Being a “good” manager depends on criteria specific to each company, such as its strategy and objectives. Aside from these contextual factors, there are however several “universal” skills that are essential to any talented manager. Here are the 3 main ones.
According to André Camiré, senior partner of Camiré and Associates Inc., a group that specializes in leadership development and professional integration, “the desire for learning to learn is the most important quality for managers who stand out today.” This ability to learn independently brings together the capacity to take a step back and to take risks, the desire to develop curiosity and for self-improvement.
In addition to the skills required, “high potential” candidates have self-knowledge essential to their development towards key positions. The capacity to learn lessons from experience, including failures, also characterizes talented managers. “Since they know they will have to learn, the most brilliant are willing to be vulnerable,” explains André Camiré. “They do not camp on their achievements and do not flaunt their knowledge.”
However fundamental, interpersonal skills remain neglected by many managers. “Companies put too much value on the title and expertise, to the detriment of relations. However, a function does not influence, it’s the person who creates the trust,” says André Camiré. The ability to inspire a team, to value one’s collaborators is today much more than a simple asset. It’s one of the essential skills of the modern manager.
The challenge of shifting from employee to manager
According to André Camiré, the major challenge of moving to a management position is that of a real identity transition. Indeed, this career development is not a progression that goes without saying. “In integration coaching, I regularly meet promising managers who have not yet given themselves, psychologically, this promotion,” says the leadership development specialist.
Without redefining his professional identity, the manager is likely to cling to what characterized him until his promotion: his expertise, management principles and the beliefs on which his past successes are based. However, according to André Camiré, “The idea of an expert manager and individual contributor is out of date. It prevents him from adequately playing his management role with members of his staff.”
For the professional transition coach, organizations themselves do not facilitate these transitions enough. They still limit the worker far too much to the sole mode of production. The contribution of a manager is no longer to produce results himself, but to encourage the members of his staff to produce results themselves. “The manager’s adaptation challenge is to develop a real interest in increasing the skills of his team members. Going to meet people, being interested rather than trying to be interesting,” emphasizes Aller Camiré.