What is the most popular word on Linkedin? I have noticed that for some time it has been “leadership” and everything that is close to it, i.e. “leader”, etc. When browsing content, one can come to the conclusion that everyone wants to be a leader and that everyone has the right to explain to others what a true leader is. Very often it involves a brief description of the topic and the uploading of another picture entitled “Boss” vs “Leader”. However, the reality outside of Linkedin is different.
This topic is important and timely – mainly because organizations suffer from a lack of leaders. There are also no leadership standards. Just because someone has been employed as a leader does not make them a leader. Moreover, often leadership in a given company is only a result of the personality traits of the person employed for this role. This does not look good.
The topic seems simple. In the end, when looking for information on the competences of a manager, we come across a lot of articles, books, or other materials. However, the world is rushing forward, and the recent pandemic events also made us think – are the desired competences unchanged? Or different times always require different competences?
What I would like to share with you are the reflections collected during my contact with various managers, as well as during my own adventure as a manager. Of course, it was not without reading any interesting literature, which I would also like to recommend to you.
Let me start with the fact that, yes, I believe that some competences are necessary regardless of the place and time. They constitute a kind of foundation on which, depending on the demands, the different ones, which are dependent on specific needs, are being built. From my point of view, the most important thing, confirmed by various sources, is communication.
In general, I am of the opinion that poorly functioning communication in an organization leads to failures. That is why it is so important for managers, because they are the ones who control it. I mean, of course, effective communication, and not monologues at briefings or other meetings.
“Effective communication is therefore always context-specific and can be seen as an exchange of information in the best interest of all parties.” – “21st Century Skills”, Jeremy Lamri
One thing is that you should speak while adapting to the recipient, but the other, more important thing, is to make sure that the message is understood as intended. My, unfortunately former, manager always repeated that we supposedly speak the same language, but everyone understands it in their own way, and it is therefore worth remembering this. The second element is, of course, listening, because communication is a two-way event, and if we do not understand something, we should ask. It is better to explain any inaccuracies right away before they turn into an affair from a gossip column.
Another competence that I consider fundamental is critical thinking. It is something that I have the impression is less and less popular in the current education system – which is a pity. Undoubtedly, it is necessary in management, as well as in everyday life. Critical thinking has the following elements:
- Ability to make choices
We are talking then about collecting data and analyzing it, drawing conclusions, evaluating arguments, and making decisions based on all these components. But critical thinking is not a zero/one procedure. It is influenced by ethics or our values. When making decisions, we do not rely only on numbers – ok, not always. These components also fit well in Lean, where without the ability to analyze data and rely on them, we cannot draw conclusions. The slogan “In God we trust, all others bring data” perfectly reflects the nature of this competence.
These are the two competences that I consider to be crucial and not changing regardless of the time and circumstances. This is due to the fact that a manager will always need them, no matter what industry they’re in, and time has nothing to say here. Because, for example, in a pandemic, do we not have to communicate? I think yes, but with the adaptation of the sources – the necessity itself remains the same. Of course, there are more competences that I could mention here, for example creativity, but instead I would like to encourage you to reach for a very interesting book that deals with these topics. ” 21st century skills” by Jeremy Lamri shows from a scientific point of view, and based on research, the essence of competences and their development – without talking too much, just straight to the point. It is really worth a read.
Do you want to become a manager, but you do not see these competences in yourself? Are you already a manager but don’t feel strong in some of these skills? Do not worry, competences can be developed, and looking at their universality, it is definitely worth doing it. I deeply encourage you to do so.
Do you want to learn more about how to develop manager qualities? I am posting below a few links that may be of interest to you.
- “Good To Great”, Jim Collins
- The “Leadership” tab on leanovatica.com
- “Start With Why”, Simon Sinek
- “Winning”, Jack Welch, Suzy Welch
- “Crucial Conversations”, Kerry Patterson