Have you ever known an excellent teacher, one whom everyone loved (students, parents, faculty), who communicated well, facilitated a well-managed classroom, and inspired students? Did that teacher get promoted to a managerial position with oversight of others? And was the transition surprisingly bumpy? Being a good manager requires a set of skills that often aren’t taught or practiced in other roles. We move people into managerial positions because they are good at what they do- and often do not recognize that they will be required to utilize a new skill set for which they are often unprepared.
With today’s changing social, demographic, and legal landscape, schools need leaders with highly developed management skills. Exceptional managers utilize a set of interpersonal, planning, and organizational skills in order to collaboratively and effectively fulfill their responsibilities. Many of these skills are not intuitive or needed in our daily lives, yet can be learned, practiced, and mastered. While these skills are difficult to discern when they are in place, you know when they aren’t there! Through experience, guidance, and research, we have identified eight competencies that we believe are critical for effective management. The majority of these skills are multi-layered and nuanced and take considerable practice to perfect. Nonetheless they can be developed and will enable anyone in a managerial position to be more effective and productive. We describe them briefly here with the hopes that new and emerging managers will further explore each of these topics in order to build upon their own strengths and improve their management practice.
Moving into a managerial position without supportive training can lead to frustration. Furthermore, tackling all of the eight core competencies at once can be overwhelming. We suggest managers address them one by one with each new step building upon the previous until you sense an increase in your skill set. Good managers are usually created, not born. Spending the time learning about and strengthening these eight essential competencies will enable any manager to be more effective, productive, responsive, and confident.