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6 critical skills for new managers

Posted in Articles
new manager training

Whether promoted internally or hired externally, employees transitioning to management are met with new challenges, new responsibilities, new relationships and, most importantly new skills. Although there is an unmistakable need for quality training, when it comes to developing the soft skills that are crucial for leaders, new managers are some of the most neglected individuals in business (1). Many companies are just not focused on training the individuals who are meant to be leading their teams. Lack of soft skills training means many managers are not set up for success in their roles with 60% of new managers underperforming in their first two years on the job (2). Investing in soft skills training of new managers is not just crucial to the success of these leaders but of their teams and the organisation as a whole. Great leaders aren’t born, they’re made and here are 6 essential soft skills that new managers should be trained on.  


Good communication is the backbone of any professional relationship between leaders and teams. Yet, many new managers don’t possess these fundamental communication skills required to successfully lead a team. According to a survey conducted by Interact, 69% of new managers are uncomfortable communicating with employees (3).

Get new managers comfortable with communication with our eBook ‘Communication Skills’.

Get up to date with all things teamwork with our weekly newsletter #TeamworkTuesday.

Team management

For most employees, their transition to new manager is the first time in a position that requires them to lead and inspire a group of individuals to work towards a common goal. Without training in soft skills that aid in successful team management such as delegation, teambuilding, goal-setting, and organisational management, new managers will be underprepared and overwhelmed.

Turn new managers into leaders with our eBook ‘Team Management & Coaching’.

Conflict resolution

When it comes to teamwork, conflict is inevitable and rather than avoiding it, team managers should be set up with the skills that prepare them to actively resolve conflict. Conflict resolution requires emotional intelligence, empathy, and the confidence to make difficult decisions and when companies provide new managers with the right tools to improve their skills in these areas, they will not only see a decrease in workplace friction but improved teamwork, productivity, and better communication.

Get managers prepared to actively resolve conflict with our eBook ‘Conflict, Discipline & Grievance’. 

Creative problem-solving

Small problems most often lead to conflict because those in charge were unable to come up with a workable solution. Creative problem solving, an in-demand skill for all managers, requires training in skills such as decision making, collaboration, conflict analysis, and emotional intelligence.

New managers will learn to come up with workable solutions to conflict with our eBook ‘Creative Problem Solving’.

Active listening

Moving from employee to leader means that in many cases new managers will have individuals reporting to them for possibly the first time. Without the preparation and training on how to manage this new responsibility, new managers will not be armed with the knowledge of how to actively listen to the concerns, questions, ideas, and suggestions their team members are trying to convey.

Make sure your employees are heard by downloading our eBook ‘What is Active Listening?’

Difficult conversations

Difficult conversations, specifically surrounding feedback on employees’ performances are a challenging but inevitable part of every manager’s responsibilities. Yet, due to lack of experience and soft skills training, 37% of new managers are uncomfortable having to give direct feedback about their employees’ performance if they think the employee might respond negatively to the feedback (4).

Get new managers experienced with all communication by downloading our eBook ‘Navigating Conversations in the Workplace’.

Good management cannot happen without investment of time and money. If companies are looking for inspiring leaders to lead their teams to success, they shouldn’t overlook the importance of the right soft skills through theoretical and practical training.

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Thomas Buus Madsen is the COO and co-founder of Bookboon – the World’s most used eLibrary for Corporate Learning. By making its soft skills eLibrary incredibly easy to use and only publishing industry-leading experts, Bookboon boasts some of the highest usage rates in the digital learning sector.