August  2016     Edition 126
T.O.P. skills of great managers and leaders

What makes a great manager or leader?

    There are thousands of books written about this subject.  Here’s my short view.

T.O.P. skills

, or TOP for short, stands for Thinking, Organization and People.  These are the pillars of skills required for managers and leaders.  People with depth and competency in these three skills have the basic raw material to become great managers and leaders.

Here are some details;


T is for Thinking

- This is a foundation skill.   You need to have good thinking skills to be a good manager, and great thinking skills to be a superb manager (or at the very least, surround yourself with people who have great thinking skills). In this category we find skills such as; Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, Decision Making, Communication, Strategy, and Planning. 

O is for Organization

- This is the category of skills that get things done.  It’s the organization of things, people and processes.  This includes; Project Management, Program Management, Meeting Management, Scheduling, Prioritization, Delegation, Skills Matching, Planning, Logistics, Sequencing and Balancing.   Of course, Organization requires Thinking too.

P is for People

- Things don’t get accomplished without people and as a supervisor, manager and leader, your skill in this enables you to obtain the best from a team.  People skills include; Communication, Listening, Empathy, Supporting, Feedback, Engagement Management, Empowerment, Encouraging, and Teams.   Of course, good people skills also include Organization and Thinking skills.

Can you be a great manager or leader without being great at all three?

  It’s hard to imagine a successful manager or leader who doesn’t have reasonably good Thinking and People skills.  Organization skills however, may not necessarily be at that same level provided you make sure you have someone on your team who has superb Organization skills and you empower them, and rely on them to fulfill this deficiency in you.   Many great managers and leaders are “big picture” folks, i.e. they leave the organizational details to others who have those skills.

The Takeaway;
   If you’re an inspiring supervisor, manager or leader, recognize your strengths and weaknesses in TOP.  While some people are inherently gifted with some or all of these skills, everyone can raise their competency in all of them, with training, mentoring, coaching, practice, and of course, teaming up and surrounding oneself with people who are particularly gifted in that category.

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