Skills Needed by Managers

Management skills can be defined as certain attributes or abilities that an executive should possess in order to fulfill specific tasks in an organization. They include the capacity to perform executive duties in an organization while avoiding crisis situations and promptly solving problems when they occur. Management skills can be developed through learning and practical experience as a manager. The skills help the manager to relate with their fellow co-workers and know how to deal well with their subordinates, which allows for the easy flow of activities in the organization.

Good management skills are vital for any organization to succeed and achieve its goals and objectives. A manager who fosters good management skills is able to propel the company’s mission and vision or business goals forward with fewer hurdles and objections from internal and external sources.

Management and leadership skills are often used interchangeably as they both involve planning, decision-making, problem-solving, communication, delegation, and time management. Good managers are almost always good leaders as well.

In addition to leading, a critical role of a manager is to also ensure that all parts of the organization are functioning cohesively. Without such integration, several issues can arise and failure is bound to happen. Management skills are crucial for various positions and at different levels of a company, from top leadership to intermediate supervisors to first-level managers.

Types of Management Skills

Technical Skills

This skill requires the ability to use special proficiency or expertise to perform particular tasks. Accountants, engineers, market researchers, and computer scientists, as examples, possess technical skills. Managers acquire these skills initially through formal education and then further develop them through training and job experience. Technical skills are most important at lower levels of management.

Conceptual Skills

This skill calls for the ability to think analytically. Analytical skills enable managers to break down problems into smaller parts, to see the relations among the parts, and to recognize the implications of anyone’s problem for others. As managers assume ever-higher responsibilities in organizations, they must deal with more ambiguous problems that have long-term consequences. Again, managers may acquire these skills initially through formal education and then further develop them through training and job experience. The higher the management level, the more important conceptual skills become.

Human or Interpersonal Skills

This skill demonstrates the ability to work well in cooperation with others. Human skills emerge in the workplace as a spirit of trust, enthusiasm, and genuine involvement in interpersonal relationships. A manager with good human skills has a high degree of self-awareness and a capacity to understand or empathize with the feelings of others. Some managers are naturally born with great human skills, while others improve their skills through classes or experience. No matter how human skills are acquired, they’re critical for all managers because of the highly interpersonal nature of managerial work.

Examples of Management Skills

There is a wide range of skills that management should possess to run an organization effectively and efficiently. The following are six essential management skills that any manager ought to possess for them to perform their duties

Planning

Planning is a vital aspect within an organization. It refers to one’s ability to organize activities in line with set guidelines while still remaining within the limits of the available resources such as time, money, and labor. It is also the process of formulating a set of actions or one or more strategies to pursue and achieve certain goals or objectives with the available resources.

The planning process includes identifying and setting achievable goals, developing necessary strategies, and outlining the tasks and schedules on how to achieve the set goals. Without a good plan, little can be achieved.

Communication

Possessing great communication skills is crucial for a manager. It can determine how well information is shared throughout a team, ensuring that the group acts as a unified workforce. How well a manager communicates with the rest of his/her team also determines how well outlined procedures can be followed, how well the tasks and activities can be completed, and thus, how successful an organization will be.

Communication involves the flow of information within the organization, whether formal or informal, verbal or written, vertical or horizontal, and it facilitates smooth functioning of the organization. Clearly established communication channels in an organization allow the manager to collaborate with the team, prevent conflicts, and resolve issues as they arise. A manager with good communication skills can relate well with the employees and thus, be able to achieve the company’s set goals and objectives easily.

Decision-making

Another vital management skill is decision-making. Managers make numerous decisions, whether knowingly or not, and making decisions is a key component in a manager’s success. Making proper and right decisions results in the success of the organization, while poor or bad decisions may lead to failure or poor performance.

For the organization to run effectively and smoothly, clear and right decisions should be made. A manager must be accountable for every decision that they make and also be willing to take responsibility for the results of their decisions. A good manager needs to possess great decision-making skills, as it often dictates his/her success in achieving organizational objectives.

Delegation

Delegation is another key management skill. Delegation is the act of passing on work-related tasks and/or authorities to other employees or subordinates. It involves the process of allowing your tasks or those of your employees to be reassigned or reallocated to other employees depending on current workloads. A manager with good delegation skills is able to effectively and efficiently reassign tasks and give authority to the right employees. When delegation is carried out effectively, it helps facilitate efficient task completion.

Delegation helps the manager to avoid wastage of time, optimizes productivity, and ensures responsibility and accountability on the part of employees. Every manager must have good delegation abilities to achieve optimal results and accomplish the required productivity results.

Problem-solving

Problem-solving is another essential skill. A good manager must have the ability to tackle and solve the frequent problems that can arise in a typical workday. Problem-solving in management involves identifying a certain problem or situation and then finding the best way to handle the problem and get the best solution. It is the ability to sort things out even when the prevailing conditions are not right.  When it is clear that a manager has great problem-solving skills, it differentiates him/her from the rest of the team and gives subordinates confidence in his/her managerial skills.

Motivating

The ability to motivate is another important skill in an organization. Motivation helps bring forth a desired behavior or response from the employees or certain stakeholders. There are numerous motivation tactics that managers can use, and choosing the right ones can depend on characteristics such as company and team culture, team personalities, and more. There are two primary types of motivation that a manager can use. These are intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

Although all three categories contain skills essential for managers, their relative importance tends to vary by level of managerial responsibility.

Following are some of the skills and personal characteristics that the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) is urging business schools to help their students develop.

Leadership

Ability to influence others to perform tasks

Self-Objectivity

Ability to evaluate yourself realistically

Analytic Thinking

Ability to interpret and explain patterns in information

Behavioral Flexibility

Ability to modify personal behavior to react objectively rather than subjectively to accomplish organizational goals

Oral Communication

Ability to express ideas clearly in words

Written Communication

Ability to express ideas clearly in writing

Personal Impact

Ability to create a good impression and instill confidence

Resistance to Stress 

Ability to perform under stressful conditions

Tolerance for Uncertainty

Ability to perform in ambiguous situations

Bottom Line

Management skills are a collection of abilities that include things such as business planning, decision-making, problem-solving, communication, delegation, and time management. While different roles and organizations require the use of various skill sets, management skills help a professional stand out and excel no matter what their level. In top management, these skills are essential to run an organization well and achieve desired business objectives.

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