Change requires organizations with leaders who are changeable, adaptable, and flexible. These skills are essential, especially in the working world 4.0, which is characterized by constant change. In addition to many years of experience, as a leader, you need to demonstrate various interpersonal and professional skills to advance to the management level. Emotional intelligence, motivation, and the ability to take criticism are among the skills needed to distinguish top management from other levels. The higher up in the hierarchy you want to work, the more generalist the requirements become. In this article, you can read about the skills you need to hone in addition to your specialist knowledge and the seven success factors in management.
1. Communication and trust
Communication usually encompasses various competencies, including active listening and rhetorical skills. In addition, management positions require communicating with employees at different hierarchical levels and skill levels. Both verbal and written communication should therefore be multi-faceted. Frequent praise and criticism create satisfied employees who trust their managers. Regular exchanges and a solid basis of trust promote unity and strengthen employees' confidence in their abilities. That can be achieved through weekly and monthly meetings and one-on-one feedback sessions with employees.
If trust is lacking, cooperation is also tricky. In particular, delegating tasks is a skill that managers of all types must master. Managers should also be able to delegate responsibility in order to save resources and make the best use of employees' strengths and weaknesses. Delegation sometimes comes across as a weakness to very performance-oriented people, but it is essential to protect oneself and the team from overload. In addition, more responsibility also increases team members' self-confidence and self-efficacy.
3. Sense of responsibility
People who do not like to take responsibility for their actions are out of place in management positions. Managing entire departments comes with a lot of responsibility, just like managing individual teams. Managers have to take responsibility not only for praise and successes but also for mistakes, missed deadlines, and employee absences. An authentic appearance and honesty always last the longest. A lot of responsibility also means a lot of decisions. Prioritizing, assigning tasks, and setting deadlines are all decision areas that managers often have to deal with. So just as managers should not shy away from responsibility, they should also not shy away from decisions.
In addition to one's workload, managers must also distribute the work of others, plan meetings and juggle organizational matters. Balancing all the responsibilities is no easy task. Sloppy working methods, unpunctuality, and chaos are no longer tolerated at this level; otherwise, entire departments will suffer from a disorganized manager. Good organization saves time and stress and helps the company to maintain a reliable image. Especially under high pressure and in times of crisis, the importance of organizational talent will be a feature that companies will specifically look for and value.
5. Flexibility and agility
The importance of a flexible way of thinking and working has become particularly clear in recent decades. This ability can be seen on two levels: the professional and the social. Managers should always keep professional innovations and development opportunities in their sights in order to drive innovation. That benefits the team or department by keeping them relevant and up-to-date and opening up new markets and products. Agile working also includes knowledge of lean management methods such as Scrum or Kanban. On the social level, the willingness to constantly improve interpersonal and intrapersonal skills has an impact. After all, those who work on themselves show more empathy and fulfill a specific role model function.
To deal with a high sense of responsibility mentally well in the long term, you need a high degree of resilience. The expectations placed on people in upper management are enormous, as are the daily stressors. A thick skin helps to deal with unpredictable and, above all, unfair events. These good nerves partly form by themselves with growing experience but can also be trained specifically. Mental coaching, stress management training, and mentors can be essential resources on the way to becoming a top manager. A high level of frustration tolerance also goes hand in hand with a high level of resilience. That describes the ability to endure frustration, unpleasant situations, and difficult emotions. Hotheads and impatient people can avoid unnecessary conflict by practicing frustration and stress tolerance.
7. Analytical and strategic thinking
In addition to social skills, other intelligence areas are important to succeed in management. Identifying problems, assessing situations, and developing solution strategies is easier if you can think analytically. This way of thinking is fundamental when you have to evaluate frequent changes. The competitiveness of organizations depends on the agility and mutability of their employees, which is why analytically thinking managers are essential. Strategic thinking is just as important because, in addition to the daily tasks at hand, thought must always be given to the future at the same time. Strategic thinkers also inspire others to be innovative.
Conclusion on top managers
The importance of certain characteristic areas changes depending on the position in a company hierarchy. If technical knowledge is the most important factor for specialists, decisions must be made and delegated at higher levels. If one is on the way to the management level, there are numerous opportunities to acquire these particular skills. Some of the seven success factors emerge with years of experience, while others can be acquired through training and mentoring programs. An empathetic, positive, and open attitude paves the way to top management.
Management is nothing more than motivating other people.