What Soft Skills Do Technical And Specialist Managers Need To Be Really Successful?
Forget just having a focus on your technical and specialist skills: managers of any discipline need soft skills to be a successful manager
You need more than technical skills to get on in management
Technical skills are very important but there are a range of other, professional skills that are equally vital for career development and progression. These “soft” skills are essential and are based around skills working with people and which ensure the development and maintenance of professional relationships with colleagues, superiors, suppliers and customers. The workplace is an emotional place to be, where logical rules do not necessarily apply all of the time, and levels of engagement are governed by how people perceive each other.
Excelling in people skills gives you more than a competitive edge – it can make you more productive.
Employers consider the ability to have such people skills are a key success factor for managers at every level and with every professional specialism within the organisation and effectively mark out those managers who are likely to proceed higher within that organisation.
The following are an essential toolkit to help you develop these critically important skills, working on both your own personal development and with how you manage your team:
- PERSONAL IMPACT: Consider the impact you have on others and your personal confidence in different professional scenarios. Learning how to recognise this and control your appearance, body language and voice are essential in creating the impact that you want.
- MEETINGS: Whether leading or contributing we spend many hours in meetings with different goals. Make sure meetings you run contribute positively to relationship building and productivity.
- NETWORKING: Networking supports internal productivity as well as external relationships. You cannot build a network immediately, so start early and understand and master the key networking skills.
- BUILD RELATIONSHIPS: Make sure you and your team engage positively with all those you need to. Have a strategy for this and engage with people how they want to be engaged with.
- MANAGE YOUR TEAM EFFECTIVELY: Make teams productive and an asset rather than a burden. It is fundamental that managers have clear goals and ways of working, make time to develop people and delegate effectively.
- DEVELOP SENIOR RELATIONSHIPS: These are pivotal to make things happen and for your career to progress. These are the people that make decisions about organisational priorities and who does what. You need a strategic plan to develop these relationships.
- DEAL WITH NEGATIVE FEEDBACK: Make sure you have the ability to hear this and act on it where necessary; equally, for those providing feedback you need to be clear. If negative feedback is not delivered appropriately and taken well, it can have long-lasting negative consequences.
- NAVIGATE ‘OFFICE POLITICS’ POSITIVELY: It is impossible to obliterate it so master the key skills to navigate it well. These broadly fall into communication, influencing and networking. The organisational impact of not doing so is reduced productivity, trust and decision making. Negative office politics is one of the biggest causes of stress in the UK.
It is only by mastering the above that you can be sure that you will be recognised for your potential, both in your specific technical area in addition to the development of those critical people skills.
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