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8 Skills Your Junior Management Staff Need to Master

Without junior managers, your business would be much more difficult to run. Junior managers make your ideas come to life, and they are vital to the smooth operation of your company. As such, they need to have a set of essential skills to enable them to do their job well. So, what are the skills that your junior managers should have? In this article, we’ll look at the skills junior managers need to master to succeed in the workplace.

1 – The Ability to Listen

Conducting one to ones is a hugely important skill for a junior manager to master. Part of being good at this is having the ability to listen to what staff members, and others, are saying to truly understand their perspective.

A fundamental skill of a junior manager is to remain objective and listen to others from their agenda rather than their own, even if they do not agree.

Your junior manager must be able to listen to these ideas, these suggestions, these criticisms, and discuss them openly and freely. They won’t all be implemented, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be considered. Having this kind of open discussion is essential to fostering a sense of happiness within your workforce, and it is down to your junior manager to create it.

A junior manager who can communicate effectively and is emotionally intelligent is a credit and asset to any organisation.

2 – They Must Be Self-Aware

For a junior manager to be successful, they must be self-aware. Someone who can look at themselves through the eyes of others and be critical about what they see will be much more highly regarded than someone who can’t – as long as they act on that information. Just knowing what people think about you isn’t enough; more has to be done.

Someone who is not afraid to be self-aware will be able to understand how feedback and performance work together, and they will be able to change how people perceive them to ensure a more cohesive workforce.

3 – They Should Understand How to Delegate

Delegation is something that every junior manager needs to master to be effective. It can, however, be difficult to do – and do right. There is a big difference between dumping and delegation. Not giving team members the freedom to carry out tasks is not a long term solution. It can damage trust levels within the team and result in overload and pressure for the manager trying to juggle too many balls at once.

When done the right way, delegation can help your staff to learn, develop and grow. It can help productivity. It can improve results. Trusting others to carry out tasks on your behalf is highly motivating and rewarding and can foster a culture of accountability and performance.

Delegation sounds simple, however, in practice, it can be challenging to manage delegation effectively and in a way that delivers results.

4 – They Should Be Able to Manage People

Managing people is a skill that is difficult to get right. There are so many variations, so many ways for the conversation or act to go wrong, that many people – even otherwise great junior managers – tend to shy away.

People management isn’t about being your team’s friend and it’s not about being a taskmaster and checking every little detail and barking orders. But it is somewhere in the middle of all that. You want your team to respect you and do what you ask, and you want them to do it because they want to do a good job.

One way that this can be achieved is through setting an example and role-modelling expected behaviours. Your junior manager’s behaviour sets the standard for the rest of the team and educates them around what is expected. Junior managers are always on show, they cannot have a bad day.

A junior manager needs to develop a mindset for success and really understand what effective management looks like.

5 – They Must Be Assertive

A junior manager can be technically competent, but if they are not assertive this can impact how well a manager deals with the tough conversations and challenges they come across daily.

Being assertive is about having a true conviction in what you’re saying and being confident to put that conviction forward. It’s about considered communication.

Just because you’re assertive, however, that doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind. Assertiveness does not (thankfully) automatically equal an inability to be flexible or to admit when you’re wrong (both great junior management skills in their own rights). In fact, being able to understand when an idea just isn’t working and changing it – with or without the help of the team – is essential.

6 – They Must Be Inclusive

Treating everyone equally is an expectation of any junior manager today. This is about inclusiveness and recognising the benefits of diversity.

Understanding equality and diversity and acting when necessary to ensure that your company remains free from discrimination matters regardless of the size of organisation. Your employees deserve to have the right to be comfortable at work, and not to experience discrimination because of their race, religion, sexuality, disability, or anything else.

Every company should have an equality and diversity statement in place – a key requirement of a junior manager is to ensure that this policy is implemented. Its simple; everyone must have access to the same fair treatment. An effective manager is skilled to nip those issues in the bud, have those difficult conversations and challenge unacceptable behaviour in the right way.

7 – They Need to Be Able to Manage Change

Change is the only constant for any organisation. Not everyone will see it that way though; new premises, new systems, new employees, new procedures… change on all scales can have a significant impact on staff.

A junior manager who embraces and manages change successfully is an asset to any company. It is, after all, their job to support organisational change and engage and support their team throughout the process. Influencing how staff look at and respond to change is a vital skill for an effective junior manager. Feeling like they are part of something exciting and progressive is massively different to feeling hard done to.

How a manager looks at change themselves is often the starting point.

8 – They Need to Be Able to Give Feedback

Giving and receiving feedback are two sides of the same coin. It supports a performance culture, it accelerates learning and speeds up progress. However, this often isn’t the norm. People shy away from asking for feedback and then keep feedback to themselves. When a manager sees somebody doing something ineffectively and they don’t say anything, they are still giving feedback!

A skilled junior manager delivers feedback in a considered, constructive and balanced way. Their end in mind is how the other person will receive this and how they can influence how this feedback is accepted. On the other foot, a skilled manager regularly asks for feedback with the intent to truly improve how they manage others.

What Next?

Developing your junior management team in the right skills can and does impact the bottom line. They have the greatest impact in any organisation delivering on results.

With many companies wanting to provide a pathway to succession planning and talent management, a structured management development programme is essential to developing your pipeline of managers.

Adalta provide structured training programmes that are developed around the key areas important to that business, in essence, we help organisations build their own programmes in a way that meets their budget and the needs of the junior managers.

If you have any questions about where to start in building a programme, please do get in touch.

Our next article will be about the qualifications required for different levels of management, and how to achieve them.

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