In another post we discussed the type of training courses that are important for developing leadership skills. Leaders are like the captain of sailing vessels, where they chart the course, and make the big decisions when course corrections are required. But most ships (other than a single-person dinghy) also require team members to execute the orders of the captain, and team leaders to coordinate their activities.
The larger the vessel, the greater the need for someone to coordinate the efforts of all team members so that they are working together in unison. In a corporation, that person would be a manager. The manager doesn’t typically select the mission of the organization. The role of manager requires a person who can execute orders, in an efficient and effective manner. That requires a different and complementary set of skills than that of the leader.
While some of the management skills may seem identical to those required of leaders, there are subtle differences. For example, communication skills are important for both roles. However, managers do more individualized one-on-one communication with their direct reports, where leaders do more presentations and strategic communications. The changing nature of the workplace has also brought about the need to develop new management skills, even for experienced managers. Here are a few examples.
Managing Virtual Teams
There have been some technological advancements recently that have brought about the need for new management skills. For example, managing virtual teams requires managers to redouble their efforts in terms of clear communications, establishing well-defined goals, running effective virtual meetings, and keeping employees engaged even when they don’t see each other face-to-face.
New Employee Relationships
Starting at one company and staying there for 30 years is a thing of the past. Today’s employees value mobility over stability. Professional development courses for managers need to address the growing number of employees who work as freelancers, contractors, or even temporary employees. Managers need to learn how to stay ahead of the curve by communicating expectations on workplace arrangements and changing demographics. They also need to bring employees up to speed quickly, and work to keep them engaged.
Dynamic Organizational Structures
Traditional hierarchical organizational structures are being replaced by newer designs that facilitate agility, collaboration, and working across multiple time zones and media. In order to accommodate this new type of structure, managers are now expected to provide real-time feedback and coaching, rather than cyclical performance reviews.
These are just a few of the trends in developing managers. As technology evolves and demographics continue to change, more skills development will be needed.