The skills of the manager

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The manager must have three main groups of skills: technical skills, people skills and conceptual skills.

Technical skills

The first group, thanks to which an ordinary employee becomes a completely different biological corporate species, are the so-called "technical skills". These are the basic professional skills specific to the respective profession and organization. If we are talking about a manager in a trading company, this includes sales skills, knowledge of the market and products, negotiation skills, inventory management, etc. These are the skills that make a person good in his profession. It is normal for an employee to be promoted to the rank of manager precisely because of his good technical skills. We must recognize that this approach makes great practical sense - a good salesman can teach his subordinates the necessary sales skills, a good engineer can control the work of his subordinate engineers, and so on. But is that enough? If you are a good trader, engineer, accountant, doctor and so on, is that enough to be a good manager? Practice gives an unequivocal answer - no! Fortunately, the practice still says that sometimes from good traders, doctors, etc. become good managers. But not because they were good at their profession and had the necessary technical skills, but rather nonetheless. Many are trapped to continue to be good professionals instead of becoming good project managers.

What do we need to know about technical skills? They are extremely important at the beginning of your managerial career, or rather because of them you become managers. Then, the higher in the hierarchy a manager grows, the less important they are for his development.

Conclusion for novice managers: You were chosen as managers most likely because of your good technical skills. It is clear that you have them, but now pass them on to your subordinates. And then forget about these skills if you want to develop as a manager. Do not lose them, support them, but do not advertise them and we remind you again - use them only as a last resort, rather as training of subordinates, rather than as a demonstration of competence. Reference:

Conceptual skills

Let's look at the top of the hierarchical pyramid in a large and successful organization. There sits a demigod. Well, he may not sit, but stand, smile and wave his hand in a friendly way, or even walk among people. Why is he so great and everyone admires him? Because he has what is described with the magic word "charisma"? No. Most likely because his organization is currently achieving excellent results. How did he help with that? Probably with his conceptual skills.
Conceptual skills, sorry for the twisted word, mean two things:

  1. The ability to predict
  2. The ability to think from a different point of view

It turns out that a good senior manager is not one, but two demigods - one can look to the future, and the other can enter the minds of others. Or something like that.

The senior manager most likely started as a junior manager

But he did not waste time developing and proving his technical skills. They are with him and he sometimes uses them sparingly, still being an excellent accountant, architect or merchant. But almost no one cares about that. Everyone expects him to be able to look ahead to the future and prepare the organization and people for the upcoming new events.
Imagine that you are working for a senior manager in the construction industry who foresaw the crisis because there were enough symptoms for it and even determined approximately when it will occur. Plus or minus some years, for such a forecast is also a good result. Therefore, his company has no financial problems, no frozen projects, and has good investments, including in other businesses that have been stimulated by the crisis. Sounds good, right? And now imagine that this manager even knew when the crisis would end. Check these case studies...

The ability to predict is like the mathematical operation of division in the Fish Primer, where it is said that "division is not a spoon for every mouth."

And what about the ability to think from a different perspective? Does this mean that every senior manager is a little schizophrenic? Things are far simpler and safer. Let's look at it through an example: The big boss often has different requests. The Marketing Director wants a budget for a new advertising campaign, because that's the only thing that will move things, the Commercial Director wants the same budget to be spent on bonuses to distributors and his own sales team, and the Financial Manager swears to the boss not to spend money on nonsense because it is still a crisis. So what should the big boss do? If he is lucky, he is not a marketing specialist, nor a good trader, nor a good financier, but he knows how to understand the different points of view of his managers and make the right decision.

Did you notice the note: "if you're lucky"? That's right, the Big Boss shouldn't have been good at any of these professions, because that can only stop him. And if he was good, he must forget him, ie. to get rid of his technical skills when making a managerial decision from such a high position. Because, if he was a good marketing specialist, he would probably prefer to give the money for a new advertising campaign (in the development of which, in a fit of utter stupidity, he would be personally involved), and if he was a financier, he would want to save it. And most likely, in both cases you will be wrong. Not because the third option is the right one, but because he thinks distorted, from a certain angle, according to his old profession. And now he doesn't need it, because his new profession is a manager.

Conclusion for senior managers: The higher you are in the hierarchy of an organization, the more you are expected to anticipate and properly evaluate the ideas of others. No one is born with these abilities, they are acquired over time, with the accumulated experience, practice and ability to give up the constant use of their technical competencies.

Skills for working with people

Another group of management skills remained, namely the skills for working with people. Unlike the other two groups of skills, whose importance changes as they grow in the hierarchy - technical ones decrease and conceptual ones increase - people skills are equally important at all managerial levels. It can be said that they are something like a ladder on which the manager gradually climbs up, and if the ladder is not equally strong along its entire length, it will inevitably break. As much as the skills to work with people include a lot of different things, we will not dwell on the details of their content. It is now important to emphasize the following:

People skills can compensate for some gaps and weaknesses in the other two management skills.

For example, the manager may not be the best technical specialist in his field, but with the right delegation and the presence of well-selected assistants (which is working with people), this shortcoming is compensated. It's even harder when you're on top and everyone is watching your actions. Then the competent assistants, supported by well-selected external consultants, can help the manager both correctly predict and accurately assess the various positions and points of view to make the necessary decision. And the cohesive team of the organization should be prepared to implement it. Does it seem simple and easy to you? That's right, but only as a description.

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