Leading Blog






07.06.21

Three Skills Managers Need in a Post-Pandemic World

Three Skills Managers Need

COVID undoubtedly disrupted our worlds, especially the way we work.

During the pandemic, not only did the concept of “office” shift dramatically but so did the needs and preferences of workers. Caught in the middle of all this were managers, the face of the organization to their teams.

Over the past 15 months, managers spent a considerable amount of effort mediating and negotiating on behalf of their teams to their business and from their business to their teams. Throughout the process, many managers expressed how unprepared they felt leading their teams virtually and taking care of their team’s whole-life needs, as well as being compassionate while reinforcing the need to focus on delivering business results.

As we continue to anticipate and prepare for a post-pandemic world, it’s safe to say that the working world, as we knew it, won’t return. It’s time to prepare for the skills managers need to develop in order to support both their teams and their business.

Here are the three skills managers need to focus on and develop right now:

#1. Virtual Presentation Skills. Even though Zoom fatigue is still real, virtual meetings aren’t going away. Virtual platforms will be a part of our workplace experience for the foreseeable future. Not only do managers need to grow more comfortable leveraging the technology, but they also need to learn how to present themselves and engage others while using it.

Pre-COVID, when a manager wasn’t skilled in running a meeting or delivering a presentation, they were given grace. Some of them could even overcome their lack of skill with humor. Now, in the virtual room, if a manager’s presentation skills aren’t where they need to be, it’s no laughing matter. The manager runs the risk of low engagement and loses assurance that the message they’re sending is being received.

Managers need to own responsibility for:

  • Telling better stories with their data
  • Using features in the technology to increase engagement
  • Enhancing their visual impact (like their backgrounds, to include lighting)
  • Being more comfortable with limited audience feedback (such as silence)
  • Creating a team environment with the tools available
  • Presenting to a live audience on-site and a virtual group at the same time

#2. Advocating. If COVID taught us anything, it’s that our team members are unique and have very personal, very real challenges related to being able to perform to their fullest potential at work. They also have goals for themselves, personally and professionally. Many desire to make changes in their lives to maintain the positive aspects and benefits of working during COVID, such as increased family time, more time to focus on their wellness, and the savings gained from not commuting to work.

Managers realize that being flexible throughout COVID was their key to retention. In order to ensure retention and engagement, they need a framework to understand how to advocate and negotiate on behalf of their teammates, as well as an understanding of how to discern which employee requests should be taken into consideration and which ones should be renegotiated to better accommodate the business’s needs.

As managers are often the go-to person for both the business and the employee, they can get caught between conflicting priorities. A skilled manager knows how to handle these issues with deftness, as well as how to bring creativity into the scenario in an attempt to create win-wins.

#3. Leading in a Virtual World. As many businesses are embracing workplace flexibility, it’s certain that a hybrid working world will be the reality most workers encounter for the rest of their careers. Managing and leading in-person is easier when you’re available for pop-ins, can oversee directly work product, and can give real-time feedback.

Leading in a virtual world requires intentional interaction. Team members and their managers must force time to engage and collaborate, and both need to be willing to keep coordinated time on their calendar for such engagement.

It’s on the manager to make sure their rhythm allows for multiple types of conversations:

  • One-on-ones to discuss updates on projects
  • Feedback as it needs to happen
  • Informal and formal feedback sessions to discuss overall performance objectives
  • Career development conversations
  • Agenda-free conversations – check-ins to inquire on the overall well-being of their employees

Managers need to be structured, proactive, and disciplined to have this necessary – and high level of engagement.

These three skills have long been valuable for managers; in a post-COVID world, their interpretation and implementation have taken on a new twist. Yet, these skills are possible for any manager, at any level, to embrace, develop, and express.

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Leading Forum
Angie Morgan is an executive coach who works with high-performing leaders to help them achieve next-level results. After her service in the Marine Corps, she co-created the leadership development firm Lead Star and co-wrote the New York Times best-selling books SPARK and Leading from the Front: No-Excuse Leadership Tactics for Women. Her third book, Bet on You: How Leaders Win with Risk, will be out in spring 2022.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:07 AM
| Comments (0) | This post is about General Business



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