Moving from Average to Excellence: How Managers Develop Future Skills Today

Professional and amateur

I ask managers on a regular basis how they are developing their skills and what they are currently reading or listening to.

It must be really annoying to those I ask every time I meet them!

The saying ‘change is the only constant’ has never been so true as it is today. The changes we are going through are exponentially greater than ever before, so if we are not keeping apace with those changes, we are simply being left behind.

If you want to move from being an also-ran or average manager to one who exudes excellence every day, consistently gaining better results, then here are a few ideas to get you started. See if you agree, and also share some of your ideas with me:

Learn how to adapt to manage, drive and create change. It really comes down to the difference between ‘reacting’ and ‘responding’ to change. When we react, we are often caught out, surprised by what is happening, and often have a knee-jerk reaction to the situation. When we respond, we build on what is happening around us and are able to adapt to those changes, rather than rushing around trying to experiment to make things work effectively. Better still, if we drive change, we start to control the effects and hence have better results in the long term.

Get extraordinary results from ordinary people. Many managers tell me their people aren’t committed or inspired to do any more than the barest minimum in terms of creative thinking and innovative contributions. They simply turn up, do their job and go home.

Excellent managers are able to tap into their team’s potential by encouraging them to come up with ideas, share their knowledge with others and build on their skills because their team member sees the benefits to themselves, the department and the company.

Devote yourself to never-ending improvement and development. Don’t leave your personal development up to your company by waiting for them to send you on training programmes. Take responsibility for your own development and identify a personal plan that will take you onto the next level. Have a goal of what your knowledge needs to be like in 6-12-18 months time. Download articles on that subject from the net. Start a binder and keep these until you have time to digest and devour it.

If you don’t think you have time to devote to personal development, think of the consequences of not doing so. You skills will atrophy and you’ll find yourself left behind the people who ‘just do it’. Personally, I get up a couple of hours before the family do on a Saturday morning and spend that quite time reading and making notes. By the time the real day starts, I have learned a lot about my chosen subjects. In one year, I have spent over 100 hours learning and developing my skills in this key area. And I haven’t missed out on family life to do it!

– Increase your Social Intelligence. Often described as ‘The capacity to effectively negotiate complex social relationships and environments’, social intelligence should be top of your list when it comes to areas to improve. You will never be perfect at ‘people skills’, so this is a journey that you can take and learn from every day. How do your people respond to your leadership style? What do you do daily and weekly to monitor the motivation and effectiveness of your team? How does your team gel together and what can you do to improve the compatibility between them?

These type of questions will help you see where the gap is between where you are now and where you need to be.

Those ideas really just scrape the surface of what you can do to move from average to excellent. They incorporate some of the future skills that you need today to keep up to date and build awareness of where you should be heading.

Thanks again.

Mark Williams

Head of Training

MTD Training | Management Blog | Image courtesy by Stuart Miles of FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

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