Business Acumen Skills for Managers & Leaders
Why is it important for managers and leaders to have business acumen?
One is, they're communicating and interacting with senior leaders who have business acumen. They have a language that they use to talk about the strategy and financial performance of the company and they've got to be able to speak that language. But they also are interacting down to their teams who are running more of the tactical functional kind of realities of the team. And they've got to be able to translate where the executives are wanting the business going, down to the practical tactical level. So as a manager to have the fluency up, down and across is vital, to be able to be effective as a leader, to try to drive the business forward. When their team members come to them with a business idea having the manager kind of shape a little bit of the:
- What is the value to the business?
- What does this do to generate more sales for us?
- What will this do to help us operate more efficiently?
- How does this align to the direction of the company?
As a manager, you can help coach the thinking of an idea and translate it over to where the company is going. Another thing that the manager should probably do is help the team be attentive to how the company is actually doing right now. Many publicly traded companies are releasing their performance every quarter and having a manager educate their teams on 'how do you listen for the language of where the company is going and how it's performing?' and then do the heavy lifting of translation from where the company's going and how the team members contribute to that. And you as a manager can be a linkage point between where the company is going and what the teams are doing day in and day out. And if you can do that translation well, it can start to bring more meaning to the team members' day-to-day responsibilities and see how they contribute to that bigger picture.
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