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Managerial Skills: A Complete Guide to Become a Successful Manager

What makes a manager successful? This is undoubtedly one of the most common questions in the corporate world. Some people link management with power and flexibility, while others relate it with leadership. And there are heated debates over whether managerial skills are inborn or acquired. 

We often equate managers with characteristics such as confidence, personality, multitasking capacity, and a clear vision. However, in the workplace, managers can be a perfect source of either motivation or frustration.

A manager is responsible for a team’s success and the support of each individual within it. This implies figuring out what inspires and motivates them, what their abilities are, how to use them, and how to lead them in areas they need to improve.

So, learn everything you need to know to become a successful manager.

What are managerial skills?

Managerial skills refer to specific attributes or abilities an individual should possess to fulfil specific organisational tasks. These skills are highly transferable, lucrative and beneficial. They include the ability to execute managerial duties in an organisation while preventing difficult situations and quickly solving problems when they arise.

Good managerial skills are crucial for any organisation to succeed and achieve its goals and objectives. When a manager fosters good managerial skills, they will be able to drive the company’s mission and vision forward with fewer difficulties and objections from both internal and external sources.

Types of managerial skills

A manager has to ensure that all the organisational work functions harmoniously. Such coordination is necessary for problems to arise and create chaos. Therefore, managerial skills are vital for varying positions and levels of a company, from top leadership to intermediate supervisors to first-level managers.

According to American social and organisational psychologist Robert Katz, there are three fundamental types of managerial skills.

1. Technical skills

Technical skills refer to learned capacity in any field of work. From operating machines, software, production tools and equipment to boosting sales, designing different types of products and services and selling them fall into the category of technical skills.

Leaders and managers need a wide range of technical skills. Because a technical skill for a leader or manager might include:

  • A working understanding of any piece of equipment, machine or software.
  • The ability to train the employees.
  • And convey the essential functions to others.

However, the leaders and managers in other corporate roles at higher levels may require more technical skills. These may include:

  • Industry related skills
  • Software proficiencies.
  • Data analysis.
  • Project management.

Managers must learn to use the technical assets at their disposal and gather vital information and data. It’ll optimise managerial performance and increase the productivity of the teams.

Katz suggests that the higher an individual rises in the organisation, the more conceptual skills (and fewer technical skills) are necessary. Since strategic decision-making is generally more conceptual, senior managers need fewer technical skills.

2. Conceptual skills

Conceptual skills involve coming up with new ideas based on creative intuitions and a thorough understanding of any situation. A manager should have these abilities and experience regarding abstract thought and formulating ideas. A successful manager must have the ability to:

  • See the big picture.
  • Analyse and diagnose problems.
  • And come up with innovative ideas or solutions.

Conceptual skills are the most relevant in upper-level thinking and broad strategic situations. As a result, these skills are often considered critical success factors of leadership as well. Although conceptual thinking benefits all leadership levels, upper management spends the most time in this mindset.

Successful managers are good communicators and display a high level of emotional intelligence. People with strong conceptual skills excel at solving problems and making fast decisions that produce results. Below are some conceptual skills that can make any manager successful.

  • Abstract thinking
  • Analytical skills
  • Cognitive skills
  • Communication skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Decision-making
  • Problem-solving
  • Strategic planning

3. Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills demonstrate a manager’s capacity to communicate or connect with others successfully. These abilities allow managers to maximise resources, inspire employees to achieve greater performance, and more.

Modern businesses have fewer levels of management. They depend on the division of roles and authority to accomplish their objectives. Consequently, companies often refer to leading or directing people instead of providing orders for any action.

Managers must analyse and critically assess their teams. Additionally, they have to evaluate inefficiencies and make tough choices. However, a manager doesn’t need to be distant from or hated by subordinates to carry out these duties. Instead, having strong interpersonal skills will help a manager create a stable atmosphere conducive to growth, better handle criticism, and reach higher levels of excellence.

Here are some examples of interpersonal skills that a manager should have:

  • Active listening.
  • Teamwork.
  • Empathy.
  • Work etiquette.
  • Negotiation, persuasion and influencing skills.
  • Conflict resolution and mediation.

What are the essential managerial skills?

The corporate world is rapidly growing, and markets are constantly evolving and shifting. You can’t just wait for things to improve. You must ensure that you possess all the necessary qualities to be an effective manager and plan for the future.

In order to become a successful manager, you have to know what managerial skills you need and how to develop them. So, here are a few key managerial skills you should focus on developing.

People management skills

The first set of abilities reflects on your team. Your team may comprise skilled and hard-working employees. But they can get overwhelmed because they have a lot on their plates. As a result, you might have to deal with disagreements and demotivation. But, possessing people management skills can help you become an effective leader, as employee performance depends greatly on a team leader’s ability to connect with and motivate team members.

You may consider the following people management skills to become a successful manager.

  • Communication
  • Ability to motivate and connect
  • Patience
  • Problem-solving
  • Responsibility
  • Honesty
  • Trust

Communication skills

A manager’s ability to communicate effectively is very crucial. Effective communication has the power to ensure that the entire organisation act as a unified workforce. The extent to which a manager interacts with the rest of his or her staff defines as:

  • How well activities are performed and if the objectives are achieved.
  • How well projects and operations are done.
  • And how effective an organisation can be.

Communication involves the flow of information within an organisation. It can be formal or informal, verbal or written. Communication helps the organisation run smoothly. In an organisation, clearly defined communication networks enable the manager to:

  • Communicate goals and strategies with the staff.
  • Avoid conflicts and confusion.

A manager with strong communication skills can better appeal to his or her employees. To put it another way, it helps to accomplish the company’s goals and objectives.

Negotiation skills

Negotiation skills are an essential aspect of every manager’s job. You must bargain with co-workers, corporate associates, vendors, and customers. This isn’t something you can afford to overlook.

You must be able to devise win-win tactics based on best negotiating practices. When it comes to negotiating, you must know when to stop and when to start. Good negotiation skills are essential to becoming a successful manager.

Project management skills

Projects might be interdepartmental or cross-departmental. Whatever project you’re working on, you’ll need to be able to plan, execute and monitor it. To ensure that the project is delivered on budget and schedule, you must consider all expenses, available manpower, resources, etc. You can use project management software programs to complement your project management skills.

Leadership skills

As a manager, you’ll be in charge of managing others’ efforts and inspiring your employees to achieve a shared purpose. You may also be in charge of leading committees, distributing workloads, and facilitating cross-team or cross-departmental coordination.

Leadership skills will allow you to manage activities and guide all stakeholders to ensure that work is done according to plan. Below is a list of common leadership skills a manager should possess.

  • Strategic thinking
  • Team building
  • Empathy
  • Ability to influence others
  • Constructive criticism
  • Delegating tasks
  • Relationship management

Remember, managers are not necessarily born leaders, but good leaders often make better managers because they understand the secret to proper management.

Strategy and planning

Whether you’re working on a small team or on a division level, you probably have to brainstorm, create, and then implement strategies. As a result, you’ll need to understand everything there is to know about strategic planning, including the main steps in the process and the strategies you’ll need to carry it out.

When it comes to setting deadlines and deciding the most effective way to achieve a goal, planning skills will come in handy. Also, having no plan is the main reason behind Here are a few planning skills examples:

  • Cognitive skills
  • Adaptability
  • Business development
  • Critical thinking
  • Flexibility
  • Logical reasoning

However, a successful manager will always strategise a plan by considering all possible outcomes. So, a manager needs to have the following strategy skills:

  • Strategic thinking
  • Problem-solving
  • Conflict resolution
  • Creativity
  • Analytical thinking

Understanding how the company works

It is not sufficient to concentrate only on the staff or department; no one operates in isolation. So, you need to be an excellent “all-round manager” who knows how the various sections of the company interact to produce the desired outcomes.

Moreover, you need to spend enough time understanding what your colleagues do and why they do it because it’s detrimental to the company’s success. So, it’s crucial to understand the overall strategy, financial objectives, marketing and distribution roles, the impact of leadership and the supply chain management operation. That’s a lot to take in, but if you don’t, you’ll never be a successful manager.

Conflict management

It is usual for people to disagree in various situations. It happens in all sorts of workplaces. Disagreement is safe and natural, but only when it is handled properly.

Regardless of your status, learning specific de-escalation tactics and taking the time to consider diverse viewpoints will go a long way. So, a manager must know how to manage conflicts within the workplace.

How to develop managerial skills?

Being a manager can be a rewarding opportunity to make a difference in an organisation because you can take on new responsibilities while advancing your career. So, growing your skills will help you achieve success, whether you’re applying for your first management job or have been in a managerial position for a while.

However, only knowing the required skills won’t help you become a successful manager. You’ll have to master the skills mentioned above through a number of activities.

Join student societies

Developing leadership skills is easy while you’re at university. So you should take advantage of any opportunities. For example, you could work your way up to the top and become a sports team captain or volunteer to chair an established club. You can also apply to represent the student body as a student’ union officer.

If your area of interest isn’t covered, you could start your own society and be the president. The point is that you should take the initiative because it will help you develop various managerial skills.

Internships and volunteering

After graduation, you can participate in an internship in your preferred industry. This will not only look good on your CV but also give you a glimpse of what it’s like to work with people. Besides, it’ll also help you secure a job in the future. 

Furthermore, you could volunteer as a trainer or sports coach to gain experience in a supporting role. Other volunteering roles include:

  • Working with adults in the community.
  • Acting with children in education settings.
  • Overseeing a network of charitable fundraisers.
  • Leading a community team on an environmental project, etc.

Part-time work

Part-time work can also help you develop management and leadership skills. It doesn’t matter where you work; you may oversee bar or catering staff, supervise retail or manufacturing personnel, man reception desks or lead admin teams. Every bit of experience counts, particularly when you’re in a position of authority or managing a group of people.

Seek opportunities to lead

Managerial skills take practice like all other professional abilities and technical talents. So, you should look for opportunities to lead within your current role. You can volunteer to oversee tasks or lead workshops. This will help you identify and improve your potential skills.

Besides, taking minor leadership roles in your current job will allow you to show your managerial skills to your employer. It’ll increase your chances of landing a job as a manager since you already have managerial experience.

Find a role model

Look for great leaders inside and outside the business, and pay attention to how they communicate. Pay careful attention to their personality characteristics, how they respond under pressure, and what they do when confronted with difficult situations.

After you’ve identified your strengths and shortcomings, you should focus on honing your positive qualities while still working on areas you can progress. This will help you train for the responsibilities of a leadership role.

How to become a successful manager?

Continuous learning is the key to becoming a successful manager. This applies to both you and the people who work around you. To become a successful manager, you must keep in mind that everybody is different. You should also aim to –

  • Actively improve your leadership skills.
  • Find innovative ways to inspire and influence others.
  • Strengthen the workplace dynamics.
  • Invest time in personal growth.
  • Utilise performance reviews effectively.

Remember that successfully managing people and making your team members feel like they are doing a good job is vital. 

Communicate clearly

Managers who are effective communicators are better able to manage their teams. Strong communication entails communicating with others clearly, without any room for misinterpretation. It’s vital to become a successful manager. Facilitating strong communication channels is key. So, you should:

  • Facilitate a work culture where everyone can express their concerns, opinions and ideas.
  • Establish guidelines for giving and receiving feedback.
  • Set clear expectations for your employees.
  • Be transparent while communicating.


Being able to listen is an important aspect of communication. One of the most important parts of a manager’s job is to manage and guide others. The willingness and ability to listen is an essential part of your job. It can give you valuable input and help build relationships with others. Besides, everyone should feel like their opinions matter.

Be decisive

Successful management necessitates decisiveness. Employees will turn to their manager for guidance on how to move tasks forward, resolve problems, and reach objectives. A good manager’s ability to provide strong guidance to a team and make critical decisions distinguishes them from a bad one. Failure to make decisions is a sign of poor management, which may lead to a loss of trust and confidence in a team.

Show trust in your employees

Managers who are good at delegating are often more successful. Delegation allows you to focus on more pressing matters. Furthermore, giving employees more responsibility shows your trust and helps build confidence.

Set a good example

Employees always look for a boss they can admire and learn from. A manager can earn the confidence of the staff and ensure that they have their team’s support. To be a successful manager, you can set positive examples for others and share your expertise.

Improve, and you’ll be improved

A typical manager mindset is that someone below them is constantly attempting to wrest their job from them with some extraordinary ability or talent. However, it shouldn’t be about competition and rivalry.

Instead, you should help your team members develop their skills and set them up for success. Consequently, they’ll repay the favour by giving you their best. Your road to becoming a successful manager starts with leading from the front and encouraging, teaching and training others for the big shoes, too.

Be personable

Being a manager entails working under pressure because you’ll always have to balance your personal life and your organisational goals. There’s always the risk of getting into a volatile situation, particularly if you’re responsible for a team of people and there are strict deadlines to meet.

Being personable, another term for great interpersonal skills makes it easier to complete tasks with the assistance of other team members. Also, it strengthens the support system in high-pressure situations. Furthermore, it’ll aid you in interacting with, managing, and balancing the various personalities in the workplace. Often, keep in mind the value of respect in the workplace.

Take responsibility

When things don’t go as planned, such as missing a deadline, failure to deliver the promised end product or service, most inexperienced managers find it hard to take responsibility.

If a joint project fails, be the first to take responsibility rather than passing the buck to others. This will earn the loyalty of your staff, who will therefore stand up for you in the future.

A key characteristic of a successful manager is empowering the team to strive for results and share any victories. So you should:

  • Lead from the front.
  • Show your team that you’re willing to step in for them when things get rough.
  • Be considerate of the different people who report to you.

Remember, your unique personality can change a team dynamic. And learning how to work with different people is what makes a good manager.

Spot talent and delegate work accordingly

There are three kinds of managers: those who try to do everything, those who do nothing, and those who delegate responsibly. The latter is always the most successful when it comes to employee management, with efficient project execution and tight workflow schedules. Being a successful manager requires recognising and harnessing everyone’s unique talents early on.

Recognise achievements

Recognising talent goes hand-in-hand with speaking out on milestones and recognising successes. Because all of these contribute to the team’s cohesiveness. If you have a standout member on the squad, you should:

  • Verbally recognise their accomplishments.
  • Reward them for their extraordinary contribution.

Recognition is crucial in employee management. It helps to keep employees motivated and builds a positive work environment.

Make time for one-on-one meetings

As a manager, it’s easy to become enigmatic by holding high-powered meetings and staying in the workplace to carry out any business strategy. Your team’s reactions to you result from how you interact with them. Keep your eyes and ears on the ground and, if possible, see your team in person. Here’s what you can do:

  • You can hold weekly managerial meetings with the entire team.
  • Conduct one-on-one meetings with individual team members.

These will help you better understand your co-workers and how the workplace functions.

Encourage collaboration

A crucial move for new managers is creating a working environment where everyone feels understood, appreciated, and supported. A collaborative team creates a more inclusive and positive workplace culture. Therefore, you can encourage this as a manager by showing enthusiasm for your job and emulating the business ethos.

Maintain a healthy work-life balance

Most managers tend to tightly grip things even when they’re not in the workplace. But it’s not a healthy practice. If you’ve responsible team members and assigned authority to them, you should give them space to execute the task you’ve trusted them with because you chose them and believed in their ability to succeed.

At the same time, you need downtime from the high-pressure work environment. Otherwise, you’ll burn out. So, you should take advantage of any available breaks and personal quality time. It’s crucial to maintain a healthy work-life balance if you want to avoid bulking under pressure.


If you want to be a successful manager, you’ll have to work at it. Being elevated to a managerial position does not imply that you will be successful. However, if you instil the skills mentioned above, you’ll definitely make an impact on the morale and overall success of the team as well as on your career.

June 7, 2024

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