By Daniela Brenes Araya – Student of Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
“A manager is not a person who can do the work better than his men; he is a person who can get his men to do the work better than he can”, the CEO of FedEx, Frederick W. Smith said that when referring to a manager’s role. Becoming a manager is not easy there are several steps needed to reach this position, one of these steps is improving your soft skills. These skills are critical in managers success and employee’s productivity. Organizations believe they aren’t just “nice to have” and nowadays managers are expected to have good communication and personal skills (Hes, 2018) Communications skills include having good: listening abilities, verbal communication, and non-verbal communication. While personal skills are composed by abilities like: problem solving, leadership, and the ability of knowing how to work as a team.
It is necessary for managers to have good communication skills because businesses that have exhibit effective communication have higher levels of productivity and better employee engagement (Longweni, n.d.). Managers require effective listening skills as it helps them understand their audience, making employees feel more supported, engaged, and committed to their managers and business (Brenner, 2018). In addition, having good verbal communication helps managers in the process of providing feedback and managing their teams effectively. According to different studies most managers feel uncomfortable giving feedback, an aspect which can affect employee’s performance and growth. Therefore, good verbal communication skills can help managers have a direct yet sensitive interactions with their employees. (Longweni, n.d.).
On the other hand, 93% of our communication is nonverbal, making it an important aspect for managers to reinforce (UCPath Center, 2018). By learning to control nonverbal signals like face expressions, managers can adjust their expressions with their intended message, transmit a certain feeling to subordinates, and even read learn how to read their employees’ moods (Effective Verbal Communication with Groups Checklist 108, 2018).
Another soft skill which is required for becoming a manager is personal skills. For instance, in terms of problem solving this skill is essential for a business’s success. Managers are expected to assess environments, analyze current situations, design solutions, and act upon opportunities or challenges being faced by the company (Sherwin, n.d.). According to several investigations, when hiring managers, leadership skills are also essential, abilities such as setting goals, knowing how to work as a team, knowing how to react and manage conflicts effectively, and making good decisions under pressure are even taken by many companies with much more importance than academic degrees (Management Centre Europe, 2018). Companies have changed from formally hierarchical to co-operation dynamics; managers nowadays need to be involved and work with others, rather than just simply pass instructions to their team. Also, they need to be skilled at team dynamics and know how to boost their groups towards a specific set of goals. (Sherwin, n.d.).
However, some investigations consider that technical skills, which are also known as hard skills, are more important than soft skills when aspiring to become a manager. Soft skills would be nothing without hard skills, because for someone to even consider being a manager, they would need to have the academic knowledge of what this position requires. After all, while hiring, organizations would not even take into consideration someone who does not have the qualifications that a manager needs, nor would they hire someone who is not the best at their work. (Technical Skills of Successful Managers, n.d.). Companies require, as a base for hiring a manager, someone with a good college and postgraduate degree.
In conclusion though it’s true that hard skills are the base of manager’s academic knowledge, working on our soft skills should still be an important step towards becoming a manager. Although organizations care about academic bases, soft skills have demonstrated to be a critical part in manager’s success. Companies are no longer looking for just good professionals, they are looking for someone who can create an environment that leads to better and make more productive employees. Companies want to reach their goals more effectively, while having someone that will stand out and make a difference.