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5 Skills you need to be a better manager

Teresa

Teresa Sanchez

Managers play a key role in determining the quality of employee experience. Functioning as an intermediary between leadership and individual employees, they wield a powerful influence over employee attitudes and the overall trajectory of the organization, especially when it comes to diversity and inclusion. When they lead with conviction and empathy, the results can be game-changing.

“Managers have the transformative ability to create a safe and inclusive space where employees can share their diverse knowledge and perspectives,” says Praxis Labs Co-Founder & CEO, Elise Smith. “An exceptional supervisor crafts an environment that celebrates the success of every person, nurturing a workplace where everyone feels supported, valued, and empowered to thrive.”

But all too often, managers lack the skills they need to make a positive impact. When a high-performing individual is promoted to a managerial role without being trained in the prerequisite socio-emotional skills, employee experience suffers. A Gallup survey found that 50% of employees who quit are quitting their boss, not their job. Given this, it’s no surprise that manager performance accounts for at least 70% variance in employee engagement.

How do you prepare managers to lead effectively and drive real DEI change? Praxis Labs’ in-house experts did a rigorous analysis to define the 5 primary skills managers need to be successful in their roles.

Here are the 5 skills:

1. Managing Self

Self-management refers to the way an individual regulates their behavior in the company of others. Exercising emotional intelligence, being aware of personal biases, and demonstrating curiosity and an open mind are hallmarks of the well-managed self. Exhibiting healthy positivity, curiosity, and an open mind will encourage others to do the same, fostering a more inclusive working environment.

2. Communication

Strong communication skills are essential for managers, and active listening plays a key role. The practice of listening attentively to a speaker, responding thoughtfully, and retaining the information for later has never been more important: recent studies find that over 50% of managers do not listen effectively to their employees. This decreases employee satisfaction and leads to miscommunications that waste time and resources.

3. Motivation

Motivation refers to the process of inspiring an individual to act in a certain manner. In a work context, the behaviors managers are usually aiming to induce their reports toward further engagement, collaboration, and peak performance. These behaviors can be achieved through an effective affirmation strategy. Effective affirmation refers to the act of acknowledging an employee’s work and expressing gratitude.

4. Supporting team members 

More than just offering words of encouragement, a manager’s support should be comforting, and motivational, and stem from a combination of a manager’s words, actions, and attitude. Core to supporting a team is a skill called effective observation. Effective observation refers to the act of closely watching an employee’s body language and verbal cues to recognize what energizes them or causes them to disengage.

5. Managing conflict 

Conflict management refers to the way a manager handles and resolves disagreements with or between direct reports. Managers can practice better conflict management by learning techniques for de-escalation, conflict mitigation, and resolution in a controlled environment.

Make training managers your priority

Good managers are the linchpin of a healthy work environment and successful DEI strategy, so don’t skimp on their training. With a focus on honing the 5 key skills outlined in this guidebook, Praxis Labs’ learning journeys allow managers to see first-hand how unconscious bias affects employees, and how they can use their position as people leaders to confront DEI-related challenges and, if needed, escalate matters of inequality to executive leadership. This form of perspective-taking can equip them with research-backed steps to identify inequities, build authentic connections, and drive toward inclusivity.

 

Looking to improve your manager training? Find expert solutions in our Manager Skills Training guide.

Download our guidebook

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