What are the most important skill for a manager ?
In order to perform various management functions effectively, managers must possess certain skills. Skill refers to practical ability or expertness in an action or doing something. From the very beginning of development of management thought, both management practitioners and researchers have emphasized different skills for managers. Therefore, the list of managerial skill is very long. Robert Katz has grouped various managerial skills into three broad categories: technical skills, human skills and conceptual skills.
Technical skills are concerned with what is done and primarily deal with things. These pertain to knowledge and proficiency in activities involving methods and procedures. For example the person who is responsible for maintaining file in an organization must have technical skill relating to “how files are maintained”. Technical skills are learned by accountants and engineers, time and motion study personnel and are developed by actual practice on the job.
Human skills, also referred to as human relations skills, are 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. Since management is a process of getting things done with and through people, no managers can be effective without suitable human skills irrespective of his being technically and conceptually competent. Human skills are required for effective performance of the following managerial jobs.
- Every mangers interacts on one-to-one basis with others-superior, subordinate, peer, and outsider. To make this interaction effective, the manager must have good interpersonal skills so that he can understand others and make himself to be understood by others.
- Every mangers interacts with others as a groups. Such groups may be constituted either formally by the organization in the form of various committees and work grouped or informally constituted by the group members themselves. A manager will be effectives a group member only when he has ability to understand other members and to make himself understood by these members.
- Every manager communicates with others frequently. These people may be from within the organization or from outside. For making communication effective, every manager must have ability to be empathic to understand others views in right perspective, a good listener besides being good orator.
- For directing his subordinates, a manager does not only use his formal authority because of its obvious limitation but relies more on his leadership ability so as to get willing and enthusiastic efforts of this followers for achieving organizational objectives. Therefore, a mangers must have emotional stability, empathy. Objectivity and ability to influence others.
- For getting best result from people, it is essential that are motivated properly. Motivated depends on people’s needs and their perception that they will be able to satisfy their needs by working in the organization. It is the responsibility of a manager to create such an environment in which people may have perception that they will be able to satisfy their needs. Therefore, the manager must be able to understand the needs of this people and the way these needs may be satisfy.
- Occasionally, conflicts arise in the organization. Such conflict may arise between two persons, in group, or between two groups. If such conflicts are not resolved amicably and within the given time frame, these may become dysfunctional leading to organizational inefficiency. Therefore a manager must have ability to resolve conflicts appropriately. For this purpose, the manager must be a good compromiser, smoother and negotiator.
Conceptual skills, also referred to as general management skills, are concerned with why a thing is done. These skills refers to the whole picture, to recognize significant elements in a situation, and to understand the relationship among these elements. Such skills are necessary to deal with abstractions, to set models and to formulate plans.
All managers in an organization need all the skills three skills though in varying proportion. At the lower levels of the organization, technical skills are more while at the top level, conceptual skills become more important. Though all the three skills more while at the top level, conceptual skills become more important.