In the previous blog, we discussed which competencies help modern day managers and leaders to flourish in the distributed work and hybrid work environment. Now, here we are discussing some lesser known competencies that a manager should possess regardless of the work environment they are in. As, these competencies innately drive managers to lead better and serve the organization in a much productive way.
Laura Graves, professor of management in Clark University, conducted a study on around 300 managers from middle, upper-middle, and executive levels coming from numerous organizations. The results revealed that the managers who are motivated are less likely to leave their jobs and are the happiest employees. Additionally, they are more productive and satisfied with the work, too.
High work motivation in managers makes them more driven to accomplish goals. They are extremely goal-focused and therefore rarely miss deadlines. They boost up the drive within the team members. They model motivation by working with a goal-focused approach. Such leaders also encourage self-direction by making employees to tap into their innermost resources and work efficiently. They also actively seek projects of interest and are motivated to develop expertise which will enable them to contribute to the organization better.
Managerial Acumen means the manager’s ability to think clearly, quickly and judge accurately in order to take the necessary actions. Such managers understand their role in the organization, and how it is going to impact the overall goals of the organizations. They can see the bigger picture, i.e., how different team members’ expertise aid to the achievement of the final outcome. They also understand the extent of competition around and how to skilfully utilize the given resources to understand and combat such scenarios better.
Managers with high managerial acumen understand the impact of every decision they make and operate in a way that leads to the growth of the organization. A manager who possess managerial acumen does not possess one or two skills, but a combination of skills that helps them manage their teams as well as all kinds of business situations.
Managers, with problem-solving ability, approach difficulties with an insightful approach. This in turn also inspires the employees to perform better. A study published in the World Applied Sciences Journal confirms a positive relationship between the manager’s problem-solving and the employees’ inclinations towards participating in the organizational decision-making.
Such managers look closely at the problem situation, gather all the relevant details, and then reach to the root cause of the problem before coming up with the solutions. They prioritize to understand first in a systematic and thorough manner, instead of rushing to the end point. And before implementing an action plan on a bigger scale, they often involve the team in the process, in order to mutually create much better solutions.
Harvard Business Review describes open-mindedness as a form of “cognitive flexibility” and shares how with growing divisions in society, the survival of our businesses and communities may very well depend on our leaders having such open-mindedness and flexibility. Open-minded leaders think out of the box and are more likely to find innovative ideas. They also tend to listen more and are willing to admit and accept new ways of doing things. They carry a thirst for knowledge.
Such leaders are also willing to see the perspectives of the team members and hence, the team also feel a sense of liberty to express their ideas and thoughts around them, creating a very transparent and communicative environment. The employees feel empowered, as their voices are heard when they speak up. This becomes an important contributor to the overall success of the business because such leaders implement the “best” of the ideas instead of focusing on the hierarchical stage through which it was shared.
Self-management has become an essential competency, especially after the pandemic because people are going through so much uncertainty. It is in times like these, we need leaders who are able to navigate business situations without losing control over one’s decisions. Rash decisions and acting on impulses quickly is never in their books. These qualities makes them valued at work and a leader on whom the team members can rely upon. They attend to the process and keep their focus on the tasks and how it is done. Instead of just getting-things-done, they give equal attention to getting-things-done in the right way. They are fond of professionalism and induce the same spirit in the team. Leaders with high sense of self-management, powerfully restrain self-satisfying impulses, and put duty before their personal gain.
Robert Kelle writes about self-management in his book, “How to Be a STAR at Work” – In day-to-day behaviour, star self managers aren’t just watching how much time they spend on each activity, but they’re also evaluating what the activities are and trying to make good choices. They manage their time to work only on activities tied to their organization’s critical path.
Leaders with high levels of self-control tend to remain calm and unruffled during the tough ups and downs of the business. They also don’t get too ahead of themselves, whether it is during the times of winning or failing. And even when faced with setbacks, they tend to recover more quickly from the emotional upsets than others. This coping ability of such leaders is a great asset to the organization as they are able to take a realistic approach while finding solutions instead of seeing the problems from an emotionally biased perspective. Their composure is always an add-on when the team is working on a strict timeline or has a very close deadline of completion. Even when the business or team situations are emotionally triggering, they still take into account the perspective of the team members, their interest, and practicality while solving. It is these qualities of not getting overwhelmed by the situations, that makes them such resourceful leaders.
Research by Yam and his colleagues found that low-self control in leaders results in reduced job performance and negative leadership styles such as verbally abusing the followers. Leaders with high levels of self-control don’t storm out on their subordinates and know how to react in a balanced manner, so as the team morale doesn’t get affected because of their extreme reactions.
TO SUM UP:
Being a manager is a tough job. It comes with a lot of responsibilities, ups and downs, challenges such as – implementing new strategies for management, building rapport, communicating, collaborating, providing impartial supervision, ensuring the team is bonding with each other, creating an inclusive environment, working creatively, etc. This becomes much more difficult when people are working in distributed teams.
But with the right skill set, the managers can lead the team smoothly. HR Professionals can ensure that the managers they are working with are the best of all by knowing which competencies and skill sets to look for in them and whether those skill sets function well in the new hybrid environment or not.
– Somya Verma
Team PMaps – Psychologist