Managerial skills: 10 crucial skills to build

Managerial skills: 10 crucial skills to build

The role of the manager is crucial in an organisation. It involves planning, organising, staffing, leading and controlling. All these functions are essential for running an organisation smoothly and achieving the organisations objectives. According to the Harvard Business Review, today, there is a need for managers to move from: \"directive to instructive, restrictive to expansive, exclusive to inclusive, repetitive to innovative, problem solving to challenging, and employer to entrepreneur\" to deal effectively with todays challenges. The ability of a manager to use resources to achieve business objectives will determine an organisations success.

Role of a Manager

Every managers role is different, yet they all rely on collaborating with and through others. A managers job is to get things done by directing other peoples efforts. The Cambridge English dictionary defines a manager as someone responsible for managing an organisation. Management entails all actions and tasks undertaken for achieving organisational goals through planning, organising, leading, and controlling.


Management can be classified into the top-level, middle level, and lower level:

  • Top-level - This is the top leadership, e.g. CEOs and directors, their role involves coming with strategic goals and plans, setting the strategic tone for the entire organisation. These level leadership skills are very vital at this level.
  • Middle Level – This level is also known as the tactical level. At this level, the main thrust is implementing and interpreting plans. It also involves developing tactical plans.
  • Lower Level - This is the supervisory or operational level. At this level, the main focus is ensuring the full implementation of plans.


Functions of a Manager


The following are the critical four functions of management that enable managers to achieve the organisations goals and objectives:


1. Planning Function

To meet the organisations goals and objectives, they need to plan. The first step is establishing the organisations goals and deciding on the plan on how to achieve them. The planning function also involves delegating responsibilities to subordinates and setting appropriate timelines for the completion of tasks. Another important aspect of planning is the feasibility assessments. As a manager, you need to determine whether the resources they have are adequate to achieve the set goals. Planning is categorized into three categories which are strategic, tactical, and operational planning:

  • Strategic Planning- normally carried out by upper management. This is long-term planning, and the plans can even be for up to three years. At the strategic level, tools like SWOT and Porters 5 forces are used to assess the organisations position in the market. It sets the direction in which the entire organisation is to navigate.
  • Tactical planning- carried out by middle-level managers. It has a shorter length than strategic plans, often one year. It concentrates on the department and its objectives. Tactical plans, in essence, break down a long-term strategic plan into smaller, more specific short-term objectives. It lays up how objectives will be met through activities and steps.
  • Operational planning- focuses on how to use tactical planning to achieve strategic plannings goals and strategies. It leads to the formulation of a schedule for reaching stated objectives.
  • Operational planning is typically accomplished through regular meetings, such as weekly meetings.


2. Organising Function

The organising function of management is concerned with providing a productive working environment. For the organisations success, this entails building internal structures and processes. Managers must recognise which personnel are most suited for certain duties and give assignments accordingly. Organising creates defined working connections inside an organisation, which leads to the formation of an organisational structure. The organisations smooth operations are ensured by this clear and graphic portrayal of hierarchies and duties.


3. Leading Function



Motivating subordinates, resolving problems, serving as a role model, and recognising the needs of employees are all examples of leadership. When dealing with subordinates, interpersonal skills are a vital aspect of leadership. For subordinates to feel at ease at work, a leader must be approachable. Various leadership styles can be incorporated into management. These are Directing, Coaching, Delegating and Supporting.


4. Controlling Function

It entails keeping track of factors like performance, work quality, and so forth. Organisations must guarantee that an ideal or optimal span of control is in place for successful control. Controlling ensures that objectives are attained and that necessary modifications are made. Budget and staffing modifications are two examples of changes that may be implemented. If a department is understaffed, it may be necessary to acquire additional people to accomplish the goals.


However, the above is not the only function of management. In his paper The Managers Job: Folklore and Fact, Henry Mintzberg presents a few instances that demonstrate that management is not always fixed in the duties mentioned above. Its always crucial to remember that the management functions are fundamental principles for all managers, but they should not be limited to these categories alone.


What makes a good manager?

Being a manager is difficult, but being a great one is much more difficult. Managers should know between 90 and 120 unique abilities, according to authors James Manktelow and Julian Birkinshaw. Management skills are characteristics or talents that an executive should have to do various jobs in a company. They include the ability to carry out executive functions in an organisation while avoiding crises and quickly resolving difficulties when they arise. Learning and practical experience as a manager can help you build your management abilities.


According to a survey conducted by Manketlow and Birkinshaw cited in an article by the SHRM, they surveyed 15,242 managers worldwide to identify the most critical competencies. The following were identified as the highest-ranking skills required for one to be an effective manager:


1. Building good working relationships with people at all levels

According to the survey, developing positive connections with employees at all levels is the most crucial managerial talent. For example, one strategy to relationship development discussed in the book focuses on respectful involvement to create \"high-quality connections.\"


2. Prioritising tasks effectively for yourself and your team

79.5% of managers surveyed indicated that prioritisation is the second most essential management skill. \"We all have a vast list of things we want to accomplish or have to do,\" adds Birkinshaw. \"To ourselves and the rest of our staff, the expectations might be daunting at times.


3. Considering many factors in decision-making

Decisions made in a hurry or based only on financial considerations can be disastrous. It is important to utilise a formal, organised method when analysing a situation, including risk analysis and ethical concerns. A notable example is the ORAPAPA framework, which stands for Opportunities, Risks, Alternatives and Improvements, Past Experience, Analysis, People, Alignment, and Ethics.


4. Knowing the key principles of good communication

When working and leading people, clear communication is key. Managers can make use of the 7 Cs of Communication—clear, concise, concrete, correct, coherent, complete, and courteous.


5. Understanding the needs of different stakeholders and communicating with them appropriately

When managing big projects, it is important to manage different groups of people who can either support or undermine the work you do. As a manager, it is important to develop good stakeholder analysis and stakeholder management skills.


6. Bringing people together to solve problems

Gathering people for brainstorming sessions is a good start. Still, understand structured problem-solving processes, know how to facilitate meetings effectively, and be skilled in managing group dynamics.


7. Developing new ideas to solve customers problems

Design thinking and ethnographic research may aid in the development of highly gratifying goods, while customer experience mapping can aid in the delivery of a happy customer journey.


8. Nurturing relationships with customers

According to Manketlow, \"The way you do this depends on whether you serve consumer or business markets, when youre dealing with consumers, youll get great insights into customer groups by segmenting your market and by developing customer personas representing these different segments.\"


9. Building trust within your team

To develop trust, you must set an example, speak honestly and freely, get to know people as individuals, avoid blaming, and discourage trust-breaching actions.


10. Making use of emotional intelligence

\"Emotional intelligence is required for all managers to be effective,\" Birkinshaw argues. \"This entails possessing the self-awareness, self-control, drive, empathy, and social skills necessary to interact with others in a mature, smart, and sympathetic manner. Emotionally intelligent managers are a delight to work with, which is why they can recruit and retain the best employees.\"



For every business to prosper and accomplish its goals and objectives, good management skills are essential. A manager who develops strong management abilities may help the organisation achieve its purpose and vision and its business goals, with fewer roadblocks and objections from both internal and external sources.


Tatenda Sayenda is a consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a managеmеnt and human rеsourcеs consulting firm. Phonе +263 242 481946-48/481950 or еmail: or visit our wеbsitе at

Tatenda Sayenda
This article was written by Tatenda a Guest at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd

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