Being an effective manager involves a lot more than just telling people what to do. People with the most successful management skills not only understand the needs of the organisation, but equally have a strong grasp on trends in the broader market and what it takes to help everyone work together effectively.

Here are some of the key considerations to make when preparing to move into a management role.

Leadership vs management skills: Understand the difference

Although the terms are often used interchangeably, leadership skills and management skills are not one and the same. While both involve problem solving, decision making, planning, delegation, communication and time management, leadership tends to focus more on motivating and supporting subordinates, while management is about organisation, driving success and “getting things done”.

With that in mind, not all good managers make good team leaders, and vice versa. Yet employees with the skills to be both an effective manager and leader are highly sought-after in most organisations, so it’s important to thoroughly evaluate your skills and acknowledge the difference between management and leadership.

Important management skills for any role

If you’re gearing up for a promotion to a management position, here are some of the key skills hiring managers are likely to be looking for.


The most successful managers can see the bigger picture and put actionable plans in place to achieve short-term and long-term goals. Often, this involves juggling many different moving parts and staying agile enough to be able to shift priorities as needed. This involves:

  • Organisational abilities
  • Time management
  • Process guideline creation
  • Logistical thinking
  • Project management


As a manager, you will often have the final say when it comes to making business decisions. This means you should be able to analyse situations with many moving parts and propose a solution even in situations where there is no clear cut approach. This includes:

  • The ability to analyse and parse complex issues
  • Strong research skills
  • Assertiveness
  • Communication skills
  • Critical and strategic thinking
  • Technical knowledge, in some cases


Although good employees can work autonomously most of the time, there will be situations when you, as a manager, will need to tell people what to do. Mastering delegation is all about giving clear direction without micromanaging. This includes:

  • Empowerment
  • Training and development
  • The ability to provide constructive feedback
  • Clear communication


Overseeing your team and the broader business is critical to be able to keep things running smoothly and rectify issues quickly before they get out of hand. This involves keeping an eye on everything from employee engagement to process efficiencies and budgets. Skills include:

  • Process management
  • Team and individual goal setting
  • Succession planning
  • Team building
  • Financial reporting and budgeting
  • The ability to monitor and interpret data


As cliche as it may sound, successful managers can genuinely think ‘outside the box’ to solve difficult business problems. This means being able to understand and analyse complex concepts, diagnose problems, and find creative solutions. Creative management skills include:

  • Abstract thinking
  • Imagination
  • Observation
  • Vision
  • Collaboration

Emotional intelligence

Good managers understand that different team members have different working styles, drivers, strengths and weaknesses. Effective management is about playing to people’s strengths and motivators and supporting each team member individually in bringing their best selves to work. Key EQ skills for managers include:

  • Empathy
  • Self-awareness
  • Perceptiveness
  • Active listening
  • Compassion
  • Humility
  • Self-management
  • The ability to see things from different perspectives
  • Flexibility

With these essential management skills in tow, you’ll be in a great position to make a strong case for a promotion and move up to management.

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