6 Skills You'll Need to Get the Boss's Job

Last updated: June 15, 2024
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Eleana Bowman
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6 Skills You'll Need to Get the Boss's Job
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Preparing to take a step into a management role can be an exciting opportunity, but it can be daunting at the same time. There are a lot of new responsibilities and tasks to learn, even if you already work for the company. But understanding the management skills you’ll need ahead of time will help prepare you for what to expect and help you meet the challenge head-on.

You may have to enhance your people skills to motivate and lead employees. The job may require you to learn some new technical skills. Being an effective manager means incorporating both people skills and task-related skills so that you and your team can perform to the best of your abilities at all times.

Read on to learn what skills you need to be a manager.

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What are management skills?

It’s not unusual in the workplace to reward good workers for their strong performance with a promotion to a management position. But too often, a good worker doesn’t necessarily translate into a good manager, and they may be unsuccessful in the new role.

So what differentiates a manager from a non-management employee?

  • A manager must focus the team toward common goals.

  • A manager must make sure employees under their supervision fully understand their objectives and how to best achieve those goals.

  • They must motivate their team to perform at their best.

  • They must make unbiased decisions for the good of the company and their team.

  • Finally, they must build trust within their team and be accountable for their performance.

Learning basic management skills is the key to success. Managers without the necessary skills run the risk of becoming disenfranchised. A disengaged manager will cost their company thousands of dollars annually and create high employee turnover. More often, employees quit their boss, not their job.

A disturbing trend since COVID-19 shows that employees now feel their employer doesn’t care about their well-being. So as companies regain their footing and move forward, it’s more important than ever for managers to provide strong leadership and to make sure employees know they’re seen and heard by management.

What are the benefits of good management to a company? A good manager inspires higher productivity, delivers higher profits, lower turnover, and fewer unscheduled employee absences. As a result, companies that hire strong managers are more profitable in the long run.

Transferable skills

When moving into a management position, you’ll likely already have some of the required skills for your new role. These transferable skills are skills you learned in your previous post or prior jobs.

Maybe you worked in a customer service role in the past or worked with various computer programs — both abilities that will come in handy in a management position. In addition, if your previous post required organizational or delegation skills, you’ll have a leg-up in a management role.

Your interpersonal skills or soft skills, like teamwork, strong communication, and creativity, will all play a vital role in a management position. A manager will also need to be assertive, have a good work ethic, and have time-management abilities.

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On the other hand, hard skills are professional skills you’ve learned during your career, including specialized certifications, computer programs and skills, accounting knowledge, and experience with specific machinery.

What skills and qualities do you need to be a manager?

While the list of management skills is extensive and varies from job to job, these are the top eight skills you’ll find on most lists.

1. Technical/computer skills

Depending on the role, managers most often need basic computer and program skills: Windows or Mac OS operating systems, MS Office, Adobe, Workflow programs, and presentation software like PowerPoint. For internal and team communications, managers should have a working knowledge of programs like Slack or Skype.

Companies often have proprietary software for tracking and use established productivity tools, accounting software, and databases. While you won’t always have to know how to use every software program to step into a role, a basic understanding of computers and standard systems is expected.

Managers often need to create digital work schedules

If you don’t use productivity or tracking systems, you’ll still need a computer to create employee schedules, track time-off requests, sick days, etc. In the modern workplace, employees expect electronic scheduling and notifications, so plan to familiarize yourself with and learn the company’s preferred programs.

You can use these same systems to schedule meetings and events and communicate dates with your team. Of course, sometimes you’ll have an assistant to help with scheduling and communications, but even so, you should learn the processes inside and out.

2. Communication

As a manager, you are the bridge between the company and your team members, so strong communication skills are critical. Of course, the form of communication you use will vary. In some cases, you’ll write memos or emails. Other times, you’ll need to verbally communicate with your team so they know what you expect of them. However, one of the most important kinds of communication you need is listening skills.

Every company needs cohesive leadership, and each manager must earn the respect of their employees through actions and communication. Therefore, you have to invest time and effort into building the trust of the people you lead.

Offering psychological safety and removing the obstacle of fear is the most crucial step. If employees don’t feel safe, you’ll never see the benefit of their ideas. They’ll always agree, even when you’re wrong. Freedom of communication creates opportunities for problem-solving and the generation of new ideas.

Communicating messages of praise to a team or team members for above-average work performance will improve their engagement and reduce the likelihood that they'll quit.

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Managers spend a lot of time training and updating staff

The role of training new employees often falls to managers, and a manager can’t teach staff how to perform without being able to communicate the duties an employee must perform, how to do them, and precisely what's expected of them in most situations.

When training is poor or incomplete, the team won’t reach goals or feel pride in their work. This shortcoming can lead to falling morale, low production, poor attendance, and high turnover. Inadequate training can also create an unsafe work environment. Ultimately, poor training costs the company money and credibility.

Communication for conflict resolution

Conflicts between employees or between employees and management aren't uncommon. A good manager will recognize the signs of conflict early and act quickly to de-escalate the situation and find a solution.

The best response is using careful listening and communication to negotiate a resolution. If left unresolved, conflict can lead to a hostile work environment, poor morale, and the loss of good employees.

When dealing with conflict:

  • Listen fully to all sides of the conflict

  • Keep the conflict private whenever possible

  • Stay calm and even-handed

  • Discuss solutions with those involved in the conflict

  • Define goals for resolution

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3. Operations management

Typical responsibilities of a manager are related to staffing, production, quality, processes, scheduling, and tracking.

Of course, responsibilities vary based on the company and specific management position. Still, a manager’s duties usually come down to improving processes and making sure their team works toward a common goal for the organization's benefit.

A good manager looks for ways to keep their team engaged while optimizing their efficiency. They should understand every aspect and function of their department, including the hiring and training of new staff members, tracking production, supply chain management, and keeping everything coordinated.

The entire process suffers when the cog on the operations wheel breaks down, and responsibility falls squarely on the manager’s shoulders. This could be as simple as not ordering enough stock on time or scheduling enough staff during peak periods.

4. Planning and strategy skills

Planning and strategy are essential for designing and reaching personal and business goals. In any industry, the old saying holds: If you fail to plan, plan to fail.

Unfortunately, sometimes managers focus solely on getting things done and don’t consider the right things to do or look at the big picture.

Planning is a way of mapping out a path to meet objectives and managing hurdles before they happen. Without a set plan, you have no way to measure your success or shortcomings. Additionally, planning enables staff and management to reach their goals quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively.

Effective planning is an inclusive process, engaging a team to take ownership of outcomes. It encourages growth and change. While it may be impossible to predict the future accurately, sound planning is always based on hard data, not assumptions.

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5. Dedication and reliability

When you move into a management position, you assume a role that brings a change in perspective. With the new job and higher compensation, your employer expects more of you, of course, but those reporting to you also expect more.

Therefore, you must keep the best interest of your employer and team in mind. They'll look to you for guidance. When it comes to reliability and a good work ethic, you must lead by example.

Someone who’s just in it for a paycheck won't inspire their team to perform well. Those above and below you rely on you to keep things running smoothly. This is where skilled ordering, scheduling, and communication come into play.

Managers may have to step in when work needs to be covered

When a team member misses a shift, it usually falls to the manager to ensure the shift is covered, even if that means stepping into the role themselves.

6. Emotional intelligence

While closely related to communication, emotional intelligence deserves its own space on the list of necessary leadership skills.

Though it involves self-awareness, it also invites the awareness and consideration of the feelings and emotions of others. The talent is beneficial for conflict resolution and dealing with disagreements and misaligned objectives.

The five pillars of emotional intelligence are:

  • Self-awareness

  • Self-regulation

  • Motivation

  • Empathy

  • Social skills

What's expected of first-time managers?

A beginning manager will usually start with a smaller team and fewer responsibilities. However, once they gain some experience and show they either have or are quickly learning the necessary management skills, they may be rewarded with a bigger role.

How to work into a management position:

  • Start by showing your employer that you are a team player with the company's best interests at heart.

  • Ask for feedback on your performance and how you can improve.

  • Actively look for ways to improve your skills and adopt a growth mindset.

  • Volunteer to cover shifts and help out when short-staffed.

  • Work on your communication skills and become a good listener.

  • Practice becoming aware of everything that goes into successful operations.

  • Look for ways to be a problem-solver.

  • Be accountable for your own success and failure — i.e., accept praise when warranted and don’t blame others for your mistakes.

  • Find ways to motivate coworkers.

When you’re ready, have a conversation with your superiors about your goals and let them know that you’d like to move to a management position when an opportunity arises.

Start building your management skills

Though the skills needed to be an effective leader seem endless, and we only covered a few, a new manager is rarely expected to step into the role knowing everything.

A few basic skills will give you a good start, and the rest you can learn as you go. Always be open to learning new things. Consider it an evergreen position, continually growing and adapting to the changing landscape of global business, markets, and communities.

When you’re ready to explore new opportunities in either an entry-level or management position, Jobcase has the tools to help you take the next step.

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Dai Galvin
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Nice! Thanks for your tips! The white screen will be suitable when you play games or work. The black screen helps you relax when using the computer too much.

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