It’s Time to Brush Up Those Management Skills

May 10, 2016


It’s easy to get attached to our routines, but if technology has taught us anything it’s that change is imminent and necessary for progress. That’s no more true than in performance management. But that can be a challenge, especially for a tenured manager. Since it’s spring time, I felt it appropriate to share three ways today’s managers can improve their management skills.

1. Increase your self-awareness

According to recent research featured in the Harvard Business Review, individuals with low self-awareness decrease a team’s chance of success by 50%. It doesn’t stop there. The study found teams with low-self aware individuals, “made worse decisions, engaged in less coordination, and showed less conflict management.” Imagine what a team’s consequences are with a low-self aware leader.

 Tip: Refresh your self-awareness. Try out some cutting edge personality tools. For example, Vitru is an online assessment that measures your personality and work values characteristics, places them on a scale and breaks down the details of each one for you to better understand who you are and how you respond to others. Having greater self-awareness will help you become a better communicator and may even impact your emotional intelligence.

2. Give yourself new standards

If you’ve been getting by with the same management standards for the past three years, you’re way past due for a change. Employees today are expecting a lot more from their managers than in the past. Here are just a few specifics you should consider to improve your management skills:


  • They want regular communication from you and you should give it to them. Employees who regularly communicate with their manager are almost three times more likely to be engaged than those who don’t.
  • They want you to hold them accountable. Employees with managers who are aware of their tasks and projects are seven times more likely to be engaged then disengaged.
  • They want you to take an interest in their development. 71% of working millennials who plan to leave their job in the next two years feel their leadership skills are not being fully developed.


Tip: These employee trends don’t have to be met by expensive HR technology. You can do this on your own. Examine your current management approach for some of the employee trends shaking up HR today. Is your approach stale? Lacking? Living in the past?

Change it.

For example, if you’re not great at holding people accountable because of a busy schedule, set a task for yourself every week to have one-on-one meetings with your team to discuss the week’s agenda. If applicable, use the features of your company’s performance management system to set those notifications and keep everything documented.


4. Get your confidence in check

Are you a confident leader? If you said no or you’re not sure, keep reading. 70% of employees who lack confidence in their leadership aren’t fully engaged, which means they aren’t meeting their full potential. What’s more, if there is doubt about your abilities as a leader, it will be hard to acquire and maintain the respect of your subordinates. These things cause a ripple effect in the talent lifecycle, leading to high turnover, bad employee reviews and, consequently, a dwindling talent pool.


Tip: First, refer to #1. Then, when you discover where your strengths and weaknesses are, you can work to improve the things that need the most help. Having a heightened sense of awareness is empowering and allows you to see things more logically, rather than emotionally, for a more objective and forward-moving thought process. Don’t forget to own up to your mistakes and show the team your humility and at the same time, celebrate your strengths and wins with them.


It’s never too late to spring clean your management skills and it doesn’t have to cost you anything. By working on yourself first, you can start improving and enhancing the performance management process from the inside out. Happy cleaning!