Managerial Skills: Types, Definition, Levels & Examples in Management

Managerial skills can be defined as certain abilities that a manager/executive should possess in order to fulfill specific tasks in an organization.

From the very beginning of the development of management thought, both management practitioners and researchers have emphasized different skills for managers.

Therefore, the list of managerial skills is very long. And various management authors and researchers have categorized managerial skills on the basis of levels of management and many other factors also. 

In this article, we have shared what are managerial skills? and the detailed discussion about the type of managerial skills with examples.

So let’s start with the definition of Managerial Skills.

Managerial Skills Definition

Managerial skills are Simply, Knowledge and expertise to fulfill some activities or tasks.

Managers must possess certain skills in order to perform management functions effectively. Skill refers to practical ability or expertness in a specific action or doing something.

This knowledge can be learned. However, it also can be acquired through practice fulfillment of these activities. Therefore, skills can be acquired through the learning and experience of individuals.

There are many definitions of skills that define it as some type of talent. Talent is something personal in an individual and represents a native gift from nature about something in that individual. All individuals cannot be artists. Usually, artists are born with the gift of art and after that, they develop their talent in quality art skills through educational systems.

Managerial Skills by Robert L. Katz

According to Robert L. Katz,

“if managers have the necessary management skills then they will probably perform well and be relatively successful.

On the other hand, if managers do not have the necessary management skills, they will probably perform poorly and be relatively unsuccessful in their careers.

There are three types of primary skills that are important for successful management performance.”

In 1955, Robert L. Katz published a book named “Skills of an Effective Administrator”. 

Managerial Skills Types

managerial skills list

Katz has grouped various managerial skills into three broad categories in his book;

  1. Conceptual skills,
  2. Human skills,
  3. Technical skills.

Conceptual skills – A conceptual skills are Manager’s ability to work with ideas and concepts.

These skills enable executives to understand and better decide the actions that have to be taken in a particular field of work.

For example, managers use conceptual skills to take decisions and formulate strategies.

Human skills – This is a manager’s ability to work with people, understand and motivate them.

For example, managers use human skills to get along with people and to communicate and work within teams.

Technical skills – This is a manager’s ability to use tools, procedures, or techniques in his specialized area.

For example, using certain computer software packages (like; MS Excel or Access) is an advanced technical skill.

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Importance of Managerial Skills 

Managerial skills are very important in order to be an effective manager. Today’s business world is very competitive, hence it’s imperative that you possess much more skills than ever before.

Not every executive has all the skills that would make them highly effective managers. As the technological trend moves forward and the demand for grouped software and faster hardware increases, the skills that will be needed by managers will change rapidly.

In every business, there are different departments with different types of managers. With different managers come different protocols and required skills.

For example, the HR manager should have proper knowledge of how to conduct the recruitment process as well as he/she should have enough skills to select the best candidate for the vacant position. 

HR Candidate should have all three types of managerial skills to perform his duties. 

⦿ To formula policies, conceptual skills are required.

⦿ To taking interviews, human skills are required.

⦿ While filtering resumes of suitable candidates, good technical skills are required.  

If a Manager has good managerial skills then he influences and motivates his subordinates in every manner.

By developing good managerial skills, Managers will provide effective training to their employees and make proper coordination among their team. These managerial skills are equally important for all types of managers.

Let’s discuss all 3 managerial skills in detail. 

  • Conceptual skills
  • Human skills
  • Technical skills

managerial skills types

Conceptual Skills

Conceptual skills are related to concepts and mental conception. It is a conceptual framework intended to develop a new product and or idea.

Since conceptual skills are in the form of imagination. – chimerical, fantasy, or vision. Boulton has called these soft skills and is hardly visible in a person. 

Conceptual skills are also known as general management skills in an organization. It refers to the ability to see the whole picture to recognize significant elements in a situation.

For managers, conceptual skills are required for the following managerial job roles:

➤ Decisional Roles: Conceptual skills are required for making decisions, particularly non-programmed or strategic decisions. Non-programmed decisions are relevant for solving sudden problems in which various alternatives cannot be decided in advance.

For example, launching a new product, business expansion, and so on.

For making non-programmed decisions, various factors such as the business environment have to be taken into account. Environmental factors are quite dynamic and changes in these cannot be predicted easily.

Therefore, managers have to use their conceptual skills for broadly defining the likely change in contextual variables affecting decision-making.

➤ Entrepreneur: Conceptual skills are relevant for planning and building models. From an entrepreneurship mindset, a model is an abstraction of reality. It is a simplified representation of some real-world phenomenon.

Models are used in different fields, for example, economic models, business models, transport models, etc.

In management, models are used for difficult activities like business models. It shows how different business activities will contribute to revenue generation.

For constructing a model, information remains available partially and the gap is fulfilled by the model creator using his conceptual skills.

There are various examples of using conceptual skills in making non-programmed decisions.

Conceptual Skills Examples

In the 1980s, Hero Group of Ludhiana considered some new products in the personal transport product. They chose to add a four-stroke motorcycle which is not considered highly lucrative at that time as compared to the scooter.

Many professional people questioned the efficacy of this decision from Brij Mohan Lall (Founder of Hero Group). On this, Lall, the chairman of Hero Honda Motors replied that future personal transport will be dominated by motorcycles and not by scooters.

In the age of increasing fuel prices and speed-oriented transport, motorcycles would have an edge over scooters. 

We can see very easily how much true this perception has been. Presently, motorcycles have overtaken scooters by a big margin. And Hero Honda company has become the number one motorcycle manufacturer.

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Human Skills 

Human Skills also referred to as human relations skills or interpersonal skills.

Human Skills can be defined as one’s ability to work effectively with others on a person-to-person basis and to build up cooperative group relations to accomplish organizational objectives.

Management in process of getting things done with and through people and no manager can be effective without suitable human skills irrespective of his being technically and conceptually competent.

Human skills are required for the effective performance of the following Managerial Roles:

➤ Disseminator: Every manager disseminates and interacts on a daily basis with his superior, subordinate, and outsider. To make this communication effective, the manager must have good interpersonal skills so that he can understand others and make himself to be understood by others.

➤ Group Communication: Managers interact with others as a member of groups. Such groups may be constituted either formally by the organization in the form of various committees and workgroups.

A manager will be effective as a group member only when he has the ability to understand other group members and to make himself understood by these members.

➤ Empathy Monitoring: Every manager communicates with others frequently. These people may be from within the organization or from outside.

Every manager must have the ability to be ’empathic to understand others’ views in the right perspective as a good listener besides a good orator. This ability is very important for making communication effective.

➤ Leader: When a manager directs his subordinates, he does not only use his formal authority because of its obvious limitations but relies more on his leadership ability. By doing this he gets the willing and enthusiastic efforts of his followers for achieving organizational objectives.

Therefore, It is essential for a manager to must have emotional stability, empathy, objectivity, and the ability to influence others.

➤ Negotiator and Motivator: It is essential that managers motivate their subordinates properly, so the best result can be achieved. It is the responsibility of a manager to create such an environment in which people may have the perception that they will be able to satisfy their needs by working in the organization.

Therefore, the manager should be capable to understand the needs of his people and the way these needs may be satisfied.

➤ Disturbance Handler: Conflicts may arise in the organization between two persons, in the group, or between two groups. If such conflicts are not resolved amicably and within the given time frame, these may disturb organizational inefficiency.

Therefore, a manager must have the ability to resolve conflicts and disturbances appropriately. For this purpose, the manager must be a good compromiser, smoother and negotiator.

All the above human skills can be learned and developed by an individual or Manager by going through appropriate literature and practicing accordingly.

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Technical Skills

Technical Skills are concerned with what is done, it shows an ability to use tools, procedures, or techniques in a specialized area.

These skills pertain to knowledge and proficiency in procedures, methods, and techniques which are used in doing work.

Matthew Boulton has called these skills hard skills and is easily visible in a person.

Technical skills learned by Accountants, Engineers, Managers, Operators, and other persons are developed by the actual practice on the job.

For example, the person who is responsible to maintain files and records in an organization must have technical skills relating to how files are maintained and he learns this through practice.

For managers, technical skills are required for the effective performance of the following managerial roles:

➤ Managers are responsible to maintain workflow in the organization. The workflow involves the initiation of actions, that is, who will initiate action and who will receive it.

For example, in an organization, one person gives materials to another person, initiation of action, and other people receive it. For directing workflow, managers must have technical knowledge of the work concerned.

➤ Managers are responsible to maintain order in the work system. that is there should be a place for everything and everything should be in its place. For maintaining an effective order system, the manager must have knowledge of the work systems and workflow.

Managerial Skills Summary

  • Technical skills deal with things,
  • Human skills deal with people, and
  • Conceptual skills deal with ideas.

Every person has all these skills in varying proportions depending on the structure of his brain and the environment he lives in the case with managers.

Every manager is required to possess these skills in varying proportions depending on the nature of his functions.

Since managers at different levels perform different types of functions, as discussed earlier, managers at different levels require different skills. Generally, as one goes up higher in the organization level, one needs conceptual skills more.

Besides these three skills, various writers and researchers have provided other skillsets for various levels of management.

Top Management Skills

In the competitive world, much attention has been focused on the skills and their development in top-level management because it is the major driving force in an organization.

Osmond has identified 8 specific skills required for a top-level manager.

These are skills relating to; 

1. Balancing,
2. Integrating,
3. Setting priorities,
4. Setting and developing standards,
5. Conceptualizing,
6. Leading,
7. Matching oneself with one’s job,
8. Delegating.

A recent survey of 90 global chief executives, conducted by Anderson Consulting, a US-based consultancy firm, shows that the chief executives require 14 skills.

Accordingly, a chief executive 

1. Thinks globally,
2. Anticipates opportunity creates a sharped vision,
3. Develops and empowers people,
4. Appreciates the cultural diversity,
5. Teamwork
6. Partnership,
7. Embraces changes,
8. Technological savvy,
9. Encourage constructive challenges,
10. Ensures customer satisfaction,
11. Achieves competitive advantages,
12. Demonstrates personal mastery,
13. Shares leadership and,
14. Lives the values.

In the Indian context, one such study of 125 chief executives has identified various relevant personal skills like 

  • Analytical skills,
  • Creativity, sense of high achievement,
  • Risk-taking aptitudes,
  • Business aptitudes,
  • Leadership;
  • Job-related skills such as corporate perspective,
  • knowledge of the external environment,
  • Outside contracts,
  • Planning process,
  • Accuracy in work

Middle Management Skills

In the middle management group, there may be managers at different levels placed between the top management and supervisors.

Usually, they are concerned with a particular functional area of the organization.

There is a tendency for faster movement of this group of managers.

Therefore, they require a variety of skills that must be relevant for their entire career. while at the lower end of the middle management, more technical and human skills are required.

Thus, the managers in middle management require

  • Human relations skills,
  • Leadership skills,
  • Motivating skills, and
  • Integrative skills.

Supervisory Management skills

Supervisors may also be further classified into front-line, intermediate, and senior.

Since they are directly concerned with operatives where the actual operations of the organization take place, supervisors should possess skills that help them to get things done by operatives.

Every supervisor in the organization should have sound technical knowledge of his field to provide;

  • Proper instructions and guidance to operatives,
  • Interpersonal skills to develop cohesive operative-management relations,
  • Accuracy in work,
  • Motivational skills for creating a proper work environment,
  • Communication skills for interacting with higher management.

Assess Your Managerial Skills

Given below are the skills relevant for effective managers. Find out the extent to which you possess these skills. Degree of skill possession has been indicated by 3, 2, 1 for high, medium, and low respectively.

Assess Your Management Skills

Management Skills Checklist For a Successful Manager

  • Analytical Skill
  • Creativity
  • Ability to withstand pressure
  • Initiative
  • Empathy
  • Emotional stability
  • Communication skill
  • Interpersonal skill
  • Integrity
  • Judgment
  • Hardworking
  • Leadership
  • Sense of high achievement
  • Risk-taking aptitude
  • Business aptitude
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