Management skills help us get things done through people. Leaders inspire people, managers must see to it that projects are accomplished on time. A good leader is an excellent manager.

This article shows you how to develop 14 management skills.

If you are looking for opportunities to build the skills of your supervisors, go to supervisory training.

What is a skill?

A skill is a learned ability to perform an action with determined results with good execution often within a given amount of time, energy, or both. Wikipedia

Excellent managers possess skills that ensure people get things done. The concern of individual managers is not only their personal day-to-day work but more importantly the performance of their teams and departments.

Managers who have excellent management skills help supervisors increase productivity and keep high performance employees.

What are management skills?

Managerial skills are learned abilities managers use to ensure that the leaders and teams become more productive and achieve their goals. The most crucial skills for supervisors are those that allow them to achieve their business goals efficiently and effectively.

Skills are key to success. The 18 skills for supervisors can help you reach the top.

Examples of Management Skills

Two examples of management skills are effective communication and decision-making.

Both are also considered meta-skills for these are skills that every leader must possess.

There are many sets of skills in communication. Some jobs may only require employees to be able to express themselves. Others demand that they know how to communicate via email and are proficient in online meetings.

Effective managers use a wider set of communication skills. Managers lead meetings, give feedback to employees, sell ideas, resolve conflict, delegate tasks, make presentations, and coach employees. All these demand excellent communication skills.

A marketing manager and a training manager may require different sets of communication skills.

For this reason, it is important for organizations to map out the competencies of managers based on their functions in the organization.

Also, by understanding the different skill sets of managers, an organization can customize training programs. Learn more about the essential skills for supervisors.

Develop Managerial Skills

As I have mentioned above, you can learn management skills in two ways: through experience and deliberate training.

Learning through experience requires that you are aware of the essential skills. You intentionally practice your target skills and regularly evaluate your performance. You are experimenting, experiencing, and evaluating.

If you do not experiment and evaluate, you are less likely to learn from your experiences.

Learning through deliberate training requires that you look into the skills necessary to be successful in the supervisory job.

You will take account of all your assets, of skills that you can convert when you become a supervisor.

By deliberate training, you will consider a few vital behaviors that demonstrate skills. You do not need to go to a multiple-day training and pray that you’ll remember everything.

The best way to learn is by doing.

You can enroll in an online course and study at your own pace. You can get a coach or a mentor who can guide you. You can buy a book or join a webinar. Focus on one area of training. This is what I mean by deliberate training.

meta skills for managers
Can you see the big picture?

Essential Management Skills

To perform effectively, managers need to develop these enabling skills. Enabling skills are the expertise or talent needed by managers to ensure that a business unit achieves its objectives. Management skills allow managers to lead a team and support the overall objectives of the organization.

Stress Management Skills

Managers need the ability to manage stress at work. Managing stress is a skill every workplace professional must learn.

The most challenging stressors for employees are toxic bosses. Ensure that employees work in a safe and friendly environment.

Stress can be an obstacle or a stepping stone to work success. You cannot make your work stress-free, but you can make it stress-friendly.

Because you are the manager, you can create a climate that allows employees to work under pressure. You can avoid unnecessary conflict. You can balance workloads. You can prioritize tasks. You can ensure employees’ safety and wellness.

In many workplaces, developing the ability to manage stress is often the least priority. It is a soft skill, some say. And that is a big mistake. Your ability (or inability) to manage stress directly impacts performance.

Time Management

Effective managers are effective time managers. They achieve their goals at will and on time. They teach people how to work on tasks that matter most.

You can thousands of tips on time management. You can download apps that purport to help you become more productive. You have access to these resources.

But using to-do lists, Pomodoro techniques, and productivity apps will not always make you productive. Time management is a strategic skill.

You ought to understand which 20% percent of your work produces 80% of the results. You need to identify when and how employees are more productive. You need to know how to make employees set goals, create time limits, and execute effectively.

Yes, you cannot control the hands of time. But you can choose how you and your people work every hour of the day.

10. Interpersonal Relationships

The quality of interpersonal relations at work can significantly contribute to worker productivity. You reduce friction, you must develop and maintain trust and positive feelings. It is your role to create a climate of harmonious relationships.

You want people to energize each other so they can work at their best.

People expect you to be fair and just. You must avoid showing favoritism. You want to show people that you care for them without appearing to pry. You don’t want them to think you are power-tripping and abusing your supervisory powers.

You need to strike the right note in your personal relations with co-workers.

And if you are new to your job, you need to manage the transition from being a buddy to a boss. Be approachable and friendly, yet fair and firm.

Giving & Receiving Feedback

Providing and receiving feedback is a vital component of the supervisory process. Feedback is an important communication tool you can use to support your colleagues and ensure team success.

By providing feedback, supervisors give get just-in-time information which may help employees improve productivity and performance. Because of feedback, you can help employees see what they need to know.

Receiving feedback from others provides you with bigger perspectives. It is akin to allowing your co-workers to help you see things. Receiving feedback is active listening.

You can use your skills in giving and receiving feedback to become a better manager.

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Leading and Managing a Team

Effective managers ensure that people accomplish their tasks. They monitor and control the execution closely. Task-oriented supervisors aim to get things done. Some managers do not consider themselves team builders and still accomplish their goals.

High team performance, however, requires a skillful team leader. Managers lead teams inspire, equip, and empower people. They articulate the values, vision, and mission of the team.

Excellent managers ensure that tasks are done and people are happy. They are efficient and effective. By developing your team leadership skills, you can help people perform at their best and become ready for new challenges.

Managing Conflict

People avoid conflict at work. But conflict is inevitable; conflict happens when people are actively working together. Often, people who want to solve the same problems don’t agree on solutions.

Good managers do not avoid conflict, they manage it. Great managers mine conflict and turn it into collaborative opportunities. There are proven strategies and techniques you can use.

You can develop your conflict management skills through deliberate training.

Motivating Employees

Effective managers find ways to understand people. Motivation isn’t about the ability to use “inspiring words”. Rather, motivation requires supervisors to be in employees’ shoes. See their dreams. Discover their values. Understand what makes them go to work each day.

You can use your skills in motivating people to make it easy for employees to do what they hate at first. You can sell to them the goals of the organization and help them commit to achieving those goals.

Motivation isn’t the same for everyone. But there are common things that people avoid or pursue. Understanding the common motivation of employees is a lever you can use.

Read books on motivation. Find mentors who can share with you their best practices in motivating people. Watch webinars and join motivation workshops. Your ability to motivate people will help you become a good leader.

Managing and Evaluating Performance

We manage performance to ensure that we hit our targets every time. We strive to optimize performance and help employees enhance growth and development. set goals, and provide feedback and communication.

We evaluate performance to discover what works and what improvement can be done. Effective managers pay attention to behaviors and results to manage and improve performance.

Performance management and evaluation are a shared responsibility of the employee and his supervisor.

You can use tools to manage and evaluate performance. But tools won’t be enough. Managers need to develop the skills that will help them solve problems, coach employees, and find growth opportunities.

Delegation Skills

Managers delegate effectively to develop employees and ensure that they can do what they must do. Achieving the goals of the organization requires many tasks. A supervisor may have the capability to do each task better than anyone else. But he cannot do them all.

Delegation is a skill that requires you to trust your employees. You will assign a task that must be accomplished that they can do. You delegate so that you can focus on the task that requires your full attention.

Delegation is not just making others do your tasks. You need to prioritize. You need to adjust your communication style based on the difficulty of the tasks and the experience and expertise of the employee. You need to take ownership of the result too.

More importantly, delegation is an opportunity to enable and equip employees. By giving them challenging tasks, you help them grow. Delegation is a skill you need to learn and master.

To learn more, read Effective Delegation.

Coaching Skills

There are many kinds of coaches. Coaching is an industry. When you are lost and want to find yourself, you can always find a life coach. When you want to improve your results, you can find performance coaches.

Effective managers recognize the importance of developing coaching skills.

Coaching is the process of guiding and supporting employees to acquire and develop skills and attitudes that improve performance. Coaching also helps employees eliminate the obstacles that prevent them from achieving their goals.

To develop your coaching skills, you need to understand how people develop high performance. You can use job aids and other tools. You can also use a framework like the GROW model to help you so you can coach employees more effectively.

Onboarding New Employees

Onboarding is the process of integrating a new employee with your company and its culture. Managers ensure that new hires get the tools and information they needed to become productive members of the organization.

New employees do not need to feel lost and confused during their first 30 days at work. Companies with a robust onboarding process are more likely to retain and engage employees.

Communication Skills

Many companies invest an hour for onboarding. Others do it for a day or two. But strategic companies map out the desired experiences of employees for the first 30 days up to six months.

Of course, it is common to rely on the human resources department for onboarding new employees. You are too busy to accomplish your tasks. But onboarding new employees is a responsibility you must not ignore. Be hands-on when developing people.

Learn the steps in onboarding new employees.

Your ability to communicate is essential to the achievement of goals. Managers disseminate information to employees as a spokesperson for the management and convey employees’ agenda to management. Misunderstanding often happens because of the inability of the supervisors to communicate effectively.

Communication is also essential in building harmonious relationships with co-workers, customers, and suppliers.

Much time is wasted in communicating via Ping-Pong emails. People send emails with unclear intentions, incomplete information, and no call to action. Developing skills in business writing can help you save time, reduce stress, and get things done.

Effective communication can make your meetings more productive too. For example, you can encourage conversations in an efficient and result-oriented team meeting.

Map out how you can improve your communication skills. Study how you can better communicate with your subordinates and produce better work.

Among the essential skills for managers, communication requires numerous sets of skills. It is connected to delegation, negotiation, training, motivation, and others. It is always assumed that many supervisors know how to communicate effectively. The assumption is wrong.

Making Decisions

You are paid to make decisions. Be good at it because your choices affect employees and your business. You must make consistent decisions and make them as quickly as possible.

Managers make choices that can impact people and businesses every day. You need to make the right decisions and drive them with conviction. Effective supervisors consider the issue, get pertinent information, explore options, identify the best solution, and decide.

Decision-making skills can be learned and strengthened through deliberate training and practice. You can start by mastering simple steps and considering various situations that will require you to make decisions.

With constant practice, you will gain confidence in making good decisions quickly. Doing so will help you grab new opportunities, save time, and resources, and reduce stress.

Interviewing Skills

If you are involved in hiring direct reports, you ought to learn interviewing skills. You do not want to get people who cannot work well with your team.

You are likely to be involved in initial interviews. Initial interviews consist of behavioral and situational questions to determine if the candidate has the functional expertise or qualifications to perform the job functions.

Many candidates have trained themselves to answer common interview questions. It is a common experience that many of those who seem to be a good fit in interviews fail miserably at work. This is because not all supervisors have excellent interviewing skills.

Behavioral interviewing can help you get the right employees for the job. You can use tools that will ensure that the candidate has the right values and competencies for the job.

Develop skills and attitudes that will improve your ability to lead people, improve processes, and impact productivity.

Knowing these 18 essential skills for managers can help you get started. Find out which ones are crucial to your promotion. You can ask your boss.

You can learn more about improving your supervisory skills. Go to What is Supervision?


I train managers via classroom training, webinars, and online courses. Focus on vital skills that will improve performance and help employees be ready for the future. The best way to train supervisors, however, is via experience. With the help of a coach or a mentor, a supervisor can learn on the job.

Managers can improve performance by examining the gap between the current performance and target performance, identifying the vital behaviors that will bring results, keeping them engaged in the new behaviors, and evaluating change regularly. Sometimes, performance improvement comes with a process change.

Design a management training program to achieve the objectives of the organization. Begin with the essential skills (see examples here), identify the two or three vital behaviors for each skill, and then explore various ways of keeping supervisors engaged in the new behavior.

Basic Supervisory Skills Training is a foundational training for new supervisors which is based on the enduring Planning- Organizing, Leading, and Controlling Framework of Management, Both big and small firms have been using the P-O-L-C Framework since the 20th century.

Some training providers offer one-day basic training that does not provide learners to learn any skills. Hearing a lecture about planning, for example, will not make any supervisor develop skills in planning. Because of this, I do not recommend a one-day training for Basic Supervisory Skills Training.

I conduct basic supervisory skills training for at least three days for a cohort of 20 or fewer.

If all you want is for supervisors to understand concepts and ideas, it is best to enroll them in online courses, encourage them to read a book on supervision, or curate content from the internet. [mfn] Supervision training helps you develop excellent management skills. [/mfn]

Smile like a happy supervisor.

All training on essential skills for managers must meet the needs of the organization. Public seminars on “management skills training” seldom do the magic as they tend to make participants drink on a firehose.

About The Author

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The best training programs we can give to leaders help them get started, build momentum, and make breakthroughs.

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