Do You Have the Soft Skills it Takes to Be an Effective People Manager?

Today’s world of work is ever-changing. As a people manager, it can be difficult to find time to keep up with trends and technology to move your organization forward, while also ensuring you’re developing your people for greater success and engagement. It comes as no surprise that for many managers, training isn’t a priority. Most days are simply about keeping your head above water. Despite the fact that 83% of businesses agree that it’s important to develop leaders at all levels, less than 5% of companies have actually implemented any training. In fact, up to 60% of managers who oversee team members haven’t received any training at all.

To be a good leader and manager, sometimes you have to take things into your own hands. To manifest a future that you envision for yourself, the key is to develop soft skills that are applicable to any leadership role. Skills that will allow you to connect, communicate, and empower others.

Where do you begin? Today we’ll share a few ideas.

Top 3 Soft Skills to Develop as a People Manager

Managers that have strong soft skills are able to boost their team’s productivity by up to 30%. That is huge for both the organization, and your own career. So, in addition to focusing on development and goals for your team, it’s important to invest in the same for yourself. These are a few of the necessary soft skills to become a great leader and people manager:


Not every team member is going to have a good day. Each individual on your team learns differently and at a different pace. Everyone comes from diverse backgrounds with different values. For these reasons and many more, it’s important to be an empathetic leader with high emotional intelligence. You need to meet the needs of each unique individual in order to manage effectively.

While this may come naturally for some leaders, for others, it must be learned. How do you do this? Jamil Zaki, psychology professor at Stanford University, gave a powerful TED Talk which breaks down five different ways. He discusses changing the way you approach digital interactions and simple acts of kindness, among others. In addition, we highly recommend a weekly check-in with your team members. During these meetings, talk to them about things other than work. Get to know them, learn about their families and cultures, and create a deeper personal relationship. This will help you grow leaps and bounds as an empathetic leader!


The world we live in is rapidly changing. A lack of creativity and innovation will get you left behind. As a manager, you should encourage ingenuity and champion resourceful, adaptive solutions for challenging problems. A McKinsey study found that businesses with creative leaders had 70% above-average return to shareholders and 67% had above-average organic revenue growth. Those firms who weren’t as creative were much less likely to achieve above-average financial results.

Creativity manifests itself in the form of effective marketing campaigns, more product launches, innovative services, and more.


It’s important to think about communication in different ways. It’s not just about effectively and clearly expressing your own thoughts, opinions, decisions, and goals–perhaps more important is what you don’t say. What do we mean by that? The key to effective communication for a manager is active listening. Listening more and talking less will allow you to truly connect with your team and gather important actionable information from those who are in the thick of your business.

A few things you can do to improve your active listening include repeating key terms and ideas back to them to assure them of your full understanding, asking probing questions which will then prompt greater feedback, and turning your phone off to give your team your undivided attention.
Consider building these other skills to be a better people manager:
  • Patience
  • Optimism
  • Decision-Making
  • Accountability
  • Confidence
  • Trustworthiness
  • Service Orientation
  • Time Management Skills
  • And the list goes on…

The more soft skills you build, the more success you will see. You’ll be able to reach your own personal career goals, while also investing in and elevating your most important asset—your people!

People Managers Need Mentors Too. NimblyWise Can Help.

As a people manager, you pour your heart into your team daily and might neglect replenishing yourself–to your own detriment. You deserve mentorship and guidance to grow, excel, and succeed in your career too. NimblyWise’s programs are uniquely designed to help managers at all levels identify their strengths, as well as their skills gaps. From there, you receive personalized coaching and action plans to learn, implement, and grow both personally and professionally. Want to learn more? Let’s chat.