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Effective soft & hard skills for new managers

To become a Manager is a matter of intelligence, trustworthiness, humaneness, courage, and discipline. Interestingly business education engrossed on the quantitative or “hard” skills necessary to be an effective manager. However, the importance of technical skills for example accounting skills cannot be underestimated. Managers must learn what virtues are essential to excel. As both hard and soft skills are extremely important, so we have to understand the difference between “hard skills” and “soft skills”.

Hard Skills or Technical Skills

Most managers are familiar with hard skills and these are what the majority of managers looks for in a job candidates. These are also known as technical skills, which means they are teachable.

Types of Hard Skills:
  • Economic analysis
  • Strategic planning
  • Computer Programming
  • Design
  • Marketing
  • Data Analysis
  • Degree or Certification
  • Proficiency in a Foreign Language
  • Machine Operation
  • Speed Typing
  • Cloud Computing
  • Licensing
  • Field of Study
  • Mobile and Web Development
Soft Skills or Interpersonal Skills

Soft skills are though less measurable and harder to quantify but equally important for managers.

Types of soft skills:
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Problem Solving
  • Listening
  • Work Ethic
  • Team-Building
  • Flexibility
  • Creativity
  • Motivation
  • Adaptability
  • Patience
  • Leadership Development
  • Time Management
  • Persuasion
  • Accountability
Why are soft skills important?

Though both hard and soft skills are extremely important, however, 57% of senior leaders today opinioned that soft skills are more important than hard skills. With soft skills employees effectively interact and connect with the people around them.

At Google, the hiring process is two-layered consists of what they call, “Learning and Emergent Leadership” abilities. In the first stage of getting a job at Google, they examine and review “Learning” abilities. This is where they look at technical and cognitive skills, which are known as hard skills. During the second stage of its hiring process, Google looks less for traditional leadership skills. What they really want to see are more “Emergent Leadership” skills.

Similarly, Apple, IBM and Bank of America, as well as Google, no longer require applicants to have a college degree.

8 Most in-demand Skills in 20’s
  • Time management
  • Communication
  • Business writing
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Leadership
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Data analytics
Time management

Time management” is the process of organizing and planning how to divide available time between specific activities. Good time management enables to work smarter – not harder – so that more can be done in less time. Failing to manage time damages effectiveness and causes stress.

Communication

On any list of desirable soft skills, communication is usually near the top. This doesn’t mean you need to be a brilliant narrator or a vivid wordsmith, but ability to communicate professionally and clearly to senior management, employees, customers and other stakeholders. Good communication skills ensure that ideas are understood. Proficient communication skills help you build strong relationships with your colleagues.

 

Business Writing

Managers writes on the job all the time; proposals to clients, memos to senior executives, a constant flow of emails to colleagues. Writing should be clear and as effective as possible. Good writing skills are not a gift to born with it’s a skill that can be cultivated. Think before you write. Be direct, short and precise

Creativity and Innovation

Creativity is the capability or act of conceiving something original or unusual. Innovation is the implementation of something new. Invention is the creation of something that has never been made before and is recognized as the product of some unique insight. Peter Drucker said, ‘Every organisation must prepare for the abandonment of everything it does.’ So the vision of innovation should not be restricted to products. If we look at companies like Dell, eBay and Amazon we see that their great innovations were with their business models rather than in new products.

Leadership

Leadership is another sought-after skill for managers. Some may argue that leadership is a hard skill, as there are certain technical aspects to being a good leader. However, leadership qualities are generally based on one’s personality, experience both in and outside of work and a personal philosophy, so this is also a soft skill. While different organizations need different types of leaders at various times, in general, leadership is important because companies need individuals who can not only motivate others, but also provide guidance and direction and implement strategic plans

Sales

Sales is a term used to describe the activities that lead to the selling of goods or services. Businesses have sales organizations that are broken up into different teams. Salespeople reach out to contacts that might be interested in purchasing the product or service that their company is selling. And the contacts that demonstrate interest (e.g., visiting the company website, downloading a piece of content, interacting with your company on social media).

The most important skill for selling is the ability to listen. These days, good salespeople say a lot less and listen a lot more. Listening is a skill that everyone can master. Other skills that can be used to build customer relationships are:

  • Questioning
  • Persuasiveness
  • Confidence
  • Motivation
  • Personal presentation.
Marketing Skills

Marketing refers to activities undertaken by a company to promote the buying or selling of a product or service. Marketing includes advertising, selling, and delivering products to consumers or other businesses. Some marketing is done by affiliates on behalf of a company.

Marketing as a discipline involves all the actions a company undertakes to draw in customers and maintain relationships with them. Networking with potential or past clients is part of the work too, including writing thank you emails, playing golf with a prospective client, returning calls and emails quickly, and meeting with clients. At its most basic, marketing seeks to match a company’s products and services to customers who want access to those products. The matching of product to customer ultimately ensures profitability. Marketing research is the function that links the consumer, customer, and public to the marketer through information. –information used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; generate, refine, and evaluate marketing actions; monitor marketing performance; and improve understanding of marketing as a process.

Data Analytics

As the process of analyzing raw data to find trends and answer questions, the definition of data analytics captures its broad scope of the field. However, it includes many techniques with many different goals. The data analytics process has some key components that are needed for any initiative. By combining these components, a successful data analytics initiative will provide a clear picture of where you are, where you have been and where you should go.

Data analysis is an internal organizational function performed by Data Analysts that is more than merely presenting numbers and figures to management. It requires a much more in-depth approach to recording, analysing and dissecting data, and presenting the findings in an easily-digestible format.

With a data analysis course you’ll be able to provide a company with decision-making insight into the following key areas:

  • Predict customer trends and behaviors
  • Analyze, interpret and deliver data in meaningful ways
  • Increase business productivity
  • Drive effective decision-making
The author, Mr. Nazir Ahmed Shaikh, is a freelance columnist. He is an academician by profession and writes articles on diversified topics. Currently he is associated with SZABIST as Registrar and could be reached at registrar@szabist.edu.pk.

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