Management Skills: Definition and Examples

As you advance in your career, gain experience and expand your professional skill set, you might consider taking on a management role. Management roles often include the responsibility of managing projects, leading a team of people or a combination of both.

When an employer promotes or hires you for a management position, they trust you to make important decisions and help build and execute plans that will affect company outcomes. Developing a set of managerial skills can help you be successful in these responsibilities.

Whether you’re preparing for future leadership roles or you’re a manager seeking to grow and improve your abilities, the following information, tips and examples of managerial skills can help.

What are managerial skills?

There are two types of skills you need to excel in your career: hard skills and soft skills. To be a successful manager, you need to develop both.

Hard skills are technical, teachable abilities you learn through school, training and job experience. For example, if you’re a software engineer, one of your hard skills may be proficiency in programming languages. As a manager, it’s important to develop these abilities so you can effectively lead others in honing the same skills.

On the other hand, soft skills are applicable in any role or industry and are often even more important for management than technical proficiencies. Generally, soft skills are developed over time by managing your responsibilities and interacting with others. Problem-solving, time management and verbal communication are all examples of important soft skills.

While hard skills are key when completing specific tasks, soft skills are essential when directing people, overseeing projects and making informed decisions.

Key management skills

The most effective management skills you should develop, regardless of your department or industry, can be grouped into five primary categories:

1. Leadership

2. Planning

3. Strategy

4. Communication

5. Organization

Here is a breakdown of each category with several examples.

1. Leadership

As a manager, you will likely be responsible for overseeing the work of others and motivating a team toward a common goal. You might also be responsible for leading meetings, assigning workloads and supporting collaboration across teams and departments. Well-developed leadership skills will help you coordinate tasks and direct all parties to ensure work is completed according to plan and finished on time.

These are also the skills you’ll need to adequately handle leadership duties such as employee evaluations and professional development.

Leadership skills examples:

  • Decisiveness

  • Team building

  • Empathy

  • Dependability

  • Constructive criticism

  • Delegating tasks

  • Empowerment

  • Integrity

  • Mentoring

  • Motivating others

  • Patience

  • Relationship management

2. Planning

Whether you’re managing people, projects or a combination of the two, the ability to prepare a vision for the future and strategize solutions is essential to good management. Planning skills help when setting goals and determining the most efficient path to meet objectives.

Planning skills examples:

  • Cognitive skills

  • Adaptability

  • Business development

  • Critical thinking

  • Flexibility

  • Logical reasoning

3. Strategy

A strategic manager is someone who can spot inefficiencies and quickly identify solutions to challenges. They can also recognize the steps each team member should take to overcome obstacles and complete projects.

Strategy skills examples:

  • Strategic thinking

  • Problem-solving

  • Conflict resolution

  • Creativity

  • Analytical thinking

4. Communication

To effectively lead people and projects, you must be able to understand the needs and goals of the business and convey this information to others through simple and straightforward instruction. Well-developed communication skills will ensure you’re able to translate the most accurate information to the right people at the right time. Great communicators actively listen, retain information well and pass it on efficiently to others.

Communication skills examples:

  • Active listening

  • Collaboration

  • Interpersonal communication

  • Negotiation

  • Persuasion

  • Public speaking

  • Verbal communication

  • Written communication

  • Interviewing

  • Building relationships

5. Organization

As a manager, you’ll have to balance many tasks at the same time. Often, this means overseeing multiple project timelines, deadlines and calendar events such as meetings, conferences and presentations. Excellent organizational skills will help you stay on top of your work, reduce stress, prevent you and your team from missing critical dates and ensure you can find information when you need it most. Staying organized will improve your workflow and ensure you’re able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible. It will also set a great example for any employees who may report to you.

Organizational skills examples:

  • Goal setting

  • Administrative skills

  • Project management

  • Time management

  • Deadline management

  • Event coordination

  • Recordkeeping

  • Scheduling

Tips for succeeding in a manager role

Taking on a management position can be a rewarding opportunity to meaningfully contribute to an organization, take on new responsibilities and grow your professional career. Whether you’re applying for your first management role or you’ve been in a leadership position for a while, growing your skills will help you achieve success.

Here are three things you can do to develop the managerial skills listed above to ensure you’re ready for the challenges of a new role.

1. Seek opportunities to lead.

Like all professional abilities, managerial skills take practice. To help prepare yourself, look for opportunities to lead within your current position. For example, volunteer to manage projects and lead meetings. This can help you identify and improve your areas of opportunity. For example, the experience of leading a project may help you recognize you lack experience in team goal setting. Once you’ve highlighted potential weaknesses, you can spend time working on them.

Additionally, taking small leadership opportunities in your current job will help you demonstrate your abilities to your supervisor and other senior personnel who may be seeking managerial candidates.

2. Find a role model.

Look for great leaders both inside and outside your organization and take time to observe how they interact with others. Pay close attention to the character traits they exhibit, how they behave under pressure and what they do when faced with complex challenges. Consider asking another leader to mentor you to help nurture your managerial talents. While it takes time and experience to become a successful manager, an accomplished leader’s advice can help you understand the obstacles and circumstances you may face leading a team.

3. Ask for feedback.

While self-evaluation is important, asking for feedback from others can help you identify areas to improve that you may have otherwise missed. Next time you have an employee evaluation, ask your supervisor for feedback on your organization, planning and strategy, communication and people management skills. Once you know your strengths and weaknesses in these areas, you can continue developing your best attributes and work on areas of improvement. This will help ensure you’re well prepared for the demands of a leadership role.

For many professionals, achieving a management position is a turning point in their career. Having leadership experience on your resume or CV can increase your earning potential and help you earn more senior roles. Additionally, developing your managerial skills today will better equip you for handling a variety of responsibilities and overcoming challenges you face in your current job, even if you aren’t yet in a position of leadership.