7 Soft Skills You Need to Be an Effective Manager Today

COVID-19 has been a life-changing event that made us rethink our priorities. Because of the pandemic, we’ve had a moment to reflect on how we can be of greater service to people through our time, resources, or assistance.

In the workplace, employees need their managers’ support now more than ever. Besides guiding your staff in their designated roles or functions using relevant skills and experience, your leadership style can be a source of fortitude for your team to navigate the post-pandemic work landscape.

Since the current situation poses unprecedented challenges and worries for many companies and their recruitment agency in the Philippines, managers need to exercise compassion, kindness, empathy, and other non-technical skills.

The power to spark more positivity in the workplace can only be achieved by having the right soft skills. Modeling soft skills in your brand of leadership and relationship with employees can help maintain the company’s smooth operations and raise the overall morale in these difficult times.

7 Must-Have Soft Skills for Managers of Post-COVID Workplaces

Here are seven soft skills you must develop and strengthen to be an effective manager and lead and prepare your team for the world after the coronavirus crisis.

1. Empathy

You’re a leader with empathy if you can relate with your employees and the problems they face and work out solutions to lessen their burden.

Amidst the pandemic, The Workforce Institute – Ultimate Kronos Group (UKG) and Workplace Intelligence conducted a global survey, which revealed some interesting concerns. Burnout and fatigue are the primary complaints among 43% of the respondents—whether they’re working remotely or going to a physical office. This scenario applies to Filipino workers, too.

On the one hand, you may have team members whose children are on homeschool programs. That means they have to wear the hats of telecommuting employees and hands-on parents simultaneously. On the other, employees returning to physical offices have to put in more effort coming to work amidst reduced public transportation. 

Empathetic leadership entails understanding that various segments of your workforce will require different levels or types of support to empower them.

2. Communication

Rarely can you find job ads that don’t mention communication skills as part of the hiring criteria, meaning it’s vital for everyone to have this ability. However, its significance will vary depending on a person’s role in the organization.

For example, it’s well and good for your IT personnel to have expert coding skills while being able to explain how they plan to develop a particular software, but you’ll have to be an excellent listener to look for cues that will tell you whether it’s the suitable software for your team or not. Here, asking the right questions before giving the green light for the project can prevent time or resources from going to waste.

3. Resilience

Resilience is at the heart of good leadership. Are you quick to feel overwhelmed and make hurried decisions at the first sign of trouble, or would you instead look at the situation as an opportunity to shake things up and respond with grit?

In the same vein, the COVID-19 crisis continues to test your strength of character and business sense. As you create a plan of action, your vision for the company should focus on short- and long-term impacts, including how they may affect your employees. That said, you’d do well to consider getting them involved in revisiting company strategies and processes to make them more competitive and attuned to the times.

4. Kindness

Choose to be kind—we get this reminder constantly, especially when we want to rally around someone vulnerable to suffering or difficulties. Kindness in the workplace doesn’t have to be about bending the rules or tolerating inefficiencies to avoid hurting someone. Instead, effective managers acknowledge kindness as a value that makes them well-rounded leaders. 

The times we’re living in right now also call on you to look at people in your company not as employees but as human beings trying hard to put up a brave front against mental or emotional struggles.

5. Team spirit

It’s inevitable for teams to have differing views or attitudes about office issues. As a manager, you should be skilled in mediating these differences and settling disputes by giving everyone a chance to voice their concerns. You can use video conferencing technologies to have individual consultations or group discussions until the team comes up with a fair decision for all.

6. Creativity

Many companies are tightening their budgets to help them get out of the crisis. However, you cannot let the financial strain affect the quality of your team’s output. By thinking creatively, you can develop ideas or solutions that allow you to continue meeting deadlines and deliver exceptional results, driving the business’s growth despite the odds.

7. Flexibility and adaptability

Until we’re out of the woods, you should find the balance in offering remote work setups for your employees and allowing those who miss the traditional, personal interactions to decide when they want to return to the office or not. At the same time, facing the pandemic’s massive disruption with an open mind will be crucial for your business to recover and reinvent itself moving forward.

We Are in It Together

Today’s managers are subject or technical experts and, at the same time, active listeners, mediators, and creative problem solvers who make their employees feel valued and heard. Indeed, the future of work is here, where hard skills and soft skills work to give the best possible outcome.

Ron Cullimore