At a certain point in your career, whether or not you're a manager, you'll most likely find yourself looking for ways to deepen your knowledge and skills. For many people, this means pursuing a degree, certificate, or training in a specific subject related to your field; for others, this education may be more closely tied to a specific role (either the position you currently hold, or one you aspire to have). For people in the latter category, programs in business-oriented fields (like human resources or leadership) tend to make the most sense. In particular, advanced management training is a great way to grow your skillset, better understand business communications and processes, and lead more productive teams.
If you're considering an advanced management program (such as a degree program that offers advanced management training courses), here are some of the key competencies you'll want to learn.
The Most Important Advanced Management Skills
Learning how to communicate effectively in a business setting is essential: you need to know how to talk (and listen) to people of different cultural backgrounds, different positions within the organization, different perspectives, different working styles, and, ultimately, different personality types. A strong communicator will be able to easily adapt their interactions with others to create a harmonious working environment, better relationships, and closer collaboration across the organization.
Negotiation is a key business skill, but it tends to be one that many people aren't comfortable with. Learning how to negotiate effectively, regardless of the stakes, is very important: you are guaranteed to encounter difficult, complex situations throughout your career that will require this skill. With the proper training, you'll be able to enter and navigate a negotiation process successfully to ensure positive outcomes that feel like "win-wins" for all parties involved.
Project Management Skills
One of the challenges of transitioning from an individual contributor role to a management position is that your responsibilities tend to become more project management-oriented. With a team of people reporting to you, you're in charge of not just your own work, but their collective output as well. This means that you'll need to have a strong grasp on advanced project management skills, such as organization, time management, and prioritization to make sure that all work is completed in a timely fashion and meets the standards of quality required by your organization.
With increased responsibility in an organization, it's up to you to come up with solutions to challenges that arise. Additionally, while some of these issues might fall into your lap, you'll also need to be able to spot potential problems as they arise (or even before they do). These issues can often be complex, so you'll need to have strong problem-solving skills to think creatively to come up with innovative solutions that take the big picture into consideration.
As a manager you're responsible for helping to define and champion the culture of your team. This will of course vary depending on the type of work you do, and the needs and preferences of your team, but the most successful and motivated teams are built by managers who truly understand the importance of, and work to foster, an environment of innovation, problem-solving, and positive change.
Learning to work well with others is a skill that has been taught to us since our earliest days in school, but it's one that continues to be a challenge for many of us years later. Collaboration is essential - whether you're working with an individual in a similar role to you, or with someone in a completely department, having new perspectives, fresh ideas, and complementary skillsets will make virtually all work output stronger.
Human Resource Skills
Even if you don't work in the human resources department, having a human resources skillset - particularly, understanding how HR is linked to business strategy - is key to helping your team find success, and to helping your organization achieve its vision. With some training in this area, you'll be able to translate business objectives into HR strategies to achieve competitive advantages and organizational effectiveness through the employees (both current and future) of your company.
Supply Chain Management Skills
Another helpful and in-demand advanced management skill is supply chain management. Even if your work doesn't directly relate to this field, it's helpful to know the basics in order to have a holistic overview of the supply chain and to fully understand the process of a customer's request being fulfilled within the context of your organization's structure. Regardless of the product or service your organization delivers, the principles of supply chain management can be applied to virtually every business.
Perhaps it goes without saying, but leadership is one of the most important skills a manager can have. It's also one of the most difficult to obtain: most people find themselves put into management positions with little in the way of real leadership training, and must seek out resources to turn themselves into truly effective leaders. Many people can be managers; it takes training and effort to be a leader. However, the payoff is worth it: strong leadership makes teams more productive, more cohesive, and more dedicated.
When you're in a management position, it's up to you to make decisions. This is something many people struggle with - especially if you're used to relying on others to give the final say. However, this can be a huge problem for teams, as it impedes workflow and prevents people from working as efficiently as they could be. Learning how to weigh options, consider all possible outcomes, and make strategic decisions in a timely manner is an essential part of being a good manager.
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