Areas of Development for Managers: Striking A Balance Between Management And Self-Development

Life is not always easy for managers. There is pressure to bring in results and keep everyone happy, and there is also the balancing act between putting your nose to the grindstone and also going out and meeting with clients. This can be a challenge, but there are some areas of development that can help managers. 

Developing your management career is no mean feat. As a manager, you need to make sure that you are constantly learning new skills and growing your expertise. This is no easy task. It involves a lot of hard work and discipline.

Managers are a crucial part of any company. But what makes managers better than the rest? Are there any traits that separate them from the crowd? Below are areas of development for becoming better managers.

1. Communication Skills

In today’s fast-changing environment, “change management” has become an integral part of any business. When you are in a managerial position, you are also required to manage change within your team as well as within yourself. You need to know how to communicate effectively with your team so that you can foster a culture of learning and growth. 

As a manager, your communication skills will impact not only you and your team but also the wider organization. Being a manager in any organization means dealing with people and communicating effectively with them. 

Effective communication enables managers to explain their vision, align people around common objectives, build relationships with key stakeholders and give constructive feedback.

SEE: Why are communication skills important at the workplace

2. Leadership Skills

One of the most important areas of development for managers is leadership skills. A leader is more than a person who makes decisions and gives orders. Certain attributes may be indicative of a good future leader, such as interpersonal skills and the ability to think strategically. In many ways, the impact a manager has on their team and their organization resembles a boomerang. 

A strong leader can develop the people and make them see the importance of their role and place in the organization. Leaders are responsible for stimulating and motivating their teams. They ensure that everyone understands their role and how it fits in with the roles of others. A leader ensures that each employee is doing their part to ensure the successful completion of any tasks or projects undertaken by the company.

How well managers performed as leaders were correlated to their ability to provide feedback. The importance of providing feedback cannot be overstated. As one research participant put it, “I feel that if my manager does not give me timely, sometimes even frequent, feedback about how I am doing or what I can do better, how can I hope to improve?”

SEE: Discover the distinct qualities of a good leader

3. Motivational Strategies

Let’s face it: change is hard. While it might be easy to get motivated by a big goal in the beginning, as time goes on, it gets harder to put in the effort needed to achieve that goal. As a manager, you likely have people who work for you and report to you.

Thus, you have to think about not only your strategies for motivation but also what will work for any team you’re working with. Increasing or at least maintaining motivation in yourself and others is a good idea. You should brush up on the theories and concepts that can help you increase or at least maintain the motivation of all stakeholders.

Being a manager can be stressful. Yet learning motivational strategies is one of the most important development areas for managers. You have to motivate the employees, come up with strategies, and ensure that your company is successful.

SEE: Explore motivation tips to change your life

4. Setting and Achieving Goals

As leaders in your business, you’re used to setting goals and using feedback to improve performance. Managers need to develop the same expertise in coaching their direct reports on how to set goals, creating opportunities for goal attainment, and providing feedback along the way. 

Irrespective of whether you are a manager or an employee, setting goals is fundamental to your success. While managers are mostly concerned with achieving results through others, good performance management can be a job in itself. 

This means that setting goals and being clear about them is essential if you want to be the best version of yourself. Moreover, having a clear set of work objectives and career goals in place will help you progress. If need be, take one step at a time, but constantly keep moving.

5. Employee Appreciation

As a manager, you probably haven’t given much thought to the impact that employee appreciation can have on your business. After all, if you don’t hear any complaints, why should you worry? According to Small Business Trends, 58% of employees felt unappreciated at work due to a lack of employee appreciation. 

And did you know that this lack of appreciation is driving high-performing employees out of their jobs at record rates? However, employee appreciation sometimes seems difficult to give amid a busy workday. It can seem as though there are never enough hours in the day, and that recognition is always a part of something else. As such, managers sometimes feel that appreciating employees take up valuable time, and it is exhausting to do well.

The truth is, employee appreciation has a bigger impact than most organizations realize. It can motivate employees to perform better, lead to increased job satisfaction, improve productivity and collaboration, and reduce turnover. This is one of the areas of development that managers should not joke with.

6. Stress Management 

Managing stress at work is one of the most important development areas for managers. Learning strategies to cope in a high-stress environment is critical to your success while helping you improve your overall health and well-being.

As a manager, you want the people on your team to succeed. To create an efficient and effective workplace, you need to be able to manage stress in the office. If you’re running a business with several employees, or even just a small team, good stress management skills are vital.

Furthermore, managers in an organization should be aware of the need to manage their stress levels and that of the people who report to them. They should have a clear understanding of the factors that cause stress and the action they can take to minimize it.

SEE: Understand coping skills

7. Time Management Skills

Managers should understand that time is a precious resource that shouldn’t be wasted. Time management skills can be defined as the abilities that allow you to get things done promptly. They also include the skills that help you use your time effectively, so you don’t set unrealistic goals or deadlines and become stressed out.

Most managers don’t have enough time in their day to get things done, and therefore, they can be seen as disorganized and disheveled, making them poor leaders of the staff. Through proper time management, you can show your employees that you can manage tasks efficiently and productively, leading to a better work environment for everyone.

The right time management skills can help you achieve more, which will help you be more productive and also boost your self-esteem. For example, rather than procrastinating and putting off important tasks till the last moment, you can get them done early. This will leave you with more time to deal with other things that you can’t get out of the way.

SEE: Explore time management skills

8. Adaptability and Flexibility 

Do you ever find yourself stuck in one way of doing things? Are you aware of your limitations and how to work around them? Being able to adapt and change is an essential skill for a manager today. Many managers struggle with this, as there is often the temptation to stick with what you know rather than try new ways of working. 

Learning to adapt and be flexible is an important skill for a manager. You may need to manage a team with limited resources or deal with last-minute changes to a project. Your ability to think on your feet when faced with a challenge, along with your problem-solving skills, can have a positive impact on your team and their performance.

Life is a roller coaster, and you need to be able to adapt and flex to the situations it throws at you. No matter how well you plan, there will always be things that go wrong and change. Whether it’s planning that needs to be rescheduled or a customer who switches their needs with an hour’s notice, knowing how to adapt without losing your cool is key. 

9. Strategic Delegation

A common mistake that managers make is treating their employees as a mechanism to achieve the goals of their organization. But the best managers know that their employees are individuals who need support for them to flourish and ultimately achieve those goals. 

Therefore, if you want to empower your team and increase the performance of your company, try delegating strategically—giving your employees more opportunities both on and off the job. Strategic delegation allows managers to focus on key initiatives while supporting their staff. Many managers know the importance of delegation, but few have been taught how to do it well. 

Strategic delegation is one of the most important skills in management. It’s how you empower others and build a stronger team. But you’re busy, and if you delegate tasks without developing your employees, then you’ve not only failed to empower them, you’ve also set yourself up for future failure. 

10. Intuitive Problem-Solving

Managers who can solve problems intuitively or pro-actively are much more effective because they solve problems before they occur.

Intuitive problem-solving is the ability to prepare for problems before they arise and foresee areas that may need improvement by spotting a gap in your system or process. Managers who can solve problems proactively reduce the risk of these problems arising in the first place, with potentially disastrous effects.

A truly proactive manager will encourage employees to anticipate areas of issues and problems, including those associated with reaching goals. The key is to help people think about the obstacles they are likely to face, and how they will proactively work around them.

SEE: understand problem-solving skills

11. Personal Growth

Good managers are constantly looking to grow and learn new skills. However, a manager’s learning curve can be steep, especially for those who joined the business as specialists. You need to accept that you’re in an entirely new role and will need to develop new skills and thinking patterns.

It worries me when managers are so confident that they don’t think they need to develop any further. I want my managers to be curious about their personal development so that their behavior and performance contribute even more to our success.

Personal growth is about challenging yourself. It is about putting yourself in potentially uncomfortable situations to learn and grow faster. To increase your personal growth, you need to take the time to record your thoughts and feelings so you can reflect on them later. This will help you identify things you can do differently next time.

FAQs

How can you effectively manage your time and workload?

Keep a time log for a couple of days to see how you are currently spending your time. Then identify your most important priorities and allocate time for them in your calendar. Schedule time for communication (email, phone, etc.), but use that limited time to get organized and set priorities for the day. You should also try to focus on one task at a time and finish it as soon as possible to avoid procrastination.

What are the top reasons why managers fail?

Managers, in many cases, fail because they lack the necessary skills, are unable to trust and respect their staff, micromanage their staff, show favoritism, play office politics, and develop tunnel vision.

These managers often lack the necessary communication skills and knowledge of others’ behavioral styles. Managers typically leave little room for change or new ideas because they are too busy focusing on themselves and their limited viewpoints.

Final Thoughts 

Well-developed managerial skills are a critical aspect of every manager’s role. Equally important is the need to understand how to work with your employees, how to adapt your approaches to different personalities, and how to deal successfully with all kinds of problems that arise. 

If you want to be a successful manager, take the time and effort to improve your managerial skills and incorporate these tools into your leadership style. Furthermore, there are three areas of development I have identified about development for managers. 

These are: leading with integrity, managing stress and time effectively, and being action orientated. Once you have addressed these areas you should have increased the capability of your team in all areas.

You should also check out people management skills.

Thanks for reading.