The COVID-19 outbreak has introduced many unique challenges in the business environment.
Practically overnight, organizations were faced with multiple challenges:
- Remote working.
- Financial uncertainty.
- Concerned employees.
- A shifting economic landscape.
- A need to implement brand new ways of working.
And all of these challenges combined have had a significant impact on the role of the business manager.
To ensure business continuity in challenging times, business managers need to adapt.
They have to ensure they know the talent, the characteristics, and the niche skill sets needed to navigate the future of business.
To survive and thrive in the post-pandemic environment, business managers must develop these 9 essential traits.
- A Commitment to Self Improvement
- A Versatile Communication Style
- A People-Centric Way of Working
- A Global Approach
- A Strong Focus
- An Ability to Adapt
- A Desire to Change
- A Need to be Proactive
- Be A Good Mentor
1. A Commitment to Self Improvement
A critical trait for business managers, in general, is being open to building and developing new skills.
In the post-pandemic era, that will be even more crucial considering the challenges mentioned earlier.
One of the main pain points of business managers in 2021 is surely going to be how to maintain a successful workforce. The biggest challenge is put in front of those managers whose organization has shifted to remote working or hybrid working solutions.
To ensure their employees’ productivity, business managers must consider how their management style could be adapted to support employees through times of change and disruption.
There are several ways that business managers can actively work on self-improvement:
- Online resources, such as articles and blog posts that introduce new management methods.
- MBA programs that allow managers to hone their existing business.
- Listening exercises that help managers to understand better what their team needs.
- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help to break the stress.
- Learn how to delegate tasks.
- Work on their time management skills to increase productivity.
Managers must give themselves the tools they need to support and manage their teams properly.
2. A Versatile Communication Style
It’s often said that there are four different types of business communications:
- Analytical — communication focused on data, facts, and figures
- Intuitive — communication that reads between the lines
- Functional — communication that gets straight to the point
- Personal — communication that is based on emotion
Every manager has their preference. But in 2021, managers may have to shift their style in light of the changes the pandemic has introduced. Remote working, for example, means that managers will need to communicate virtually with their team.
And without body language — which plays a big role in communications everywhere – managers will need to be more versatile in their communication style. They may need to combine approaches, or they may need to switch between them to ensure they are getting the message across clearly.
Few things can help you in sending the right message no matter which communication style you are using:
- Be clear and concise.
- Be positive and constructive.
- Use all available channels.
- Ask for feedback.
An ability to use proper communication in your workplace will help managers communicate effectively during change.
3. A People-Centric Way of Working
Business managers today shouldn’t be results-driven. They should be experience-driven.
While results are still important if a business doesn’t have engaged people, what does it have?
Employee uncertainty has been – and continues to be — a big concern. Employees may feel nervous about the future of their role or the future of the company. Or they may lack the confidence to work in new ways.
An important trait for managers to have is building a new, people-centric way of working. This means putting the workforce at the heart of everything and working to build, develop, and maintain a strong and resilient team that has what it takes to adapt to change.
Putting employees first could mean:
- Introducing new technologies that make the day-to-day working life easier.
- Improving processes so that work can be carried out more efficiently and effectively.
- Automating some of the more predictable tasks to free up valuable time.
- Ensuring there is excellent support in place for both mental health and emotional wellbeing.
Here are the main benefits of a people-centric workplace:
- When your employees are happy and thriving, your productivity will too.
- Satisfied employees will want to contribute more to your organization.
- A positive approach to work will result in delighted customers and more revenue.
Ultimately, listening and recognizing the needs of employees will help to drive improved results.
4. A Global Approach
Now that businesses are using more digital technologies, they can easily engage with clients and customers across the world. And so, to succeed in 2021 and the future, business managers must be able to shift from localized business to international business on a truly global scale.
The business manager of tomorrow must understand the skills needed to conduct business across borders – or be willing to learn.
Critical skills for international business include:
- A ‘big picture’ approach, looking at a business beyond local limitations.
- Innovative thinking to design new strategies for new markets.
- An awareness of the importance of cultural differences and how this affects messaging.
A global approach can help the business during challenging times. But it can help managers, too. It’s all part of self-improvement, opening up doors to new career opportunities in the future.
5. A Strong Focus
In addition to the challenges already discussed, the pandemic has also introduced concerns such as:
- Leading and managing hybrids teams of both on-site and remote workers.
- The need to adapt processes based on changing customer behaviors.
- Identifying new COVID-secure opportunities for growth and development.
It’s not surprising that many managers are already finding that they are busier than ever. And with so much going on, a critical trait to have is the desire to develop a strong focus.
A strong focus will enable managers to adapt to the new business landscape and overcome challenges without losing sight of the core business and the underlying aims, goals, and missions.
Some good ways to develop a strong focus at work include:
- Organizing similar tasks into the same category, so one area can be focused on at a time.
- Planning the workday so that there’s no need flit from task to task.
- Developing a flexible, agile approach that can be adapted without losing sight of results.
An ability to focus on exactly what’s needed, when it’s needed, can minimize errors and improve oversight.
6. An Ability to Adapt
One of the most important things to remember is that, even with a strong focus, business managers are unlikely to succeed in 2021 by doing everything alone.
The vulnerable and ever-changing nature of the new business landscape means that they’re really going to need help from their teams to drive success. So giving teams what they need so that they’re able to offer managers this support is essential.
Successful managers in 2021 will possess the ability to change how they work to boost team productivity.
Business managers need to start looking at ways to adapt to how they work better to meet tomorrow’s workforce’s new needs.
So what do tomorrow’s teams need?
If teams are working remotely, then they’re going to need:
- The freedom and trust to conduct their tasks without being distracted by manager check-ins.
- The technology that enables them to work smoothly and reduce sticking points.
- The feeling that they are a part of something bigger than just themselves and their tasks.
When teams have these things, they can work more efficiently and effectively and support managers to achieve goals.
7. A Desire to Change
It’s one thing to understand the need to change. It’s another to have the desire to change.
Especially for business managers who may have been in the game for some time, it can be difficult to move away from those tried-and-tested practices that have got them to where they are today.
Why is a desire to change important?
Because teams aren’t always going to like what’s happening. To get them onboard, business managers must lead by example. They must be OK with change if they want their teams to be OK with change.
By possessing an ability to adapt and a desire to change, managers can act as real-life proof of the benefits of implementing new ways of working.
Leaders with strong adaptability skills are prone to be more successful because they:
- See failure as a chance to improve.
- Are creative, resilient, and always ready to respond to a challenge.
- Are willing to take risks and deal with the consequences.
- Handle new work processes and technology efficiently.
- Are open to a different point of view.
Having the confidence to be implementers and advocators of change is essential in developing an organization powered by people committed to achieving great things.
8. A Need to be Proactive
The COVID-19 crisis highlighted just how unprepared businesses were for managing disruption and uncertainty. In 2021 and beyond, businesses must be better prepared for any eventuality, and managers must embody a need to take a proactive approach to success.
Previously, a reactive approach has been enough to keep organizations afloat; they’ve experienced challenges, created solutions, and implemented these solutions as and when needed.
Now, that isn’t enough. Business managers have seen the costs of not being prepared, and to succeed in a world where we now know what’s possible, managers need to anticipate issues before they arise.
How to become more proactive?
- Plan ahead — set your six-months or 12-months goals and plan how you will achieve them.
- Analyze and optimize — do it with your business process and marketing efforts – if there is something you can improve, do it.
- Anticipate problems — ask yourself about the potential risks that the future carries and be prepared to respond.
Rather than sitting around and waiting for things to happen, business managers must consistently look beyond the business to remain at the forefront of industry-wide trends and changes.
They must also have the confidence to identify potential sticking points and future obstacles and effectively address these situations before they harm the operations. Being proactive will be key to navigating uncertainty during the global economic recovery.
9. Be A Good Mentor
Even though business managers’ main focus is productivity and revenue, they also need to know how to share their knowledge and experience.
Mentoring skills are crucial when onboarding new employees or advising existing staff on organizational changes and implementing new procedures.
To be a good mentor, you have to:
- Take a strategic approach to mentorship — identify your goals and the time you need to achieve them.
- Be consistent — create a schedule for providing regular feedback.
- Be positive — offer help and encouragement to new employees during their onboarding process.
Mentoring and onboarding skills are crucial assets for any highly successful organization. As a business manager, you will benefit from investing in quality mentorship in multiple ways.
To name a few main benefits of mentorship:
- Increases employee retention.
- Increases productivity.
- Creates the next generation of leaders in your company.
- Allows you to get a different perspective on the problems and challenges of your organization.
- Builds long-lasting relationships.
Mentorship can be time-consuming, but in the long run, it is worth it. A business manager that recognizes the value and importance of mentorship will be more successful than one who doesn’t.
Developing New Traits & Skills
Some business managers will possess these traits inherently. Others won’t. But that’s OK.
These traits don’t have to be embodied naturally; they can be built and developed through highly focused coaching and training opportunities designed to enhance tomorrow’s business leaders’ skills.
The most important factor right now is for business managers – and business managers in training – to understand that the skills and traits that have generated success so far are not the skills and traits that will generate success in the future.
Knowing this, and being willing to change now to succeed tomorrow, is exactly what will differentiate the winners from the losers in the post-pandemic environment.