The role of the manager is crucial for the success of any business. Indeed, the right manager who possesses the necessary technical and soft skills can ensure that the desired results are achieved each time. It is no wonder then that estimates show that by 2027 the need for project managers will grow substantially, with some setting the number at over 20 million new job positions.

However, businesses and projects are growing more and more complex, and even experienced managers can begin to struggle. After all, they have to juggle a myriad of different tasks, frequently at the same time. Implementing a business management software system can be of great help in this regard. The BPM system can eliminate the need to use multiple apps while providing a centralized information structure were all needed data – deadlines, key project details, task statuses, notifications, and more, is easily accessible. 

Businesses are also starting to put greater value on the benefits derived from having clear leaders among their internal teams. Many believe that being a manager is interchangeable with being a leader, but this is not necessarily the case. There are subtle but essential nuances that differentiate these two categories.

A good manager may not be a great leader, while a team leader may not be officially appointed to a management position. Of course, those who strive to reach the status of a great manager should know how to also act as a natural leader.

Management and Leadership

One of the foundational characteristics of a leader is their passion. They must embody the vision and goals of their organization and strive to achieve them. Focused on the bigger picture, leaders guide, inspire, and make sure that all team members align with the core mission and move in the same direction towards achieving it. Great leaders exhibit qualities such as being constantly motivated, positive, acting as a mentor to the team members, and being willing to take risks and try new approaches. 

Managers, on the other hand, are more focused on day-to-day organizational tasks. They provide the necessary clarification of the chosen corporate goals and facilitate the seamless collaboration between team members. The best managers can smooth out any interpersonal conflicts, nurture a healthy work atmosphere, and make the necessary adjustments to bring out the maximum potential of each team member. 

Combining leadership and management could deliver tremendous benefits, but the crucial first step towards reaching that level should be based on elevating your management skills. 

4 Essential Management Skills

1. Communication 

Knowing how to communicate and honing your communication skills is paramount for being an effective manager. It is not a massive stretch to state that most managers spend the majority of their time communicating in some form, be it with team members, stakeholders, outside vendors, or clients. Any deficiencies in this aspect could lead to internal strife, missed deadlines, and unnecessary frustrations. 

A subset of the communication skills, managers must be able to negotiate with different parties and individuals successfully. These may involve reaching beneficial agreements with the suppliers, dealing with internal team conflicts, keeping each person motivated and engaged, and ensuring that all involved parties are moving towards a unified end goal.

2. Technical Expertise

While ‘soft skills’ are undeniably necessary, successful project 

managers are aware that they need solid technical expertise as a foundation. Understanding the specific subject matter will facilitate far smoother and clear communication with the experts. By eliminating the need for lengthy explanations of basic terms, the specialists can provide timely feedback. At the same time, the manager can point out potential risks or roadblocks more quickly and efficiently. 

Knowing how to operate with the popular project and system management software tools also fall into this category. With BPM software at their disposal, managers can easily reorganize tasks, adjust the current goals, manage the available resources more effectively, ensure all schedules are moving as planned, and maintain clear communication channels with all involved parties.

3. Time Management

Scheduling and time management are two core aspects of any management position. In fact, it is not uncommon to have to follow multiple schedules simultaneously. To do so successfully, the manager should have a sufficient understanding of the project, resulting in better anticipation and implementation of measures against potential issues. 

Time management is equally as important. Data suggests that a poor skill set in this area could lead to severe obstacles on the way to reaching the desired results. The first step in avoiding such negative outcomes is setting up a realistic timeline, breaking it into achievable milestones, and then making sure that each team member is assigned a suitable task. The manager’s work doesn’t end there as they will have to continuously monitor the current progress, match it with the timeline, and make any necessary adjustments. 

4. Risk Management

Another crucial competency of a great manager’s kit. It consists of identifying future risks and then conceptualizing and implementing appropriate response measures in case any of the projected risks materialize. With enough foresight and proper decision-making, the manager can help avoid long-lasting impacts that could have otherwise jeopardized the whole project.

Acquiring Better Leadership Skills

Managers who wish to evolve into great leaders need to put conscious and continuous effort towards this goal. They will need to acquire a wide range of diverse skills – from being able to unite, reinvigorate, and inspire team members to possess excellent problem-solving abilities. As with the role of the manager, it all starts with communication!

1. Know Your Team

Great leaders are able to strike a delicate balance between knowing all relevant details about their team members without coming off as too intrusive, obnoxious, or pushy. You will mostly try to discern each individual’s strengths, weaknesses, motivations, and desired recognition. 

Even with all this information, there is no straightforward leadership approach that will be effective in every situation. Instead, leaders are capable of crafting unique methods geared towards each different team member. Doing so will significantly boost the team’s performance as a whole while keeping each team member engaged and excited to face the challenges presented by their specific tasks. 

2. Foster Open Communication

Great leaders are not afraid of receiving feedback, even if they know that it will be negative. Furthermore, they do not simply sit around and wait for people to come to talk to them about any problems. No, they actively encourage and solicit feedback from the get-go to show their willingness to listen. 

After all, the people encountering and dealing with the real issues are the team members. That is why they need to feel like their input is valued, taken into consideration, and then acted upon in order to improve the current situation. 

On the other hand, employees who feel like their opinions are disregarded will be discouraged from speaking up in the future, start becoming demotivated, and disconnect themselves from the corporate values, culture, and goals. 

3. Trusting Your Team

One of the best skills that aspiring leaders can acquire is knowing when to take a backseat and let their team members do their job in peace. While easy on paper, putting it into practice could prove challenging. After all, the manager carries full responsibility for any failures, so many people in this position are tempted to incessantly prod their team members for updates or give endless suggestions on how the experts should tackle a particular task. 

This behavior could turn into continuous micromanagement, a style that most leaders should try to avoid at all costs. In the majority of cases, employees who are being micromanaged start to exhibit negative tendencies. It might put them under unnecessary pressure, cause them to second-guess their decisions, and even lead to sub-par results. Instead, focus on providing your experts with the necessary data and context about the task and leave them alone.

4. Lead By Example

Probably the most obvious but somehow easily ignored leadership skill is following the same rules as everybody else. Even if it inconveniences them, your team members follow the established guidelines and work within the set deadlines. It would be best if you did exactly the same. 

No team will be able to maintain morale and a positive work environment if they are constantly seeing their supposed leader breaking the rules. A good leader who expects others to apply themselves wholeheartedly to the task at hand will remain right next to them the whole time, offering support whenever necessary. To help in this endeavor, you can encourage your team to be frank and point out any potential transgressions on your part. 

Conclusion

Do not think of leadership and management as a binary choice. After all, one is not better than the other. It all depends on the specific situation and the aptitude of the particular individual.

Still, if you apply yourself in developing the necessary skills in becoming both a great manager and a leader, the benefits will be substantial. Keep in mind that even managers who do not wish to take on the role of a leader are still trying to improve their collaboration and communication skills continually.