So you’ve been killing it at work lately and you feel you’re ready to take your game to a management level? Go you good thing! A lot of people don’t realise that the skills needed to be a good manager aren’t necessarily the same as those used to be great at your job. Managing people is a whole different ball game, so make sure you brush up on these soft skills to give yourself the best chance of success.

1. Communication

Seems obvious, I know, but it can too often be a case of ‘easier said than done’. Communication means listening to your team as much as it does clearly communicating what you need from them. It means you can provide honest and effective feedback, as well as hearing your team out if they have suggestions or improvements.

2. Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the skill that allows a person to understand the needs and motivations of those around. This becomes particularly crucial as a manager so you can identify the best way to respond to, work with and lead your team. This means it’s the ability to accept when things don’t go your way and learn from mistakes.

Empathy and soft skills are equally as important,” says Jodie King, Chief People Officer at Air New Zealand, “Understanding someone’s story; knowing where they’ve come from and how they got to where they are, gives a real sense of whether they’ve grown as an individual and have empathy for others.

3. Delegation

You might have been doing it all on your own until now, but becoming a manager means taking on more responsibility and you simply can’t do it without help. Learning the skill of delegation is key. That’s not just getting someone else to do the work, that’s delegating to the best person for the job and giving them enough room to do it.

4. Adaptability

The workforce is forever changing, whether that’s due to circumstances, people or ever-advancing technology. A good manager can make decisions and show flexibility in the face of changes and challenges and give their team guidance to do the same. It basically makes you a person who is level-headed in high-stress situations.

We’re looking for the right attitude and intuitions in candidates that will be essential when collaborating and problem-solving,” says Canstar’s CEO, Andrew Spicer, “Soft skills and potential now have as much weight in our recruitment efforts as technical skills and professional experience.

You Can Train For These

If you’re reading through this thinking you might not be quite up to scratch, or simply that you could do with a refresher, there are several ways to learn and practice these skills. The first is on the job because there’s nothing like real-world experience. Watch managers who seem to handle themselves well and take note of what they do. The other is to take a short-course specifically aimed at leadership skills – yes they do exist and yes they can be flexible around your other commitments.

Image: iStock / skynesher