Most people don’t focus on personal development for managers but they really should. Personal growth is something intangible which doesn’t adhere to a glass ceiling. In your quest to get better, the sky is the limit. Plus, managers who are focused on improving themselves are also more likely to actively contribute to improving the work environment.
Data shows that many employees don’t leave bad jobs but they always consider leaving when they have a bad manager. A good manager can boost employee retention, employee happiness, and business growth. For top-level professionals and managers, continuous personal development is a goal that they need to undertake.
The Importance of Being Focused
Knowing which areas to focus on is necessary because personal development for managers is a blanket term which can apply to a lot of qualities. This means that you will have to focus on core areas to get any meaningful results.
Why is this so important?
To be honest, your success in your personal development journey relies on it. A survey by Harvard Business Review stated that out of the 1,000 participants, only 4% successfully achieved their goals. A stunning 96% were unable to make any significant progress because they were unable to identify the areas that need improvement or failed to understand the right steps to bring improvement.
So, if you’re interested in personal development for managers, you can easily improve your chances of success by focusing on the following areas:
1. Time Management
If you don’t know how to manage your time wisely, you’re going to struggle in everything you do, regardless of how good or easy your job might be. Good managers are aware of this factor and know how to divide their time in a manner that ensures that all their tasks for the day are completed without any issues.
They understand the value of every passing second; therefore, try not to waste their precious time. They also make use of different time management strategies to optimize their output. Programs such as the Pomodoro Technique are extremely useful tools for personal development.
The Pomodoro Technique is a particularly flexible method which can be applied to a number of different tasks. Once you get the hang of it, you can try working without this tool. It will help you understand how to become more focused and improve your time management skills.
2. Work-Life Balance
The work-life balance plays a huge role in your overall happiness and success as a manager. Most managers have no qualms about spending all day at their office. But, they do need to draw a line when their work starts to eat into their personal life.
Anyone, regardless of how highly demanding their job may be, should be able to take some down time to relax and unwind mentally and physically. Most managers focus on this area because without proper work-life balance, they are forced to take their work home with them. This can be pretty unhealthy for them in the long run.
In this area, real focus is needed because otherwise, the personal life of managers might suffer from having issues with this regards. It also means that they’re going to experience burnout and will eventually have difficulty in managing their work properly. Over time, they will reach their breaking point where they will no longer be able to deal with the ever-building stress of the work in their life.
3. Active Listening Skills
Knowing how to listen is a skill that most managers need to focus on. This is because numerous people interact with managers to discuss problems, ideas or other issues that need attention. Poor listening skills mean that the manager is likely to fail at understanding what the real issue is about. Instead, they will end up making assumptions which will only make things worse for everyone.
In other words, if a manager lacks good listening skills, they will end up not addressing the issue at hand. Personal development for managers doesn’t always make room for listening skills but this is an area which should not be overlooked. Most people aren’t always listening to understand, they’re listening to answer.
With active listening, you take the time to listen, understand what is being discussed and then, address the issue. This ensures that your answers are correct, you’re able to get to the root of the problem and you’re able to become a good conversationalist. Most people like listeners and will naturally gravitate towards them.
Whether it is imposter syndrome or you’re a new manager, you need to have confidence in your skill sets and your ability to understand what you do. In this case, you want to be able to not second guess any decisions you make. Additionally, self-confidence allows you to take pride in your work and it helps you overcome many issues you might be facing.
Managers who have self-confidence are generally surer of their decisions. This builds the stepping stone for firm leadership, allowing the managers to be more direct in their work. Additionally, when hosting or working with other skilled individuals, things are less likely to turn into a power struggle when the managers are confident of themselves.
In fact, such managers are generally more likely to be willing to learn from others since they’re confident and secure about their skills. On the other hand, it is the insecure ones who are more likely to view their team members as a threat or have a fear of others. With better self-confidence and personal development for managers, you can learn to be happier in your personal and professional life.
5. Written Communication Skills
Communication skills, particularly in business writing are a necessity and a skill which can definitely be improved. In this case, you need to make sure that you’re able to effectively communicate your needs in writing. A majority of work-based communication happens in written format.
From reports and presentations to emails and text messages, effective written communication is a skill set that most managers need to invest in. Business writing is also a different school of writing as compared to other writing skills. So, getting some writing classes will work in your benefit, even if you feel that your writing skills are extremely good.
Improving written communication skills is also pretty easy because you’ll find that plenty of learning material, workshops, and courses are available for it. Plus, the payoff is very visible with better written-communication skills so this makes it a worthwhile area to improve in.
6. Verbal Communication Skills
Another area related to communication skills is verbal communication. Most people often believe that written and verbal skills are the same. While there is a correlation here, they aren’t the same. Some people can be very effective when it comes to written communication but they may lack the same effect when they have to communicate verbally.
Effective verbal communication for managers is necessary because they have to hold meetings and sessions with subordinates, communicate with other managers and employees, and so much more. Poor verbal communication here can lead to mistakes which, in turn, can translate into issues the business. Improving verbal communication should be among the key goals for personal development for managers.
Much like written communication skills, you will find that multiple workshops and tools to improve verbal skills are easily available. Remember, the better your communication skills are, the more confidence you will have in your skills and abilities.
7. Emotional Intelligence
No one can work effectively without emotional intelligence. In this case, emotional intelligence means that you learn how to read a room, handle sensitive situations, and ensure that you’re able to diffuse an issue. Emotional intelligence allows us to understand others better.
For managers, this is a necessity because, without the right emotional intelligence skills, they can find it difficult to deal with and manage people. As managers, they have to interact with almost every individual in their team. Additionally, they also have to be able to address sensitive issues with the utmost delicacy.
Good levels of emotional intelligence can make a marked difference and make managers more productive. It also allows them to have a level of empathy for their teammates and understand the issues they face. The better your emotional intelligence levels are, the more effective your team management and the higher your team satisfaction will be.
People don’t realize that once they’re in a managerial position, they’re automatically looked upon as leaders. While not everyone is a natural born leader, the good news is that anyone can work to improve their leadership skills to be a better manager.
There are too many bad leaders who don’t know what they are doing. That’s why personal development for managers is a necessity. Their leadership skills translate into their managerial skill set which, in turn, affects how they interact with their team.
Good managers know how to handle the challenges of being in managerial positions on a day-to-day basis. Their leadership skills also make it possible for them to face any issues without any qualms. They will know when to ask for help, who to turn to, and when to bow out.
When it comes to motivation, almost everyone understands the part it plays in the overall productivity at the workplace. Without the right motivation, it is just not possible for one to get anything done. In fact, research shows that motivating employees in a highly stressful situation works better to get the job done as compared to resorting to criticism.
Without motivation, it is very easy to get distracted or lose focus. Sometimes, the individual may just not want to move forward. In this case, managers should focus on activities that feed into their motivational desires. Additionally, improving their motivation will also cause a ripple effect. This ripple effect will mean that since they’re better at their work, they’ll be productive and also have a desire to do more at work.
A motivated leader or manager can also affect his whole team like this. This causes a win-win situation for everyone involved!
10. Delegation and Team Work
Another area where personal development for managers can come in handy is in delegation and teamwork. In this case, you want to make sure that you’re able to get the results that you want. Every manager knows that it takes a team to get the work done.
If they don’t understand how to delegate or manage a task effectively, this can spell disaster for them. Now, the major problem here arises from the fact that managers need to unlearn a lot of traditional attitudes about teamwork and task delegation. This area is also affected by their confidence in others and their ability to get along with the rest of the team.
Luckily, most managers understand the issues they face and are always looking to improve this with ease. Plus, once they experience growth in this area, the benefits are felt by everyone. Team productivity, employee happiness, and even job satisfaction go up with teamwork and proper task delegation. People like to work with managers who pull their work and give them a fair chance at their job!
11. Problem-Solving Abilities
Another area where there’s a lot of room for personal development for managers is problem-solving abilities. Most managers are headlining teams where even the slightest issue can cause confusion. They have to be able to address the issue and fix it.
Oftentimes, their teammates will also come forward with issues and problems. So, if a manager has poor problem-solving abilities, it will have serious repercussions for them. They need to be able to think out of the box and come up with a solution.
It should be noted that this area is special because not everyone has the ability to think on their feet. Coming up with a solution for a problem in stressful situations when there is a lot at stake require skills. However, the silver lining here is that this is a skill set which can be easily learned.
12. Organizational Skills
This is something we’re taught right from the start. From the time we are kids to when we’re adults, we are taught to be more organized in our work, our studies and even our life. At work, your organizational skills do translate into your overall productivity.
As an area for personal development for managers, organizational skills shouldn’t be overlooked. You can learn how to prioritize, how to balance your work life and more with the help of your organizational skills. This can help you bring a semblance of order into your life and your workplace.
Plus, organizational skills will keep your workplace running smoothly without any issues. Most people aim to get the results they want in the least possible steps. With the right organizational skills, it is possible to do this and get the results they were hoping to get.
13. Creative Thinking
Creative thinking is a necessity not just for managers but for the other team members as well. If you cannot think creatively, you’re locked in a box. Thinking out of the box means that you bring in new perspectives that are unique and completely changes the picture.
Most approaches to personal development for managers focus on this area because managers have to tackle a wide array of problems, set the direction for most projects, and help their team members come up with solutions. In short, there is a lot that they need to handle and if you’re not careful, you will end up becoming too monotonous or stagnating.
Yes, it can be difficult for someone to stay creative despite all odds. Luckily though, with the right techniques, they will be able to take a peek outside the box. Creative thinking enhancement can have benefits which affect other areas of their work and productivity.
14. Body Language
Another area where most people can benefit from personal development is their body language. It’s a fact that the majority of our communication is non-verbal. Your body language can also convey a message and you need to be aware of whether that message is negative or positive.
Many managers can benefit from this area because they can learn and understand how to make themselves more approachable for the rest of their team. Poor body language can mean that a person’s team might not find him as helpful or accommodating as he might have supposed.
While it may seem like it is a small thing only, this can end up making a marked difference in their overall interactions. At the end of the day, this does make a lasting impression. Someone with poor body language is not going be taken as seriously as someone who has positive body language.
15. Handling Workplace Conflict
Workplace conflict is something all managers need to know how to handle. Whether the conflict is between them and others or between two or more subordinates, good managers need to know how to mediate and fix the situation in a healthy manner. Without this quality, easily preventable things will escalate out of hand.
While it may seem like an obvious quality, you will be rather surprised to discover that a large number of people don’t know how to handle workplace conflict in a healthy manner. With personal development for managers in this area, you can sort out issues without causing more damage. For this reason, managers should take an interest in this area.
Poor workplace conflict resolution can leave the employees feeling like not enough was done to rectify or solve the conflict. In this case, it can directly affect the business as well. Good workplace conflict resolution strategies can leave one feeling happier and more satisfied.
With these tips, you can see that there are many areas in personal development for managers. So, if you are looking to improve, start today!