Verbal communication and teamwork also top of list
A new study on skills in the workplace, commissioned by LMS provider Digits, has revealed the most important skills that workers expect from their managers. Of the 2,048 working-age adults polled, 51% of men and 45% of women agreed that leadership skills were the most important skills for managers.
Next on the list was verbal communication and teamwork, at 35%, followed by empathy at 30% and problem-solving at 29%. Written communication was at the bottom of the list at only 8%.
Just 10% of the respondents did not have any specific skill requirements for a manager.
Ranked by popularity, the most important skills needed by managers are:
- Leadership skills (48%)
- Verbal communication skills (35%)
- Teamwork skills (35%)
- Empathy (30%)
- Problem-solving skills (29%)
- A strong work ethic (21%)
- Good time management (18%)
- Conflict resolution (15%)
- Written communication skills (8%)
Leadership skills include a variety of skills, hard and soft, and the term can mean different things to different people.
Bradley Burgoyne, Head of Talent at Digits, believes that the core leadership skills of a manager include:
- Vision setting
- Empathy and listening
- Inclusive leadership
- Coaching skills
- Collaboration skills
When analysed by age, the survey results revealed that opinions on managerial attributes differed depending on where people were in their careers, with 56% of people over 55 believing that leadership skills were the most important, compared to only 28% of 16 to 24-year-olds.
Other important attributes across the age groups were:
- A strong work ethic is important to 25% of 16 to 24 year-olds
- Verbal communication skills are preferred by 36% of 24 to 34 year-olds and 44% of over-55s
- Teamwork skills are very important to 36% of those aged 35 to 54 years old
Burgoyne commented: “We’ve got more generations in the workforce today than we’ve ever had. And, each group of workers prefers slightly different managerial styles and leadership qualities.
“Every individual has their own expectations about how they want their managers to lead them, coach them, support them, relate to them, and empower them. Those skills don’t just happen, even the best managers need to receive regular training and development from their employers.”
“The challenge for HR and L&D teams is to ensure that their training strategy is broad enough to cater to all levels of employees in the organisation because, I think, everyone benefits from leadership or management development.
“It’s important that employers actively listen to their workforce and find out where the skills gaps are – what training do employees think they need? What training do employees think their managers need and what leadership qualities do they respond best to? They can then utilise the data to create training courses or a series of engaging development activities in their learning management system, that are really relevant to the people within the organisation rather than something that could, potentially, be seen as just a tick-box exercise.”