A manager's job is varied and complex. Managers need certain skills to perform the duties and activities associated with being a manager. What type of skills does a manager need? Research by Robert L. Katz found that managers needed three essential skills. These are technical skills, human skills and conceptual skills. Technical skills include knowledge of and proficiency in a certain specialized field, such as engineering, computers, financial and managerial accounting, or manufacturing. These skills are more important at lower levels of management since these managers are dealing directly with employees doing the organization's work. Human skills involve the ability to work well with other people both individually and in a group. Because managers deal directly with people, this skill is crucial! Managers with good human skills are able to get the best out of their people. They know how to communicate, motivate, lead, and inspire enthusiasm and trust. These skills are equally important at all levels of management. Finally conceptual skills are the skills managers must have to think and conceptualize about abstract and complex situations. Using these skills managers must be able to see the organization as a whole, understand the relationship among various subunits, and visualize how the organization fits into its broader environment. These skills are most important at top level management.
A professional association of practicing managers, the American Management Association, has identified important skills for managers that encompass conceptual, communication, effectiveness, and interpersonal aspects. These are briefly described below
Ability to use information to solve business problems, identification of opportunities for innovation, recognizing problem areas and implementing solutions, selecting critical information from masses of data, understanding the business users of technology, understanding the organization's business model.
Communication Skills: Ability to transform ideas into words and actions, credibility among colleagues, peers, and subordinates, listening and asking questions, presentation skills and spoken format, presentation skills; written and graphic formats
Contributing to corporate mission/departmental objectives, customer focus, multitasking; working at multiple tasks at parallel, negotiating skills, project management, reviewing operations and implementing improvements, setting and maintaining performance standards internally and externally, setting priorities for attention and activity, time management.
Coaching and mentoring skills, diversity skills; working with diverse people and culture, networking within the organization, networking outside the organization, working in teams; cooperation and commitment.
In today's demanding and dynamic workplace, employees who are invaluable to an organization must be willing to constantly upgrade their skills and take on extra work outside their own specific job areas. There is no doubt that skills will continue to be an important way of describing what a manager does.