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The Most Important Supervisory Skills

As an established manager or new manager, what skills, qualities and competencies do you believe are the most important to supervising others?

Good question. I'd have to say the most important skills are Critical Thinking, Empathy, Humor and Determination.

I think having good organizational skills is crucial. Good judgement on time sensitive issues is also important. A good manager is someone who can evaluate a situation quickly but carefully. Efficiency is key in getting the job done right.

Good post. I see where you're going. Of course Planning, Organzing, Leading and Controlling are the functions oa all management, you can't do much if you are not organized. You bring up a good thought in discussing Efficiency. Efficiency (doing things right) and Effectiveness (doing the right things) are key.

Hi James, to your point about efficiency and effectiveness: I have seen managers that accomplished a relevant task or project, but were inefficient because they did not utilize their resources effectively. Others have been quite efficient in their projects or activities, but their results made no real contribution to the organization's mission or bottom line. It is, of course, the combination of both that yields success.

Thanks for your observations.

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The most important skill to me personally would have to be communication. As a new manager, I spent most of my beginning months just trying to create or build relationships with people in my team as well as outside of my team. This cleared up any negative issues during my promotion as well as assumptions and rumors.

For me personally, the most important quality would be patience. As a new manager, it was hard for me to deal with people who had been unproductive and problematic since I had been in a similar role prior to my promotion. I had to take into consideration that people are different and I have to be more understanding on my end of their situations.

So many. I think being a good listener, thinker and problem solver could be at the top. Being able to adapt to different people and different situation, understand people and problems are not the same and need to be dealt with differently. Promoter of teamwork, good coach and recognize a job well done.

Flexibility. Knowing that no two employees are alike in their abilities or motivations, one must reach out in a genuine manner to get to know the person. People who are supervised want 3 basic needs to be fulfilled. The need for monetary rewards, the need for recognition, and the need for respect. Once they are compensated, recognized for their accomplishments when deserved, and have their opinions solicited in a personal manner then they feel like a part of a very vital team. But back to the key is the flexibility. Get to know what is the single most driving force and then use that to capitalize on it to bring out their best. The realization that what works for one will not work for another is what makes leadership exciting and rewarding.
Patrick Nutter.

I agree...situational leadership is critical. No two employees are alike and a mistake that many new managers make is to lead and direct everyone the same way. As you state, getting to know each persons "driving force" can help the manager adapt and help everyone achieve his/her potential.

It is very simple in my mind. Know your people and what makes them tick. I have learned over the past 20 years to listened and figure out what motivates people to get the best out of them.

Being a great Manger I believe you need to know what makes each member of your staff click. They need to see that you are confident in what you do and are able to tap into what your members bring to the table and what motivates them to go beyond their own capabilities. I make sure that I spend time with each one of my staff members every week. Also, I made a commitment early on that I knew how to do everybodies job wether it has to do with Financial Aid, Buisness Office, Registrar and Admission to better understand what problems they may have and be able to resolve any issue they may have.

There really is no one skill or trait that is more important than another. Depending on your particular management style or the specific task at hand, any one of a 'suite' of competencies might be more important or more appropriate than the others. That being said, I believe there is one skill that is an essential element of all other managerial qualities. That is communication. Organization, empathy, planning, attention to detail, etc. etc. all require the ability to communicate effectively.

And a critical component of "communication" is effective listening. The leader of yesterday was able to tell; the leader of tomorrow will be able to listen. Thanks for your post.

I tend to view Emotional Intelligence skills as the most important. It is in this arena where you have the opportunity to get to know your employees on a deeper level and employ such skills as self-awareness and empathy.

Clear communication, providing direction, organization, goal setting, and feedback are crucial as well.

Denise M

I believe being a leader and knowing how to change to fit each situation and deal with each employee individually.

Leading people can be done in a uniform manner, otherwise drill sargents would be soft and caring. However, leading must also be done by example, and by someone willing to take on the task.

I think that having excellent communication (a listener) and organization skills is a most. Need to be creative. Basic common sense is a plus in order to help promote a successful environment. A good manager needs to be to be confident in order to inspire confidence to the rest of the team. Other important managerial skill is effective delegation to employees to complete a task, and let them figurate out how the task can be accomplished. This benefit everyone involve in the work team.

Communication and motivational skills are two skills that a new or established manager needs. The manager should be politically astitute and employ careful planning in all his/her undertakings. He should be a person who needs to plan and allocate resources carefully and effectively. He must evaluate reports.

Communication is a critical supervisory skill, as are the others you mention, Edward. Interestingly, we often think about "motivation" as a specific skill that a manager should possess, but I am inclined to suggest that we don't really "motivate" our subordinates. Rather, I think we provide the right inspiration to allow them to find the energy/drive (or motivation) within themselves. Thanks.

A good manager will asset the situation and have a plan to implement. There is no one way to handle every issue. You have to adapt to the needs of that problem.

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