We can distinguish three types of managerial skills:
Managers must have the ability to use the tools, procedures, and techniques of their special areas. An accountant must have expertise in accounting principles, whereas a production manager must know operations management. These skills are the mechanics of the job.
Human relations skills
Human relations skills involve the ability to work with people and understand employee motivation and group processes. These skills allow the manager to become involved with and lead his group.
These skills represent a manager’s ability to organize and analyze information in order to improve organizational performance. They include the ability to see the organization as a whole and to understand how various parts fit together to work as an integrated unit. These skills are required to coordinate the departments and divisions successfully so that the entire organization can pull together.
Different levels of these skills are required at different stages of the managerial hierarchy. That is, success in executive positions requires far more conceptual skill and less use of technical skills in most (but not all) situations. For example, top managers rate high on such activities as long-range planning, monitoring business indicators, coordinating, and internal consulting. However, frontline managers generally require more technical skills and fewer conceptual skills. Lower-level managers rate high on supervising because their responsibility is to accomplish tasks through rank-and-file employees. Middle managers rate near the middle for all activities. It’s important to note that human relations skills, or people skills, remain important for success at all three levels in the hierarchy.
At a personal level, knowing that the mix of conceptual, human, and technical skills changes over time and that different functional areas require different levels of specific management activities can serve at least two important functions. First, if you choose to become a manager, knowing that the mix of skills changes over time can help you avoid a common complaint that often young employees want to think and act like a CEO before they have mastered being a first-line supervisor. Second, knowing the different mix of management activities by functional area can facilitate your selection of an area or areas that best match your skills and interests.
In many firms managers are rotated through departments as they move up in the hierarchy. Through this process, they obtain a well-rounded perspective on the responsibilities of the various departments. In their day-to-day tasks they must emphasize the right activities for their departments and their managerial levels. Knowing what types of activity to emphasize is the core of the manager’s job.
Management 2020 text remixed from multiple sources under a CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. View a complete list of original sources.