What are Key Managerial Skills?

Interested in a career in Management?

Wondering what managerial skills are needed to move into a management job role?

One of the best books I’ve ever read is “Winning” by Jack Welch. While not specifically a managerial skills book, it covers a lot of ground and provides excellent background into the mindset required to me a manager – whether you’re a new front line manager or an experienced middle manager moving into an executive position.

I started my career as a programmer, and within 5 years moved into a project manager role, and from that point on I was in management – either directly managing small and large teams, or managing virtual cross functional teams.

Key managerial skills you need to research and learn about:

  • Communication – you have to verbally and via written communication be able to talk at the forest level [executives and peers], treetop level [more details for lower level audience], and in the weeds [your teams activities]
  • Domain knowledge to inform direction and validate your teams work. Most managers are experts in the work their employees do – they can’t be. However, as a manager you have to have enough domain knowledge to be able to call b******t on approaches, timing, and reasons why a job is getting done. You also have to map higher level strategies into the work you need your team to do, which requires knowledge of the subject matter. Don’t try and be an expert in the weeds however – that isn’t what the company needs you to do – after all, that’s why you hire experts under you!
  • People Skills – A key managerial skill is to be able to relate to people, treat each one different, understand what motivates your team [each person is different], and from a management perspective be able to drive your employees to deliver their best.
  • Politics – don’t ignore this key managerial attribute. As you move into management you have to build your network of support across the organization, and it may not be about what your team accomplishes, but more in how you relate to other managers and teams and are viewed as their supporter.
  • Regulate your emotions – As a manager, you will be put in many tough spots – having to fire under-performers, lay off good employees because of change in strategy or a down turn in business, and deal with employee issues. You have to ALWAYS keep your emotions out of it. Emotional regulation is key to moving up the management career ladders.

A career in management can be very rewarding, but you have to ensure you are always working on improving your managerial skills by watching successful managers, reading management books by the gurus of the industry, and ensuring your skills are always aligned with managing people.