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leadership skills for management roles

Leadership Skills and Mindset: The Ideal Combo for Management Roles

Leadership Skills and Mindset: The Ideal Combo for Management Roles

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When promoting or hiring someone for a management role, do you only focus on how good they are at their job? Or are you taking it a step further and looking for people with the right leadership skills and mindset to promote growth in their teams?

Leadership is not management

Almost everyone in the industry, not just hiring managers, talks about leadership and management as if they were the same, and they are not entirely wrong. A good manager should have outstanding leadership skills, not to be in charge, but to guide those in their charge. 

Sadly, as we often see in the modern workplace, just because someone has a management role, doesn’t mean that they are fit to lead. Micromanagement, lack of trust, and, sometimes, a hint of fear surround the aura of managers with poor or non-existing leadership. 

So, yes, as a hiring manager this should be a major concern since placing someone with a broken leadership style in a management role often results in high turnover rates.

Do good employees make good managers?

The truth is, leadership goes beyond roles and hierarchies. Leadership is a mindset you can find regardless of the position someone has on the corporate ladder. This is a typical trait of those high-potential employees, who not only drive results but encourage, teach, and support their teammates.

Simply put, before hiring or promoting a high performer with great technical skills and knowledge of their field, find out if they have already adopted a leadership mindset in everything they do. You can use this list of seven interview questions to uncover if they have what it takes to lead.

Rising leadership skills combos for management roles

Of course, skills are still important for making that decision. You may have a great candidate with a heart of gold, but placed in a leadership position with the wrong skill set can result in an unreliable manager. 

So, along with the technical skills that set apart a marketing manager from an HR lead, there is a list of soft skill combos that have become high in demand among leadership roles:

  • Empathy + Communication

With everything that went down with the COVID-19 pandemic, employees are asking for leaders who demonstrate clear communication skills along with empathy. It’s not just about being effective in delivering a message but caring about the impact and consequences of that same message. 

Blunt honesty or rough transparency might not sit well for every situation. A budget boost for new projects sounds great but it can also be overwhelming, so managers need to think about the best way to break it down to their teams.

  • Critical thinking + Decision-making

This combo should be a no-brainer for leadership. One of the main responsibilities a manager has is to decide. Not just for themselves but for their teams, and for their company. And what better skill to pair decision-making with than critical thinking?

Good managers know that even if they make the ultimate choice, they are not alone. They rely on their team’s knowledge and skills, but they also need to evaluate other factors, such as what are stakeholders expecting to see? How will this impact the team in the long run? Which metrics should be considered to track the outcomes?

  • Tech Savviness + Change management

Technology keeps changing, and organizations are changing along with it. A manager should not only work on understanding the latest technologies but design the best way to merge them with their team tasks and processes.

By coupling change management methodologies with new tools, managers can foster an ever-evolving and growing culture within their teams. Ultimately, having a change-driven and tech-savvy team has a bigger impact on the company’s productivity and sustainability.

These six skills are only one part of the puzzle, here’s a list of 20 hard and soft skills managers should also develop:

  1. Adaptability
  2. Negotiation
  3. Forecasting
  4. Learnability
  5. Project planning
  6. Troubleshooting
  7. Creative thinking
  8. Innovation
  9. Active listening
  10. Open-mindedness
  11. Problem solving
  12. Accountability
  13. Emotional intelligence
  14. Conflict management
  15. Developing rapport
  16. Task prioritization
  17. Setting expectations
  18. Training/Mentoring
  19. Public speaking
  20. Risk management

Remember, it’s not about finding perfect leaders before promoting them to management roles, but finding those high-potential individuals who are constantly improving themselves and their work environment.

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