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General Management:
Skills and Talents Required

Most managers have both a specialized background and a set of managerial skills. You need expertise in a specialized activity, such as marketing, operations, or manufacturing to get started. As you work your way up from an entry-level position and demonstrate potential for learning and achievement, and gain managerial skills, you can earn promotions into managerial ranks.

To become a manager you must demonstrate competence in three areas: technical, human relations, and conceptual skills.

  • Technical -- knowledge and understanding of the mechanics of a specific job
  • Human relations -- understanding of people and being able to effectively work with people
  • Conceptual -- ability to think and see the relationships between various parts and the whole

Human relations skills are necessary for all levels of managers. As a manager, you spend the majority of your time with people and getting work done through people. Thus it is not too surprising that a core set of skills necessary to be successful center around interpersonal skills: oral and written communication, constructive listening, honest and direct dialogue, and sensitive to what motivates others.

As you move up the career ladder you will rely less on technical skills and more on conceptual skills.

Core Required Skills:

Communication Skills Very High
Flexible and Adaptable Very High
Energy Level High
Ability to Synthesize Very High
Work Ethic High
Honesty and Integrity High
Initiative Medium
Business Judgement High
Self Confidence Very High
Technical Skills Medium
Leadership Ability Very High
Decisiveness Very High
Problem Solving Ability Very High

Comments on Skills and Traits Associated with Success

Are You a Leader or a Manager?.
While a person may be successful in a first-line supervision job, that success may not translate to middle and top management. Top managers need excellent conceptual skills and the ability to see the big picture. Leaders are visionaries and have the ability to inspire and infect the entire organization with that vision. Look for passionate employees in firms with leaders.

Coach, Facilitator, Cheerleader.
Thought you wanted to be a manager so you could control, give orders, issue commands, and basically boss people around. Well you are out of luck. Today's successful managers empower employees, coach, facilitate, and are cheerleaders.

Cooperation and Negotiation.
As firms move from hierarchies to virtual organizations, strategic alliances, networks, joint ventures, modular forms, coalitions, and outsourced relationships managers increasingly a negotiations portfolio of skills to effectively manage these new forms. They need to be able to manage webs of networks, relationships, and contacts to successfully maneuver this new business terrain.

Can You Handle Complexity and Pressure?
Managers have increased pressures to produce high quality products and services in an efficient manner within a fast product cycle (The big three: QUALITY, COST, AND SPEED). After thousands of mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures managers find that their plates are full.

Teams, Teams, and Teams.
Managers today may find themselves in a team or managing a team. Managers need to be able to form and motivate teams. As firms strive to capture the entrepreneurial spirit the use of autonomous teams is increasing. Teams are now responsible for moving a product from the drawing board to the marketplace. Managers face new challenges finding ways to motivate, measure performance, evaluate, and reward teams. Managers that learn this art will be able harness remarkable creativity and spirit.


"Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it."

Dwight Eisenhower


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