Identifying Required Managerial Skills

Management skills are important for many different positions, at many levels of a company, from the top leadership to intermediate supervisors.

Management skills overlap with leadership skills, as both involve problem-solving, decision-making, planning, delegation, communication, and time management. Good managers are often good leaders. And yet the two roles are distinct.

In general, management is about organization. There may be something mechanical about it, not in the negative sense of a “mechanical performance,” but rather in its focus on the technical “how” of accomplishing tasks. Leaders, in contrast, focus on the “why,” motivating and inspiring their subordinates. Leadership is about people. Not all leaders have the skill set to be managers, and not all managers have the skills to be leaders.

The critical role of a manager is to ensure that a company’s many moving parts are all working properly together. Without this integration, problems can arise and issues can “fall through the cracks.”

Any inexperienced manager is likely to have misconceptions about what managers really do. As these managers struggle to figure out their new role, their misconceptions can lead to costly mistakes that may affect their careers and the organization. A good way to begin finding out what managers really do is to dispel some popular myths about the role and replace them with truths.

New managers tend to think “I’ll use the same skills I used as an individual contributor.” This is the first common myth to dispel about the management role. The truth is the skills required to be successful as a manager are very different from the skills required to be successful as an individual contributor. For example, you’ll need excellent people skills. Because it’s your job to help others succeed, people skills become particularly vital in a managerial role.

Your success as an individual is no longer the objective of your hard work – achieving results through others is. And working through others to get results will require excellent people skills such as communicating, negotiating, motivating, and coaching. Your success will be gauged by how well your group achieves its objectives, how much you’ve helped your direct reports sharpen their skills and manage tasks effectively, and how well your group’s achievements support organizational objectives and strategies.

Organizing skills such as planning work, assigning appropriate individuals to tasks, and acquiring resources are also important. And so are leadership skills, such as determining the vision, goals, and objectives for your team and creating an environment in which the team can thrive. Moving from an individual contributor to a management position isn’t just a move further up the corporate path – it’s more like taking an entirely new path that calls for new skills, perspectives, and responsibilities.

Most management skills are related to five basic, fundamental functions: planning, organizing, coordinating, directing, and oversight.


Individual managers may or may not be personally involved in drafting company policy and strategy, but even those who aren’t still must be able to plan. You might be given certain objectives and then be responsible for developing ways to meet those objectives. You may need to adjust someone else’s plan to new circumstances. In either case, you’ll have to understand what your resources are, develop time tables and budgets, and assign tasks and areas of responsibility.

Relevant Skills: Analyzing Business Problems, Analyzing Expenditures, Critical Thinking, Devising Plans for New Business, Development, Entrepreneurialism, Identifying the Interests and Preferences of Stakeholders, Microsoft Office, Proposing Solutions to Business Problems, Research, Qualitative Skills, Strategic Planning, Strategic Thinking, Tapping Information Technology to Facilitate Decision Making, Writing Proposals for Business Initiatives or Projects, Vision.


Organizing generally means creating structures to support or accomplish a plan. This might involve creating a new system of who reports to whom, designing a new layout for the office, or building strategy and planning around how to move through a project, how to move toward deadlines, and how to measure milestones.

Aspects of organization could also mean helping leaders under your guidance manage their subordinates well. Organization is about planning and foresight, and requires an ability to comprehend the big picture.

Relevant Skills: Accuracy,  Administrative, Analytical Ability, Assessing Factors Impacting Productivity, Business Storytelling, Framing Communication Toward Specific Audiences, Innovation, Logical Thinking, Logistics, Negotiating, Networking, Persuasion, Presentation, Public Speaking, Suggesting Ways to Enhance Productivity, Technical Knowledge, Technology.


Managers must know what is happening, what needs to happen, and who and what are available to accomplish assigned tasks. If someone is miscommunicating, if someone needs help, if a problem is being overlooked or a resource underutilized, a manager needs to notice and correct the issue. Coordinating is the skill that lets the organization act as a unified whole.

Relevant Skills: Adaptability, Adapting to Changing Business Conditions, Building Productive Relationships, Collaboration, Communication, Drawing Consensus, Diplomacy, Emotional Intelligence, Empathy, Facilitating Group Discussions, Flexibility, Honesty, Influencing, Listening, Nonverbal Communication, Patience, Punctuality, Relationship Building, Scheduling, Screening Applicants for Jobs, Staffing, Tactfulness, Teaching, Team Building, Team Manager, Team Player, Teamwork, Time Management.


Directing is the part where you take charge and tell people what to do, otherwise known as delegating, giving orders, and making decisions. Someone has to do it, and that someone could be you.

Relevant Skills: Assertiveness, Conflict Management, Conflict Resolution, Decision Making, Delegation, Delivering Presentations, Division of Work, Empowerment, Engagement, Execution, Focus, Goal Orientation, Goal Setting, Interacting with Individuals from Diverse Backgrounds, Interpersonal, Leadership, Motivation, Obstacle Removal, Productivity, Problem Solving, Professionalism, Providing Constructive Criticism, Recommending Cost Cutting Measures, Recommending Process Improvements, Responding Favorably to Criticism, Responsibility, Sales Direction, Uncertainty Removal, Verbal Communication.


Oversight means keeping track of what’s going on and setting right anything that gets out of place. It might include anything from reviewing business models and checking for inefficiencies to checking to make sure a project is on time and on budget. Oversight is the maintenance phase of management.

Relevant Skills: Achieving Goals, Assessing Progress Towards Departmental Goals, Budget Management, Business Management, Creating Budgets for Business Units, Creating Financial Reports, Evaluating Job Candidates, Evaluating Employee Performance, Financial Management, Generating Financial Reports, Hiring, Interpreting Financial Data, Interpreting Legal Statutes that Apply to Business, Interviewing Candidates for Jobs, Product Management, Project Management, Process Management, Recruiting Talent, Success, Training Employees, Writing Reports on Business Activity, Understanding Financial Statements.

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