Guest Post: Skills Managers Should Master

Since I am away the entire week of Thanksgiving, you might see the following and another guest post this week. If you're lucky, I will be able to sneak in a short post during the middle of the week.

Anyway, today's guest post is from Mark from the New School. He talks about some of the essential skills that business managers need to hone in on and master in order to lead a successful company. It's pretty interesting stuff, so read on and enjoy.

Every successful company, startup or otherwise, is built by able managers. The ability to understand what’s really going on beneath the surface of complex relationships and situations within an organization is no easy task. A successful manager must be, first and foremost a psychologist, sociologist, anthropologist, and a political scientist. Understanding organizational behavior, being able to predict and influence human behavior in organizations is key to any managerial role. How can you improve your managerial abilities and become more effective within your organization? The New School, a premier New York University, offers sustainability management graduate programs as well as bachelor’s degree programs designed to help managers hone their skills. Below is a list of 8 essential skills every manager should master.

1. Business Organization

A successful manager must organize and structure the company in a way that most closely aligns employees’ goals with those of the company. In various fields this concept is better known as the principal-agent problem. Inasmuch as it relates to the ability of a principal to align the interests of the agent through various forms of compensation and profit sharing, it also relates to the ability of aligning those same interests through non-financial compensation, such as incentives and intrinsic motivational factors which allow employees to take pride in their work.

2. Communication

Communication is the underpinning of any organization. Successful managers must be effective communicators. Managers are responsible for all channels of communication within the company as well as developing internal and external corporate communication strategies. With the rise of social media networks, online communication has become a big part of corporate communication strategies. A successful manager will learn how to leverage these new forms of communication outlets which provide an opportunity for savvy managers to connect directly, on a personal level, with consumers as well as employees.

3. Decision-Making

Before engaging in any decision making a problem must first be identified and then analyzed. Once a problem has been identified, the analysis process will involve finding a cause and a solution. At this point, a manager must establish objectives and alternatives and prioritize them based on importance.

4. Planning

Although this process may seem second nature, every manager must learn how to successfully plan for the future. An effective planning strategy will involve setting reasonable expectations. An effective plan will also consider human as well as material resources necessary in order to successfully work towards achieving various goals. Overall, a successful plan will define the companies or the organizations strategic direction.

5. Motivating

One of the crucial skills every successful manager should master is the ability to motivate others. A successful implementation of this strategy stems from the managers ability to understand the existence of two types motivations, intrinsic and extrinsic. The ability of a manager to motivate employees both intrinsically and extrinsically will lead to the highest success rate within the organization.

6. Controlling

Control is perhaps one of the most crucial components in effective management. Successful managers use control in order to direct, standardize, measure, and adjust. Once various standards and accords have been set up within an organization, a manager must control the process in order to make sure the outcomes most closely match company’s goals.

7. Leadership

While there are many theories regarding leadership including trait, behavioral, situational, and transactional theories, every manager should posses an ability to lead an organization to a predefined goal or objective. While this is the hardest skill to master, managers should posses certain types of characteristics and traits such as, intelligence, an ability to adjust to situations, likability, empathy, open-mindedness, and self-efficacy, in order to be effective leaders within an organization.

8. Change

Every successful manager should posses an ability to adapt to change. The advent of the internet, or more specifically social media, has made it difficulty for some organizations to adapt while others flourished. Organizations that embraced social media and the internet in general have benefited greatly from this medium and managers within these organizations have demonstrated an ability to adapt to change.