Ten essential skills for the successful first-time manager

This article identifies the ten skills that are essential to the success of any first-time manager. You should ensure you have adequate man management training before taking up your first management role.

You may be about to manage people or lead a team at work. You may want to be more effective running charitable activities outside of work. Whatever the purpose of your man-management is, there is a common set of nine skills. The skill set is about getting work done by your people in an effective manner.

You also need a tenth skill. You need to be able to manage your own personal development. If you are developing a management career then the interaction with your boss, your appraisal and your employer’s training department is a key activity to manage.

If you are developing your management skills outside of employment, for charitable causes for example, then how you plan will affect what you can achieve for your cause.

Here are the ten key skills every first-time manager, team leader or charity organiser needs to have to be successful.

How to fill the manager’s role – the tasks you need to be able to do to make a successful team

Many of the functions of the team leader, supervisor or manager will be defined in the corporate handbook or job description. But not all. In any case the job description only tells you what to do, not how.

Essential skills like how to talk to people are taken for granted. Actually the first time you have to issue an instruction, make a decision or say no is very challenging. The issues of managing your boss and managing your own development are very real and critical to the development of your career.

How to talk to people – communicating your instructions, motivating and invigorating your people

The ability to communicate your instructions, the background, the importance, the reasons why and how important they are is essential when managing people. Why else will they work for you?

How to plan successfully – fitting your resources and demands together for best fit

You are responsible for getting your team or group’s work done. There are usually many plausible ways of achieving these results. You have to choose which plan to use so you need to be able to evaluate the risks in each plan to minimise the chance of failure.

How to resolve capacity constraints – identifying, managing and resolving your constraints

You need to be continuously testing and measuring your team’s ability to deliver against demand. One of the biggest failures you can make is to go to your manager and admit you can’t do something now because the resources are stretched. You need the skills to look ahead.

How to keep people working – keeping your people engaged and working hard for you

You don’t want to be behind your people all day chasing them to hurry up. You need to be able to rely on their positive feeling toward you to work for you. You need their support to succeed.

How to manage performance – getting the best from your resources by focussing on the hotspots

When you are busy you need to know where to spend your managerial time for best effect. You need the skills to identify the hotspots that can limit your team’s output and ruin your reputation!

How to improve or expand the ability of your team – making people competent in new work and skills

You need to understand how to identify and plan resource skills. You need to create the right mix of people and skills to ensure flexibility in your group’s operation. You need to commission the training and perhaps deliver it yourself. This is an essential element in being a successful manager tomorrow.

How to feedback performance issues – maintaining high individual and team achievement

Sooner or later you will have a discussion with someone about their performance and how to improve it. Clear communication is essential. New managers report feelings of embarrassment at telling people to improve. There are good ways of doing this to invigorate and motivate your team member to succeed.

How to manage your manager – getting what you need to develop your team and increase capability

You need a good relationship with your manager to be able to get the resources you need to do your job and to get the promotion you will then deserve. An understanding of that relationship is essential to making it work well.

How to plan your own development – putting control of your future in your own hands

Unless you plan your own development you will be at a loss when opportunities arise. Success is largely about luck. But being lucky is largely about being in the right place at the right time and recognising when opportunity is knocking for you.

You need these skills to give you the best chance of success in your new management position.

These skills are delivered through our “Secrets of First-Time Management” course.

The next “Secrets of First-Time Management” course is scheduled for June 27th 2011 in Ipswich, Suffolk, UK.

Click here for details of this and subsequent ParadigmShakers Courses.

Further articles can be found on the Motivation Matters website

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