The Skills Workers Say Managers Need To Improve Most

Employees Surveyed Find Communication and Diplomacy Often Lacking in Bosses

MENLO PARK, Calif., Feb. 16, 2017 -- Strong communication skills are necessary at every career stage, but especially for those in leadership positions. In a new study from Robert Half Management Resources, however, nearly one in three workers (30 percent) did not give their boss high marks in this area, reporting communication and diplomacy are where their managers most need improvement. Greater technical expertise (18 percent) and leadership (17 percent) ranked second and third, respectively, on professionals' wish lists.

View the results by age and gender.

Workers were asked, "Which skill do you think your manager needs to improve most?" Their responses:

Communication/diplomacy

30%

Technical expertise

18%

Leadership

17%

Strategic thinking

14%

Project management

8%

Other

14%

 

101%*

* Responses do not total 100 percent due to rounding

"At the managerial and executive levels, possessing technical skills is frequently less important than being a good leader and communicator," said Tim Hird, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources. "The greatest ideas go nowhere if a manager cannot express them effectively, gain consensus and build the work relationships necessary to execute them."

Hird added that interpersonal abilities and diplomacy play a role in how far someone advances professionally. "Leaders must be able to tailor their communication style to the individual and recognize what motivates each team member. Managers who excel at this achieve higher levels of employee engagement and productivity."

Robert Half Management Resources highlights five ways managers can assess and improve their communication skills:

  1. Request 360-degree feedback. Opinions from your manager, peers and employees are invaluable. Ask them about your strengths and weaknesses, their communication preferences, and how you can make it easier for them to come to you with questions or concerns. Not everyone will feel comfortable giving candid feedback, so consider gathering input anonymously.
  2. Find a role model. Think of a manager you admire who enjoys great rapport with his or her staff. What makes this person stand out? Observe how he or she interacts with others.
  3. Define your comfort zone – and go outside of it. If you struggle handling difficult conversations, ask a mentor or trusted colleague for pointers. If giving presentations is not your strong suit, take a public speaking class or join a group like Toastmasters.
  4. Practice active listening. In conversations, focus on what others are saying instead of formulating your next thought. Pause an extra second before jumping in to make sure you don't interrupt others.
  5. Be yourself. Don't try so hard to be a manager that you stop being an individual. Be honest and relatable, and show vulnerability from time to time. To err is human – your team wants to know that you are not perfect and don't expect them to be either.

About the Research

The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources and conducted by an independent research firm. It includes responses from more than 1,000 U.S. workers 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments.

About Robert Half Management Resources

Robert Half Management Resources is the premier provider of senior-level finance, accounting and business systems professionals for companies' project and interim staffing needs. Customizing its approach for each organization, Robert Half Management Resources can provide a single consultant, a financial team or full-service consulting services, delivered through Protiviti, a Robert Half subsidiary. With more than 140 locations worldwide, Robert Half Management Resources works with companies of all sizes, including more than half of the top 100 companies from the FORTUNE 500®. For more information, visit roberthalf.com/management-resources.

 

 

SOURCE Robert Half Management Resources


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