Gone are the days when your technical skills were sufficient to lead you to the top of the rung in the professional ladder. In the 21st Century, your People Skills, also commonly known as soft skills, have as much impact on your effectiveness as your technical skills, if not more. Whether you are in a leadership role, or aspiring for one, having good people management skills is an absolute must. Not only do these soft skills increase your ‘likeability’ as a manager, they also get the work done.
While managing different types of personalities and ensuring healthy collaboration is no cakewalk, we assure you it is no rocket science either. Our Top 9 Skills for People Management are all you need to address the challenges of becoming an effective leader.
1. Be a team player
Let us start with the basics. Have you ever heard of a leader who didn’t know how to be a good team player? No. In order to be a good leader and to manage different people, you must be open to perspectives and ideas that are different from your own. Make your team members feel like valuable resources, whose opinions and contributions are given as much importance as yours.
2. Set goals for your team
As a manager leading the team, it is your responsibility to give direction to your team. Set clear goals for your team as a whole and for individual members to ensure that everyone is on the same page of understanding. Not only would this ensure that all team members work towards shared goals, it will also make them feel involved and committed towards those goals.
3. Communicate effectively and frequently
Discussion and dialogue are the absolute essentials for healthy partnerships. Keep the lines of communication with your team open at all times. Whether it is to discuss the progress on a certain project, or problems that a team member is facing, a good leader is easily accessible and approachable to address the issues of his workforce and to provide unflagging support in times of need.
4. Make room for feedback
One way communication is as good as no communication. Help your team feel that their opinions and feedback are as valuable as yours. Nobody is perfect, and neither are you. Encourage your employees to reach out to you if they think you’re missing out on something, and when they do, take the feedback in your stride and work towards improvement.
5. Resolve conflicts
Disagreements and conflicts are bound to arise when people from different walks of life come together. However, minor differences in opinion may soon become severely damaging for the team, if not dealt with carefully. As the leader of the pack, it is upon you to ensure harmony within the team. Engage in dialogue with all parties involved to reach at decisions that are agreeable to all.
6. Trust and appreciate your team
Good leaders delegate effectively. They not only distribute tasks to their team members to free themselves for managing people, they also trust their team members to complete the important tasks. When employees feel that their leaders trust them with their share of the work, they see it as their responsibility to perform well. Make your team members see your confidence in them, and appreciate their good work to keep them inspired and motivated.
7. Encourage new ideas
Innovation at work is the key to breaking records. While it is good to have a process set in place for doing things, do not refrain from experimenting with new ideas or methods. Create an atmosphere that promotes innovation. Help your employees understand that while you are in the decision making position, they should never shy away from discussing new ideas with you.
8. Strive for higher
Set ambitious goals for yourself and your team. By making them feel that they are capable of achieving targets that might seem difficult at first, you will provide them with renewed self-confidence and a desire to out-do themselves. Set high performance benchmarks and continually encourage your employees to push boundaries and aim for the best.
9. Set the correct example
Your team members do not only listen to what you have to say, but also observe what you do. Setting the right example is the easiest way to gain the trust of your comrades. When they see you doing what needs to be done, they will also be motivated to follow in your footsteps to achieve the desired goals.
As individuals, we send and receive innumerable messages every day. We communicate at a personal level with our families and friends, and at a more professional level, with our colleagues and team members. While it is a no- brainer that communicating effectively is one of the key skills everyone must master, it has become increasingly more crucial in the workspace.
To become a good leader, one must be able to inspire, stimulate and propel others into action. And at the heart of it all is proper communication. Here are 7 tips to follow in order to take your communication skills to the next level
Using long words and jargon might win you some points in an oratorical competition, but are a big no-no in everyday interactions. To communicate effectively, you must be able to convey your messages in the most clear and concise manner possible. Refrain from using ten words when only five will do, replace longer and difficult words with simpler alternatives, and keep fillers like uhh.., umm.., etc. to a minimum. The trick is to be comprehensible, and not eloquent.
We communicate with others not only through what we say but also through the way we say it. Studies show that words or vocabulary influence our communication by a mere 7% whereas our body language and tone have 55% and 38% impact respectively. While it is important to use the right words in order to get your point across to the other person, paying attention to your body language and tone is just as important. Use actions and gestures that support what you are saying while being mindful of conveying unwanted impressions to others.
While all of us like to have our opinions heard, most people tend to forget that communication is a two way process. People who refuse to listen to others make it impossible to have meaningful interactions. If you want to be heard, you must also give the other person right to be heard. Teach yourself to listen attentively instead of just hearing what the other person is saying. Avoid being judgmental or rigid, and learn to respect and work with difference of opinions.
Since our lives are so action driven, most of us accord a second class status to dialogue and fail to follow the etiquette associated with it. Even though having a discussion while writing an email or over lunch may seem convenient or time efficient, you are strongly advised not to. Trying to do other things while having a conversation not only gives the impression of the conversation being unimportant, it also distracts the speaker as well as listener from paying full attention to the discussion at hand. To work better, spend dedicated time communicating with others.
Any communication is rendered ineffective if all parties involved are not at the same plane of understanding at the end of the process. Here, giving and receiving immediate feedback makes communicating much easier. Do not refrain from asking questions if you are unclear about something the other person said, or if you require supplemental information. Encourage the same practice with your peers and team mates to promote better collaboration. Another thing to try is a short summation of the important points at the end of a meeting or discussion.
Being able to tailor your interactions according to the occasion and audience is an integral part of effective communication. Just like in everything else, in communication too, no one size fits all. Be perceptive to your audience and modify your talk to suit their needs. Learn to recognize the expectations of your listeners and to anticipate their responses before you throw yourself into a conversation. When it comes to having meaningful conversations, a little preparation goes a long way.
While establishing trust with your peers and colleagues is hard, what is harder still is living up to their trust and confidence in us. All your effective communication goes out for a toss the moment people start thinking of you as all talk and no action. Weigh your options before making commitments and once you’ve made a commitment, keep it. To maintain healthy relationships, being able to live up to what you have communicated is just as important as being able to communicate well.