Imperative Skills Of A Successful Manager

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A workplace is only as valuable as the proficiency of the people who lead it. Interpersonal skills determine to what degree a manager will work with his or her employees. A few individuals are born with savvy human skills, while others are obliged to put a great deal of effort into it. Human skills are vital for all managers because they must work with people and lead them to success. Managers with ideal personal skills comprehend their role inside the dispersion of work relationships. They recognize how diversity, communication, and employee satisfaction are all imperative to the overall success of the organization. I spoke with my mother Jane Seslar, a former manager at Putnam Investments about her experiences handling the responsibilities as a leader for her company.

To be a successful manager in any sort of setting, it is critical to recognize and appreciate diversity in the workplace. The general definition of “diversity refers to the ways in which people are similar or different from each other”. There are many categories to the topic of diversity, and not all are directly perceptible to the eye. It is critical for an individual to feel comfortable within a workspace, and their manager has a key role in making this happen. A major contribution that diversity gives to a work environment is the amount of creativity that it brings. A diverse workforce brings originality and varied ideas which leads to the ability to make higher quality decisions. When beginning on the topic of diversity, my interviewee claimed that, “a solid understanding of the markets, the ability to multitask, confidently work with a diverse group of people, and interaction with other parts of the organization are important skills”. Diversity is not always about race, religion, or gender, it can be much more deep-set.

There are two general types of diversity. The first is called surface-level diversity. Surface-level diversity is when the traits of your workers are visible to the eye those around us; normally physical or audio features. An instance of this type of diversity was spoken about by the interviewee. She talked about how one of the people she managed had a major hearing deficiency. The man was incredibly qualified to work in the investing industry, and the employees learned a lot from him.

It is critical to have patience and compassion with whomever you have the chance to work with. It may be a cliche, however not “judging a book by its cover” can lead a person to learning a lot of inventive ideas. An example of surface-level diversity is age. The interviewee described a situation where “a complete computer system change was the most complex issue. I had to ask my team to devote time, and work at an extreme pace to implement the change as well as complete their daily responsibilities”. Adding in additional technologies is not always easy across the broad range of diversity, and possessing an understanding that it may take more time for older people or people not familiarized with the specific technologies is essential. She continued on to describe how she handled the large shift in technology. Jane claimed that “balancing the professional and personal needs of the staff, especially during this time, was challenging. I had working parents that needed to put home obligations aside. Staff that resumed further education while working had a demanding schedule. I supported their needs by listening to their concerns. I provided special things like luncheons and coffee. Building positive moral in a demanding climate was needed to achieve the system change.

The second type of diversity is called deep-level diversity. In the vastly more functional workplace world that exists today, people, “gain new insights through shifting to a model that teases the two sources of diversity apart by emphasizing surface-level diversity in recruitment and selection for leadership positions and deep-level characteristics in leader effectiveness and training. This model makes complete sense and is extremely effective. By hiring a physically diverse staff and then educating them on the more hidden aspects, this creates an open minded and productive environment. This strategy can help avoid the issue of stereotyping, which brings the issue of “people often [using] them to make decisions about a particular individual without actually verifying whether the assumption holds for the person in question. It is critical that a manager does not let stereotyping affect the action of decision making.

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An imperative skill that managers must master is communicating with others. The skill of effective and respectful communication fulfill “three main functions within an organization, including coordination, transmission of information, and sharing emotions and feelings. All these functions are vital to a successful organization”. To avoid conflict or coming off in a negative way, it is meaningful to be aware of how to sound, and gain the skills necessary for proper communication. There are times during communication when people possess different communication patterns than whom they are speaking to, which can lead to a misunderstanding. The situation Jane described with one of her workers being a person with a hearing deficiency describes a position where others must be understanding and adapt to these circumstances. With communication mechanisms under a manager’s belt such as diagnosing communication devices and making small communication adjustments, new information can be dispensed in a way that is easy and clear to understand. From there, the speaker and the listener can better communicate their points across. If it comes to the point where an employee feels discourtesy, that they were taken advantage of, or disregarded, then it may lead to tension and conflict. In order to convey proper communication, a manager must enforce to their workers that unhelpful crutches such as filtering or selective perception can lead to negative outcomes. Filtering can be defined as the “distortion or withholding of information to manage a person’s reactions. Some examples of filtering include a manager’s keeping a division’s negative sales figures from a superior, in this case, the vice president”.

Withholding the truth from people above can severely impact the effectiveness of a company. If issues are not brought to the table, then it is impossible to be addressed. An example of this can be referred to on a manufacturing floor. If a part comes onto the floor consistently wrong, and the worker continues to fix it the same way time and time again without ever reporting the issue to a supervisor, then this will lead to more time needed to make the part, and money lost. Another example of this lack of effective communication can be selective perception. It is completely possible and parallel to human nature that people “begin to make assumptions about the environment based on our past experiences. This process is often unconscious”. With this concept in mind, selective perception is a subconscious way of jumping to conclusions, and a necessary tool in today’s culture, but not in the workplace because it can lead to mistakes. It is essential to listen to employees wholly and intently. If an individual perceives that they are not being heard, then this will have a negative impact on their thoughts towards you.

Managers must maintain an open and positive mind when receiving information from their workers. An archetypal communicating team lays the groundwork for expressing and understanding needs, which also increases employee engagement and performance. From the previously discussed topics, it is evident that employee satisfaction stems from exceptional diversity and communication. It is clear that with these skills applied “happy, healthy employees are more productive”. From this statement it can be determined that organizations with more than less satisfied employees tend to be more efficient than others. It is crucial to keep high expectations for employees, however respect must be the number one priority as a manager.

Respect does not cost anything, yet is held in high regard by employees at all levels. Employees will notice this and be much more content with their positions. Encouraging their happiness and willingness to progress on within the company will benefit everyone, and move the corporation in the correct direction. In the interview Jane made the important point that “giving the positive support and resources needed enabled employees to achieve their own career goals as well as for the good of organization”. When people achieve their goals, long term or short term, they are ultimately satisfied. One decision that is critical for managers to make is the amount of training that employees receive. Training can be extremely costly, however is necessary and productive most occasions. Most importantly, “it is found that employees who received job training were more satisfied than those who had no training opportunities”. This has to do with representative certainty, and the concept that the more confident the employee, the more valuable of a worker they will be. With employees that become more trained and more of a valuable aspect of the company, a manager should continue the worker’s strive for success by setting goals. Goal setting, like Jane said, has a considerable impact on productivity and satisfaction.

When considering responsibilities as a manager, a person must take a great deal into account. The people who work for the manager must feel included, and practically like family. Managers must hone in more than just numerical or labor related skills. With proficient interpersonal skills and empathy, managers must possess a unique set of tools to deal with any situation in a respectful way, from surface-level diversity to deep-level diversity. After speaking with my mother Jane Seslar about her trials and successes as a manager at Putnam Investments, I learned how one must be compassionate, encouraging, but also firm. With diversity, communication, and employee satisfaction as three critical priorities, I believe I have a better understanding of how to be an effective manager.

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