Managers perform various activities which are complex and different skills are needed to perform these activities. A skill is an individual’s ability to translate knowledge into action. In order to be able to successfully discharge his or her roles, a manager should possess three major skills called technical skills, human relationship skills and conceptual skills.
1. Technical Skills
These include knowledge and proficiency in performing activities, involving methods, processes and procedures. It is the knowledge related to specified fields such as computers, engineering, accounting, manufacturing, etc… These skills are more important at lower level of management since these managers deal directly with people doing technical activities and they need to instruct, direct and supervise them. Technical skills are most important for team leaders and lower-level managers because they supervise the workers who produce products or serve customers.
Team leaders and first-line managers need technical knowledge and skills to train new employees and help employees solve problems. Technical knowledge and skills are also needed to troubleshoot problems that employees can’t handle. Technical skills become less important as managers rise through the managerial ranks, but they are still important
2. Human Relation Skills
Human skills are skills associated with manager’s ability to work well with others, both as a member of a group and as a leader who gets things done through other. Because managers deal directly with people, the skill is very important. Managers with good human relation skills would be able to get the best out of their people. Human relation skills include:
- To recognize feelings and sentiments of others
- To judge possible reactions and outcomes of different course of actions
- To communicate, lead, motivate and inspire people
Human skills are equally important at all levels of management, from first-line supervisors to CEOs. However, because lower-level managers spend much of their time solving technical problems, upper-level managers may actually spend more time dealing directly with people.
3. Conceptual Skills
These are skills to think and conceptualize about the abstract and the complex situations. This helps managers to analyze the situations and act accordingly to environment constraints. These skills are important to top level management. Conceptual skills, coupled with technical skills, human skills and knowledge base, are important ingredients in organizational performance.
Good managers have to be able to recognize, understand, and reconcile multiple complex problems and perspectives. In other words, managers have to be smart. Clearly, companies need to be careful to promote smart workers into management. Conceptual skills increase in importance as managers’ rise through the management hierarchy.
The below graph demonstrates importance of managerial skills to different managerial jobs.