal communication on a daily basis, so successful managers find ways to communicate effectively with their teams and their supervisors. Effective communication also includes the ability to listen well, which is essential to learning what your team and your superiors both need.
Empathy is the ability to imagine yourself in another person’s position and understand their situation. Managers need empathy in order to help their employees and coworkers meet the overall organization’s goals, the team’s goals and each individual’s goals. Empathy also means assessing each team member’s ability to take on certain roles so that everyone receives appropriate assignments.
Another crucial soft skill for managers is flexibility — or the ability to adapt to a variety of circumstances. Even with the most careful planning, every manager will encounter unforeseen events that require spur-of-the-moment decisions. Skilled managers can solve problems quickly and creatively while encouraging the team to press on toward their goals without becoming discouraged by short-term setbacks.
4. Learner attitude
Readers are leaders and learners are earners. When a manager stops learning (whether through formal education, regular reading or by researching specific topics), that manager stunts his or her potential for career growth. Managers who maintain an attitude of curiosity toward newer, better, more effective approaches to workplace challenges can inspire their team members to do the same.
Just as a learner attitude can originate with a manager and spread to team members, optimism is also contagious. Managers who keep a positive outlook and encourage their team members to do the same will inspire greater personal growth in their team members. Negativity is also contagious, so successful managers must work hard to create a positive atmosphere for their team to work together and grow in.
Successful managers foster trust among their peers and team members. Employees need to be sure that their time and efforts support supervisors who work equally as diligently and honestly. Trust is difficult to regain once it is lost, so managers need to maintain a trustworthy culture from the beginning of their careers.
Self-evaluation involves the ability to look back at one’s own work and assess it for positive and negative outcomes. Self-evaluation can include an evaluation of quantifiable outcomes such as sales numbers or profits, but it can also include interpersonal concepts such as conflict resolution.
A job candidate who demonstrates soft skills for managers will be more attractive to hiring officers. A high-quality online MBA program offers graduate students the opportunity to hone their soft skills while they build a solid foundation in the technical knowledge and business acumen they need in the corporate world.
Learn more about the Boise State online MBA program.