7 Green Manager skills

There are many skills that managers are recommended to learn, hone and master. Many recommendations are online here or here. These are often linked to organisation, coordination of a team and interpersonal skills to promote an idea and build the most efficient teams.

I will tell you the skills NEEDED to manage a green project, promote sustainable behaviours or work in a team within a social enterprise. Whether this is read by the founder of a social enterprise, a CSR manager or someone trying to do their best for the planet I believe this to be a good starter kit.

  1. Team player: There is nothing that was ever done by a single individual. You need to get your team and hierarchy’s buy-in into your ideas as well embrace collaboration. Engage with your team on work matters and others. Get to know them to foresee their motivations as this will help with every step of your project. Most importantly find their strength to build a diverse and strong team where people complement each other and can rely on someone else’s skills.
  2. Sell your idea: Sales skills are not valued enough! Any idea that is voiced is essentially a sales negotiation. Sales skills will allow you to convince to pursue your ideas. The ideas that are implemented are unfortunately not the best ones but the ones that survive the “selling your idea” process where sign off thought about stakeholders, shareholders, their pets and Robby the PA who would have to live with the new solution.
  3. Coordination: Finding a greener solution to an existing problem requires selling the idea to the ones signing it off and to the ones implementing it. In supply chain, you will also need to gather the right stakeholders whose vision is aligned to yours and who will walk the walk with you.
  4. Transparency: You are looking at transparency in your supply chain, be transparent too (duh). Speak up about the end goals you are aiming to achieve, you will collect friends along the way. You will also engage with the individuals who, like me, care about the WHY of your actions. We want to know the strategy not the next task, the true reason for the action and some perspective around it. A few months ago, I did an engagement piece around sustainability. I wanted my colleagues to care, truly that was my end goal. I wanted them to take action, to listen and get inspired from the existing wins and add their ideas to the pursue of greener logistics. I could have claimed it was just another engagement piece but, with the time put into it and my transparency on the end goal, I was able to gather even the most reluctant as they saw my personal interest in the matter.
  5. Creativity: Thinking outside the box is what allowed many to review their operations to think greener. The status quo is the issue. Innovation in the form of technology, different ways of working, design thinking all bring new solutions that can have green benefits. What is certain is that without really questioning the need for each step of your value chain you will not find the solution to your resource management or pollution issues.
  6. Accountability: Even activists make mistakes. They believe dams are a good solution then we find out they trap sediments, fauna and flora. Solar panels generate green energy but are hard to recycle. The main problem is the lack of action not that you haven’t found the best solution in your first trial. If a project you are working on turns out to be going downhill recognise the wrong, stop it while you can and reflect on the lessons from the adventure.
  7. Conflict management: They always arise more or less strongly in a project. They can be due to misaligned visions or expectations or different objectives set within a team. No matter where they come from, they need to be addresses before they are issues. There are many conflict management tools, find the one you relate to and adopt it.

These skills will bring the best out of your managerial style, your team as a whole and as individuals. They will bring together all stakeholders who want to pursue the objective with you.


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