When it comes to recruiting managers, most recruiters pay attention to diplomas, degrees, certification and demonstrations of practical knowledge, which are known as “hard skills”. Those Hard Skills are the ones you can learn in school, and that makes a manager different to an engineer. They do not have the same specialties. But what makes one manager different from another, if it is not the reputation of the school, the length or prestige of his studies nor his capacity to present well during an interview? What is it that will make the second candidate a better manager than the other? Well, it is what we call soft skills. Soft Skill are not easy to measure, they are characteristics about you that are harder to learn than just accounting. If you are wondering what soft skill you should look for in a manager, here is a little list.
Flexibility is the key soft skill for a manager. Indeed, we are faced with changes every day, a new product release, a problem in the production process generates a delay and so on. A good manager must know how to deal with such changes and be flexible. He also needs to watch his team’s behaviour. In fact not everyone on a manager’s team will react in the same way to an event, so the manager has to adapt.
Moreover, to work harmoniously, every team member must be heard and understood. To trust your manager totally you need to be sure he is flexible enough to adapt his ways to work with each member of the team. In theory, a good manager is supposed to work with every team member in a specific way.
Delegation skills are essential for a good manager. Not only because it is impossible for one single person to do it all, but also because not delegating really damages the team. Indeed, if you do not have enough responsibilities you do not have any reason to do your work well. It is even worse if you know your manager can do it all. A manager who does not delegate correctly is a manager that will be exhausted all the time, and will let his team down. The team will rely too much on him and won’t be active at work.
Moreover, a good manager must know his team well enough to delegate the right task to each person. In theory, a good manager is supposed to know what drives each member of his team in order to adjust their tasks to meet their expectations.
When working in a team, communication is extremely important. A manager with poor communication skills is not a good manager because the team will constantly be missing information that could be crucial. Examples of poor communication are numerous and cause a wide range of problems in a team or company. The consequences of poor communication go from reduced sales to more serious issues. A good manager is all about transparency so his team members know how to react and can be autonomous.
If there is one resource a manager is always missing, it is time. Therefore, time management is a vital soft skill for a good manager. Maximizing the amount of things he will be able to do as well as prioritizing some tasks over others are definitely skills you want to look for. Along with delegation and communication skills, time managment skills are essential for teamwork.
Leadership must be the most important and hardest soft skill to find in a manager. Indeed, a good manager must be a leader in the sense that his team will feel like he can be trusted and will follow him. Your manager needs natural authority since a real leader does not need to express authority to be heard and “obeyed”. This soft skill makes great managers who can therefore instill a good work atmosphere and motivate everyone without having to resort to stricter policies.
Take directions as well
When you look for a manager, you want to find someone who can lead, teach, set a goal and go after it. But sometimes, when changing strategic directions, or coaching regarding their performance, managers must be able to take directions, integrate them and lead the change. Moreover, it is important for the well-being of your company that your managers know how to take criticism and how to respond to it.
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