3 Managerial Skills to Help You Become a Better Manager

Do you have all the required managerial skills to manage your own company? What do you think about your management skills? Can you be a real manager with all the skills necessary for you and your company?

Business owners are entrepreneurs until they become managers. When they become managers, they will feel frustrated because they need to deal with new problems like managerial problems. When you start your business, in large part, you will need entrepreneurial skills. But, as your company starts growing, there is a need for more formalization.

3 Types of managerial skills you should have

Formalization inside your company requires more managerial skills, training, and development. Such an expansion will require different skills and capabilities across the company. So, this is the right time to change yourself and your company’s operations.

Why Will You Need Managerial Skills?

Management is not a simple task. It needs knowledge and experience. Because of that, there is the existence of a hierarchy and organizational structure. This allows each employee with adequate knowledge, experience, and skills to move from the bottom to the middle and top levels of the managerial pyramid.

I have already written about entrepreneurial skills. You can read more in ten smart skills all entrepreneurs need now.

First, I want to discuss the three primary managerial skills and their link to the hierarchical structure.

What Are Managerial Skills?

Managerial skills are the knowledge and ability of the individuals in a managerial position to fulfill specific management activities or tasks.

This knowledge and ability can be learned and practiced. However, they also can be acquired through the practical implementation of required activities and tasks. Therefore, you can develop each skill through learning and practical experience as a manager.

There are many definitions of skills that talk about talent.

Talent is personally related to an individual and shows a natural gift from nature about something inside that talented person. All people cannot be artists. Usually, artists are born with the gift of art, but they continue to develop their inborn talent to improve their art skills despite their talent. The same is with athletes, musicians, and many others.

When we talk about these skills, we talk about the skills of a manager to maintain high efficiency in how their employees complete their everyday tasks. Because of that, managers will need skills that will help them manage people and technology to ensure an effective and efficient realization of their duties.

Three Types of Managerial Skills

Robert Katz identifies three types of skills that are essential for a successful management process:

  • Technical skills,
  • Conceptual skills and
  • Human or interpersonal management skills.
Managerial Skills Robert Katz

1. Technical Skills

Technical skills are gained from experience or education and use the knowledge, methods, techniques, and equipment necessary to perform the tasks. These managerial skills are closely related to managers’ technical or engineering dimensions. I want to say they are practical craftsmanship skills to do a specific job correctly. These skills are essential to start your company, building your products or services, and design the systems inside the company.

Here we talk about management skills related to the mechanics of doing things. What will you need to do? How will you do that?

As the name of these skills tells us, they give managers the knowledge and ability to use different techniques to achieve what they want to achieve.

The term “technical” is a general term and is not just skills in technique. They are not related only to machines, production tools, or other equipment. They are also skills required to increase sales, design different products and services, market them, etc.

Examples of Technical Skills

For example, let’s take an individual who works in the sales department and has highly developed sales skills through education and experience in his department or the same departments in different organizations. Because of his skills, this person can be a perfect solution to becoming a sales manager. This is the best solution because she has excellent technical skills related to sales.

On the other hand, the sales manager will build his next type of required skills. If her task were only to work with the customers as a sales representative, now he would need to work with employees in the sales department.

Technical skills are most important for first-level managers. When it comes to top managers, these skills are not something with high significance.

The same is with the financial managers, who should know their profession and how to do their work related to finance management.

Technical skills lose importance as we go through a hierarchy from the bottom to higher levels.

Project management skills are also technical skills. But, these skills can be part of the human or interpersonal skills category we will cover later. This is important because project management will require technical skills. Also, they will need skills to manage and work with people to implement the project most efficiently.

Anything you do that is limited in time, money, or other resources with a clear goal can be considered a project. You will design the project plan, organize, lead, and control the implementation with project management skills.

Other technical skills include product management, operation management, business development, risk management, financial management, event management, retail management, wholesale management, supply chain management, etc. These managerial skills are part of technical management skills.

As you can see, all of these skills are related to doing a specific “job” in the company.

2. Conceptual Skills

Conceptual skills are the knowledge or ability of a manager for more abstract thinking. That means she can easily see the whole by analyzing and diagnosing different states. In such a way, they can predict the future of the business or department as a whole.

So, conceptual skills enable managers to understand the complexity of the entire organization. Managers practically use these skills to see the organization as a whole, its goals, conditions, limitations, etc. It often happens that what is in the interest of the whole is not necessarily in the interest of some function or part of the business. And, here comes the “job” of a manager with conceptual skills to make the right decision that will be in the interest of the whole organization.

Why do managers need conceptual skills?

First, a company includes more business elements, such as selling, marketing, finance, production, etc. All these business elements have different goals, even completely opposed goals. Think about marketing and production as a business function and their specific goals. You’ll see the essential difference.

In practice, the problem arises because different functions in the company have different views on the main goals. So, for example, marketing will require holding a high inventory level to increase the company’s availability of products on the market. On the other hand, finance will require the reduction of stocks to reduce costs. In contrast, production will require large supplies of raw materials to ensure the smooth flow of the production process.

Also, marketing to meet the changing demands of customers requires frequent interruptions in the company’s production flows. In contrast, finance and manufacturing require large quantities in one flow and long production flows. In this way, they can reduce production costs and ensure the stability of the production system in the company.

Different goals of different functions

The conceptual skills will help managers to look outside their department’s goals. So, they will make decisions that will satisfy overall business goals.

Conceptual skills are vital for top managers, less critical for mid-level managers, and less important for first-level managers.

As we go from the bottom of the managerial hierarchy to the top, the importance of these skills will rise.

Examples of Conceptual Managerial Skills

Here are some examples of conceptual managerial skills:

  • Strategic thinking skills. An essential part of conceptual skills is strategic thinking. You need to see things that others don’t see. You need to plan ahead and improve your tactics based on what you have experienced and learned.
  • Analytical skills. You need to be analytical to make the right decisions. This is the ability to see something in numbers, relate different information, and conclude.
  • Entrepreneurial skills. These skills can also help you make your vision a reality. Abstract ideas, connecting the dots, and changing the world are only a few of the abilities that entrepreneurial skills will bring you.

3. Interpersonal Skills (Human Skills)

Interpersonal management skills are related to managing critical social processes inside the company. These skills present a manager’s ability to work with and through people. One of the most critical management tasks is to work with people. Without people, there will not be a need for management or managers.

These managerial skills include understanding the motivation and applicability of practicing effective leadership. A manager’s interpersonal skills require working effectively as a group member and building a collaborative effort within the team he leads.

These skills will enable managers to become leaders and motivate employees to higher achievements. Also, they will help them to make more effective use of human potential in the company. They are essential skills for managers on all hierarchical levels in the company.

According to the research by the Statista Research Department from 2013, these skills are the most important skills to manage highly complex projects in organizations worldwide successfully.

leadership skills as most important managerial skills

Examples of Interpersonal (Human) Managerial Skills

To motivate and inspire employees, managers will need leadership skills. Leadership is the key factor that motivates employees and inspires them to develop effective, innovative work behavior.

Leadership style is how a leader manages and motivates people to achieve organizational goals. The leaders use their influence to get specific employee behavior. Here we also talk about the sources of power, relationships between leaders and employees as followers, and the degree of delegation of responsibilities.

Simply, leadership skills will help you to motivate your employees. 

The most crucial human management skills are conflict resolution skills or conflict management skills. As your business grows, you will start having more complex ways of doing things. Also, you will have more team members with different competencies. But they will not always agree on all the essential stuff. It is usual for them to disagree on many topics and have a conflict between them. So, conflict is a reality in most organizations, and conflict resolution skills are an essential part of management skills.

Disagreements and conflict are normal and healthy until some point. You need to manage them in the right way. Because of that, you, as a manager, will need to allow such conflicts. Conflicts that will make better decisions and better ways of doing things are healthy conflicts for an organization. But, after some point, the conflict can become counterproductive for the company’s performance (look at the image below).

conflict resolution management skills

Another vital skill set is related to communication skills. All managers must communicate with customers, team members, partners, investors, stakeholders, etc. Communication is an everyday job for managers. You can not manage without communicating with your team members. So, you need these skills. These skills are also part of human or interpersonal management skills.

In addition to communication skills, there are also negotiation skills. This is a valuable skill in all fields of your life, not only in business or politics. As a manager, you will need to become an exceptional listener first. Also, be more analytical and ready to find a professional and fair compromise as an outcome of your negotiation process. These are also managerial skills that you will need in your entrepreneurial career.

Teamwork skills are also critical here. Why? Working in a team provides much better utilization of different skills of team members. It is a great learning possibility. Teamwork will help you in increasing your company’s effectiveness and performance. So, you need excellent teamwork skills to be a real manager.

Delegation management, employee relationship management, customer relationship, partnership management, stakeholder management, effective team management, and coaching and training are traditional interpersonal management skills. These skills are related to creating and dealing with interpersonal relationships inside and outside the company.

But, There is One More Thing – Self-Management Skills

Until now, we talked about managerial skills related to different managerial levels. But what about managing yourself? You want to be more productive. Also, you want goals achievement in your personal and professional life. So, you need personal management skills.

Let’s look at some examples of these skills.

Self-management skills are essential skills not only for managers but for everyone. These skills will help you to lead yourself in your everyday management tasks.

One of the most important self-management skills is time management skills. Time management is the personal ability to organize and prioritize time. Your productivity will become the mirror of your organization’s productivity. According to Mintzberg, managers:

“appreciated the opportunity cost of their own time, and they were continually aware of their ever-present obligations—mail to be answered, callers to attend to, and so on. It seems that a manager is always plagued by the possibilities of what might be done and what must be done.”

– Mintzberg

Time management means doing the right task in the right way and at the right time. So, you will not procrastinate, do the most priority tasks on time, and bring more time into your life.

So, generally speaking, time management skills will:

  • In scheduling your own time,
  • Prioritization,
  • Increase your productivity,
  • Help you start with delegation.
  • Help you to know how you spend your time.

Another skill worth mentioning here is adaptability skills. Today, we live in a world that is changing rapidly every day. The skillsets and competencies that you possess today will become obsolete tomorrow. That’s the fact. You need to be an adaptable person. Learning and experiencing different management skills will help you in growing your company.

Are There More Managerial Skills?

These are the three necessary skills required for successful management as a process. Some authors also mention other skills. But, when I think about it, they are simply part of these three types of primary skills.

Let’s take the example of controlling skills. Controlling can’t be a skill but rather a process or one of the managerial functions. Managers control their employees through the interpersonal skills that we already described.

Another additional skills that I find in theory are decision-making skills. Again, decision-making is a process and not a skill. When we have conceptual skills, we will make better decisions. Furthermore, we will make better technical decisions when we have technical skills.

✋ Warning

Learn more about decision-making as a part of the problem-solving process, decision-making models, and two techniques to make better decisions in the introduction to the decision-making process.

All managers will need technical, conceptual, interpersonal, and self-management skills.

I want to note something about managerial skills and business potential energy. Better management skills in your company will produce more considerable business potential energy. So, these three types of skills are in the category of business elements that can increase your business’s potential energy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are managerial skills?

Managerial skills are the knowledge and ability of the individuals in a managerial position to fulfill specific management activities or tasks.

What are three managerial skills identified by Robert Katz?

Three managerial skills identified by Robert Katz are technical, conceptual, and interpersonal, sometimes called “human” skills.

Why are managerial skills important?

Managers are responsible for running the organization effectively and ensuring everyone works together toward a common goal. Without managerial skills, managers can not manage employees to achieve the organization’s goals.

Dragan Sutevski

Posted by Dragan Sutevski

Dragan Sutevski is a founder and CEO of Sutevski Consulting, creating business excellence through innovative thinking. Get more from Dragan on Twitter. Contact Dragan