Top 9 Skills You Need for a Career in Management

Top 9 Skills You Need for a Career in Management

Stephanie Lukins

Updated May 23, 2022 Updated May 23

Sponsored by IE Business School

Regardless of which industry or sector you want to work in, when you’re a manager there are a wide range of essential skills that you’re going to rely upon regularly. From being able to analyze data or understand operating software, to assessing budgets or managing projects and teams, the responsibilities can seem endless.

If you want to get your foot on the management career ladder, you might want to consider reading on to find out which soft skills you’re going to need to shine.

Leadership skills

Good managers lead, they don’t boss. Managers should be passionate and positive, define goals and targets clearly, while ensuring team spirit and motivation is high.

In 2018, the Chartered Management Institute published a report saying that 70 percent of employers believe that all students should study modules specializing in management, entrepreneurship and leadership. 

Fortunately, degree programs such as the Master in Management at IE Business School are designed specifically to equip students with all the skills necessary to help them get their foot on the management career ladder.

Ranked sixth in the QS Business Masters Rankings 2019: Management, the Master in Management program at IE equips students with the necessary foundations of management, business, finance and marketing, while fostering essential workplace skills including leadership, communication and forward-planning skills.

Communication skills

Communication skills are considered the most vital skill in any job role. As a manager, they are particularly vital though as you are the main line of contact between senior management and entry-level employees. It’s your job to ensure communication flow up, down and across the organization is transparent and honest.

Being able to relay issues between colleagues and employees is an integral part of being a manager. You should therefore be comfortable communicating with those higher and lower than you, whether it’s face-to-face in a presentation, or via email or telephone call. Well-established communication channels are critical when it comes to positive collaborations between teams, as well as ensuring no information is lost or misplaced.

Which leads us nicely on to the next top skill…

Interpersonal skills

It goes without saying that if you’re unable to establish positive professional relationships, you’re going to struggle in a managerial role. Your ability to empathize with, listen to, understand, and connect with your fellow colleagues and employees is critical as you work as a team to meet deadlines and targets.

Having a good sense of emotional intelligence is also key. This can help you understand others’ behaviors, attitudes and feelings, which in turn can help you to understand how best to approach a situation and adjust plans accordingly.

By contrast, you should also be open to feedback and other points of view, remaining diplomatic and respectful at all times.

Commercial awareness

It’s crucial you have a thorough understanding of the marketplace, as well as the industry/sector you work in. Whether it’s healthcare, media and entertainment, or finance and banking, you’re going to need to have the required business expertise to help your organization be a success.

Students who study the Master in Management at IE Business School can take part in the insight-2-innovation Consulting Lab, collaborating with industry professionals to come up with innovative, customer-centric solutions.

An awareness of what’s happening in the world of politics and economics is also necessary, as these factors can also have a significant impact on the organization’s performance. Knowing who your competitors are, and how they operate, is also imperative.

Creative problem-solving and effective decision-making skills

Being on the ball and able to respond quickly to problems in the workplace, no matter how big or small, is crucial. Should a crisis situation arise, it’s the manager’s job to be resilient, agile and adaptable as they look to resolve the problem promptly and efficiently.

Organization skills

As a manager, you work hard to ensure all areas of the organization are run like a well-oiled machine. Good managers excel at juggling multiple responsibilities on a daily basis, such as implementing guides, organizing resources, outlining plans and scheduling meetings, all with the aim of driving delivery and meeting targets.

By prioritizing workloads and knowing how to manage your time effectively, you will ensure deadlines are met. This is also where your delegation skills come into play as you share the workload and responsibilities between your team, which allows others the opportunity to improve their own skills and knowledge.

Negotiation skills

Negotiating in a managerial role is inevitable and is something you will probably end up doing on a daily basis, no matter how big or small the deal may be. It is absolutely possible to learn to negotiate, but it does take a lot of practice, so best get started now!

Forward planning skills

It’s all well and good being concerned with what’s happening in your workplace today, but managers always need to be looking at the bigger picture. As you review the organization’s current policies and plans, you will need to contemplate what plans are necessary in order to achieve its long-term vision and goals.

As you do this, make sure to keep in mind what is actually achievable. The last thing you want is to not be able to deliver what you’ve promised.

This article was originally published in August 2019 . It was last updated in January 2020

Written by

As the sponsored content writer for and , Stephanie creates and publishes a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. She attended the University of Portsmouth where she earned a BA in English Language and an MA in Communication and Applied Linguistics. 

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