Building effective leadership skills is a challenge every manager faces. Yet it's not always easy for them to identify ways to improve.
When focusing on their company's critical needs, leaders may lack the time or energy for personal development. Remote work only compounds the issue, as leaders must now balance their job and home life.
That's not to say there aren't opportunities for quick wins. In its 2019 People Management Report, the Predictive Index surveyed more than 1,000 employees on the top skill their manager lacks. Eighty percent of respondents agreed on five core competencies.
Here are the top five skills managers are missing:
1. Team building
According to the People Management Report, 28 percent of employees say team building is the skill their manager lacks most. Even some leaders considered "world-class" by their direct reports fall into this category.
Team building is the glue that holds your people together. Under enough pressure, even a high-performing team may buckle. Long before worst comes to worst, make sure you've done all you can to build cohesion within the team.
This starts with understanding your people's natural workplace habits. In times of stress, who likes to take charge? Who prefers to listen and implement? By encouraging this behavioral awareness, you help everyone play to their strengths and address any weaknesses.
2. Providing feedback
Another 17 percent of employees say their manager's biggest shortcoming is providing feedback. Many leaders may be hesitant to be critical, fearing it'll cause disengagement. But these feedback loops are essential to employee development.
Your feedback should be timely and specific. Wait too long to share a key recommendation, and your employee won't remember what it pertains to. Likewise, if you provide feedback that's too general, you deprive your employee of a chance to learn and grow.
Above all else, be honest yet supportive. That means celebrating your employees' successes while reframing missteps as constructive learning opportunities.
3. Time management
The third most popular response was time management (14 percent of employees). When leaders are ineffective with their time, it creates blockers for direct reports who need input from above to proceed. Suddenly, these individuals are now tied up, causing ripples even further down.
Effective time management requires awareness of yourself and others. Look at your calendar, and ask yourself how your workday may impact those under you. Map out when you'll be able to review critical tasks. Or revise the scope of your day to free yourself up.
Delegation is another top manager shortcoming cited by employees (11 percent). Like time management, delegation is a critical skill in ensuring all parts of a team flow smoothly.
If you're struggling with a task, you may be reluctant to pass it off to someone else. Perhaps you're worried about an employee's workload, or their ability to see the task through. In either case, simply holding onto it creates a bottleneck.
Delegation isn't something to shy away from; it's a tool you can use to put the right work in the right hands. If anything, this ensures your team works smarter, not harder.
Rounding out the list is communication, a skill 10 percent of employees say their manager lacks. An essential component of any employee-manager relationship, communication plays an even greater role in this new remote world.
If you're wondering whether your people could benefit from clearer communication, ask them! Make yourself available to answer questions and address concerns. According to the People Management Report, managers who hold more frequent one-on-one meetings are also better received.
By taking time to address one -- or more -- of these skills, you'll set yourself apart from the average manager. More important, you'll be giving your people more of what they need.