For a company to grow out of the comfort of infancy, it’s vital that the workforce is not only prepared for future change but that each and every employee, especially on the management level, possesses a specific set of skills.
This is a matter of balance. The company hierarchy, especially that of a small business, requires an effective distribution of leadership skills across the board. And for that to happen, business leaders need to identify and target the most important skill sets for their team, both in employee development and throughout recruitment.
These skills are more important than ever. The volatile industry shifts of the past two years may have been a lesson in crisis management, but for companies to grow significantly in the coming year, leaders should consider developing and future-proofing their workforce.
While they are invaluable to a company’s long-term growth, there’s a lot more to developing a business than leadership skills. The first step towards achieving future growth is to define the company’s main pillars for success. Very often, these pillars are basic concepts like strategy, execution, people, and revenue. Companies that develop intricate company cultures often build it on this foundation.
These pillars allow leaders to better understand the talent they need to acquire or develop within the management team. Basic leadership skills are all about situational factors, for example, understanding the challenges, qualities, and missing skills within a team at any given time and reacting by guiding them effectively.
The ability to evaluate and make clear decisions are essential when you’re growing a business. A manager must be able to recognize where things need to change and how processes can be streamlined. Without this foundation, building an efficient workplace and team structure becomes difficult.
The manager’s profile
Employers often struggle to define these profiles. Management positions within a company can often include a variety of roles and responsibilities, some of them transcending the scope of what they’re used to. Every business is unique, and leaders need to identify talent that is not only promising but also highly adaptive and creative. To that end, certain skills should be prioritized to drive business growth.
An effective leader should first outline the difference between leadership and management. A strong leader takes the initiative and sets the right tone within a team so that the strategy can be executed. These professionals need to be persistent and flexible, able to adapt to change, and have strong intuition as well as intelligence and emotional awareness. Managers deal with people and people have feelings.
Lead people by supporting them, instead of wanting to direct them. You will see that your team will develop much faster this way. As the Chinese saying goes, "Give a man a fish and he has food for one day, teach him how to fish, and he has food for all his life." Sometimes you have to look beyond performance and numbers to understand an individual's management traits, experience, and capabilities.
Future-proofing the workforce
The modern world’s manager is no longer only expected to deal with employees. The role has grown beyond expectations, and managers are now responsible for more complex activities within the company. If business leaders want to assure themselves that their workforce has the right skills, every team member should be made aware of their position and growth opportunities.
The most direct change that leaders can affect is by being transparent with the workforce regarding which competencies are necessary to be successful in a particular position. Once you have mapped this out, you can help close potential gaps.
More importantly, transparency with employees regarding the company’s goals, the industry’s most expected and unexpected difficulties, prepares the workforce for future challenges and sudden market shifts. For the company to be prepared, your workforce needs to be future-proof.
There are only three things that can stand in the way of someone fulfilling their position and developing into a manager: a lack of the right skills, knowledge, or motivation. The task of a leader is to identify where someone falls short and to help that person further through effective, situational leadership.
Training and resources
One of the biggest challenges in developing new managers within a company is finding the right balance between technical knowledge and essential soft skills. In order to properly future-proof a workforce, leaders can provide guidance to employees throughout their development into effective managers.
It can be difficult to determine where to start, but mentoring and training employees through third-party resources and situational exercises always shows a considerable change. By surrounding yourself with the right people, by looking at development needs and understanding how performance and productivity can be improved through healthy communication, companies can support individuals in their development and in sharing their thoughts.
While the transition from employee to manager is not an overnight process, implementing regular one-on-one sessions, providing the right experiences, and ensuring internal training for all functions can play a big role in encouraging the development of rising stars.
Management & delegation
Delegation is essential for a company’s healthy growth. This frees up time for employees in senior positions and ensures that tasks are distributed fairly within the company. Small businesses on the precipice of growth in 2023 should develop task delegation processes for effective management.
Though some employers, managers, and senior employees find it difficult to delegate work, important tasks most of all, it’s common knowledge that any manager who attempts to keep everything under control will fail. You need to show your team that you trust them, so that they, in turn, want to show that they can do their job well. Learning to delegate is also about developing your employees and emphasizing their strengths.
This is not always easy, as most people in this position like to be in control of certain situations. The best leaders know that they have time to move their business forward and increase productivity if they delegate properly. If you have the right management team, this shouldn't be a problem at all.
Soft skills such as problem-solving, decision making, and communication are among the most important qualities within a management position. Some employers believe that these skills aren’t as important, while others place more emphasis on leadership skills and the candidate’s individual personality.
The truth of the matter is that you can teach someone leadership skills, but the same does not apply to motivation or aspiration. If an employee is motivated to become a leader, this is, of course, a bonus.
If this is not the case, they may require an extra push, so that they get to know their own potential.
Every person has their own motivation and goals. Be it satisfaction, status, progress, achievements, or recognition. The last three are the main motivators for a manager. And while they are important, the personality of the employee in question plays a role of its own. Promote the wrong person to a management position and they will be criticized or worse, resign because it is beyond their hat. The right approach is all about mapping the core skills, soft and otherwise, and the potential of a person.
It’s important to note that industries differ on several points. Companies may need unique management skills particular to their niche. In order to meet that need, leaders need to affect change within the team.
Be flexible, reliable, and make sure you strengthen people. It will make your staff happier and more productive. There are two things that a manager must be able to distinguish well: when to lead and when to provide support. It all comes down to situational leadership. If the employee does that well, they will make a great manager, and their role in growing the company beyond its humble beginnings becomes invaluable.