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3 Skills U.S. Managers Lack, According to Employees

By Maurie Backman – Jun 6, 2019 at 9:18AM

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Struggling in these areas could make you a less effective leader, so it's time to do better.

It's no secret that managers aren't perfect. But apparently, 33% of workers feel that their managers have to step up their games as they're lacking key skills needed to be successful. These are the top three skills bosses need to improve on, according to a survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of professional learning company AVADO.

1. Communication

The better you are at communicating with your team, the more effective you'll be as a manager. If you've been known to lack communication skills, you owe it to your team to improve. To this end, establish a steady flow of communication so that information is relayed as needed. You might, for example, make a point of emailing your team every morning to go over deadlines, give project guidelines, and let your direct reports know that you're available to them if needed.

Two men and two women in business suits with serious expressions

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

At the same time, be mindful of how you communicate instructions when you have specific directions in mind. If your language isn't clear, your employees are apt to make mistakes or do things in a manner that doesn't meet your standards.

A good bet here is to figure out the method by which you communicate best and use it for complex messages. For example, if you find that you tend to get impatient when writing emails, pick up the phone or arrange quick sit-downs. If you're more organized when you spell out your thoughts in writing, revert to email instructions.

Finally, pay attention to the tone you use when communicating in person and in writing. Is it harsh? Overly casual? Honing your communication skills will make you better at what you do. It'll also make you an easier person to work for.

2. Time management

You can't expect your direct reports to manage their time well if you don't set a good example. If you're a poor time manager, find a calendar or scheduling app that works for you and use it.

Carve out time for meetings, reports, emergencies, and the many other things that inevitably wind up on your plate. Once you figure out a viable solution, share it with your team so that they get better about making good use of their time.

3. Mentorship

Part of your job as a manager is to offer guidance to your team members and help them navigate the issues they're experiencing on the job. If you've been falling down on the mentorship front, it's time to do better.

First, talk to your team openly about the type of support they're looking to get from you. Next, try to think back to when you were less experienced and needed other people's help to excel at work. What things did those people do for you? In some cases, sharing your own experiences could be enough to help your direct reports work through the challenges they're having, so rather than overthink your role as a mentor, aim to listen, speak honestly, and simply be there when your team needs you.

Managers are often subject to criticism, but if any of the above rings true for you, take steps to address your shortcomings. Doing so will make you a much better boss and a much better employee, in general.

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