1. Basic management skills

What are Management Skills?

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

According to American social and organizational psychologist Robert Katz, the three basic types of management skills include:

1. Technical Skills

Technical skills involve skills that give the managers the ability and the knowledge to use a variety of techniques to achieve their objectives. These skills not only involve operating machines and software, production tools, and pieces of equipment but also the skills needed to boost sales, design different types of products and services, and market the services and the products.

2. Conceptual Skills

These involve the skills managers present in terms of the knowledge and ability for abstract thinking and formulating ideas. The manager is able to see an entire concept, analyze and diagnose a problem, and find creative solutions. This helps the manager to effectively predict hurdles their department or the business as a whole may face.

3. Human or Interpersonal Skills

The human or the interpersonal skills are the skills that present the managers’ ability to interact, work or relate effectively with people. These skills enable the managers to make use of human potential in the company and motivate the employees for better results.

Types of Management Skills (diagram)

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:

1. Planning

Planning is a vital aspect within an organization. Planning is 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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 re-assigned or re-allocated to other employees depending on current workloads. A manager with good delegation skills is able to effectively and efficiently re-assign tasks and give authority to the right employees. When delegation is carried out effectively, it helps facilitate quick and easy results.

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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

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 skillsets, 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.

Management is a topic that is as vast as the sky. When it comes to the skills that are required to become a good manager, the list may be endless.

In everyday life, we observe many people considering management as – whatever that needs to be done in order to keep a company afloat – but in reality, it is far more complicated than the common belief.

So let us get down to the most basic skills that need to be acquired, if one is to become a successful manager.

The ABC’s of Management

You will understand that management involves managing people and thereby, managing the output garnered in favor of the company. According to Dr. Ken Blanchard, in his famous book “Putting the One minute Manager to Work”, the ABC’s of management world are as below:

  • Activators – The type of strategy followed by a manager before his workforce sets on with performance.
  • Behaviors – How the workforce performs or behaves within the activity or situation as a result of activators or consequences.
  • Consequences – How the manager handles the workforce after the performance.

Research shows that although we may be inclined to think that an activator’s role brings about the most efficient behavior in a workforce, in effect; it is how managers handle the workforce after a particular behavior that influences future behavior or performance up to a great extent.

To quantify, activators’ base behavior contribution is calculated to make up for 15 to 25 percent of behavior, while 75-85 percent of the behavior is known to be influenced by consequences.

Therefore, it is crucial that we understand and develop the basic management skills that will help bring out expected outcomes from a workforce.

Problem Solving and Decision Making

This is where most managers either get stamped in to good or bad books. However, the type of decisions you make should not ideally make you a good or bad manager; rather how you make such decisions is what need to be the deciding factor.

You will need to know the basic ethics of problem solving and this should be thoroughly practiced in every occasion, even if the problem concerns you personally.

Unless otherwise, a manager becomes impartial and entirely professional, he/she may find it difficult to build a working relationship with co-workers in an organization.

Planning and Time Management

The last thing you would want your co-workers to think is that you get by your working hours, cuddled up in an office chair, enjoying light music while doing nothing! Planning and Time management is essential for any manager; however, it is even more important for them to realize why these two aspects are important.

Although you may be entitled to certain privileges as a manager, that does not necessarily mean you could slay time as you please.

Assuming responsibility to manage the time is important so that you could become the first to roll the die which will soon become a chain reaction within the organization.

Having said that, when you conduct yourself with efficiency, you will also end up portraying yourself as a role model for co-workers which may add a lot of value as you move along with management duties in the company.

Planning ahead of time for events and activities that you foresee in your radar and taking the necessary initiatives as well as precautions as you move along are undoubtedly, some of the main expectations from managers.

If you could adapt a methodical style at your workplace and adapt effective techniques to carry out your duties with the least hindrance, you will soon build the sacred skills of planning and time management.

Delegation

Having planned everything that lies ahead and having come up with a plan for time management, you may feel that you have got more than you could chew on your plate. This is where delegation should come into play.

Becoming a good manager does not mean carrying out every task by him/herself. Rather, it is about being able to delegate work effectively in order to complete the task on time.

Many managers mishandle delegation either because they do not have enough confidence in their co-workers and subordinates or because they do not master the techniques of delegation.

Therefore, the key for delegation would be to identify the individuals that are capable of carrying out the task, delegating the work with accurate instructions and providing enough moral support. Once the task is complete, you will get an opportunity to evaluate their performance and provide constructive feedback.

Communication Skills

Nothing could be ever accomplished in the world of a manager without him or her being able to accurately, precisely and positively communicate their instructions, suggestions or feedback to others.

Therefore, you should be extremely careful in picking out your words. A ‘Can-Do’ attitude is something that can be easily portrayed through your words.

When your communication bears a positive note, it will run across your audience almost contagiously.

Managing Yourself & Leading Others

No matter how much charisma you may have in your personality or how good your positive communication skills may be, a manager never fails to be the one to communicate all things whether good or bad.

In your managerial position, you are exposed to both the executive layer and the working layer of an organization which makes you the ham in the sandwich.

Therefore, you may find yourself squashing and thrilling in between when it comes to many decisions.

The number one rule in managing yourself is to realize that you are a professional, who is being paid for the designation that you bear in the company. If you remember this fact, you will always remember never to take any issue personally.

Always draw a line between your managerial persona and your actual persona. It is good to bond with co-workers at a personal level while maintaining a distance in your profession. Therefore, you will also be required to draw a line somewhere.

And most importantly, you will become the sponge that absorbs heat from the higher strata of the company and delivers the minimum heat and pressure to the lower strata. Therefore, you will need to practice a fair share of diplomacy in your role.