How to develop management skills is a huge and somewhat daunting topic. There are literally mountains of information out there on the subject, not all of it even in agreement.
But the first step in the process is your own attitude. It begins with a mindset, a recognition that you can develop and improve your skills, and the desire to learn how.
The next step is determining what you should focus on among the many different possible managerial skills. Some management experts say the place to start is with those skills that are needed to carry out a business strategy. You also want to develop skills that are important to your own professional development. But these are broad topics, you need to reign them in.
Here are 3 keys to Improving Management Skills:
Identify your strengths and weaknesses
You won’t know what skills you need to develop until you have done a thorough evaluation of the skills that you have. You need to assess your own strengths and weaknesses. To help you determine these, you can use resources such as feedback from performance reviews, talking to your supervisor, and 360 degree assessments. There are other resources you can access as well, such as books on how to develop management skills.
You should look at both the soft and hard skills. Soft skills involve those that are needed to work with other people, related to communication ability and empathy. But don’t neglect the hard skills – things such as planning and managing budgets, developing strategic plans, performance planning and management.
After you have assessed your strengths and weaknesses, you then need to determine what skills you need to focus on, the ones that are the most important. Here again, to help in setting priorities, take a look at your company’s business strategy and long-term goals. What skills will enable you to make the greatest contribution toward implementing the strategy and achieving the goals?
Focus on just a few of the most important skills. Don’t overextend yourself by trying to do too much – no one can be perfect at everything.
Make a plan.
You have set your goals. Now you need to develop an action plan for achieving those goals. Will you need to take classes at a university or possibly an online program? Will mentoring help you in developing the skills you need? Or perhaps the best course will be classroom instruction combined with training on the job.