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Management skills

Management skills

Author: James Howard

This lesson explains the major management skills needed for effective leadership.

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Management Skills

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Hello and welcome to this tutorial on management skills. Now, as always with these tutorials, please feel free to fast forward, pause, or rewind as many times as you need to get the most out of the time you're going to spend here. So let me ask you a question. What does a manager do? And if you were running a company, what skills would you like to see in a manager that you were going to hire for your organization?

Well, today in this lesson what we're going to talk about are management skills. We're going to give some examples of those management skills. And lastly, we're going to consider small business, those small business considerations.

So management skills. Well, managers must have a variety of skills. They have to balance a lot of different things. And in order to do that, they need a lot of different skills.

They're going to need technical skills, the ability to do a particular job. And in the modern world, this is going to be more and more important as the world gets more and more technical and technologically advanced. They're going to need to have human relations skills. They're going to need to be able to interact with other people. As a manager, part of your job is managing other folks.

You're going to have to have conceptual skills, or the ability to conceptualize these complex issues. For instance, you need to be able to explain effectively to an employee things that are much, much bigger than their position within the company. You're going to need to have good decision-making skills, and the ability to make sound decisions and do it quickly.

And lastly, you're going to have to have time management skills, or the ability to plan out a schedule and use that time effectively as well as execute the plans that you're given. As an example, IT managers, for instance, might need technical skills, or more of them. But they're still going to need all these other skills in order to do their job effectively. Well, let's take a look at a couple of examples.

Let's go back to this IT department, this IT manager. If I were going to work for Apple Computer, I would definitely want to have those technical skills I needed in order to do that job effectively. Can you imagine going and becoming a social media manager for a company, and not knowing what Twitter was, for example?

Now let's take a look at human relations skills next. As we said before, all managers are going to need these. Imagine managing a classroom of students. If you don't have good human relations skills, you're not going to be able to do that effectively and get your message across to the folks in the classroom. Imagine-- or maybe you've had-- a boss that shuts the door and never comes out and never says anything to the employees. He's not being a very good manager, and he's not conceptualizing those skills and giving the people the direction that they need.

Conceptual skills, the ability to take these bigger, bigger concepts and break them down so that everyone can understand these things. Let's say you're working for a company, and they come up with this big, huge, wild plan that's all over the place. And you have this very, very large part of it. You have several employees, and they play a smaller part in this bigger plan. Now, they may need to know the goal for the plan that the bosses have given you, but they don't need to know all the details of every single thing. It is really complex, like the theory of relativity, for instance. It's just that, that big.

Well, someone with good conceptualizing skills will be able to take that and break it down into something that everyone can understand, and they'll understand their part in the bigger picture. If you don't have skills like this, the employees that you manage, no matter how good your human relations skills are, are going to be lost, and you're going to end up missing the target that you're aiming for.

Good decision-making skills, of course, are going to be important. Back in the Civil War, there was a general named General Meade. Now, General Meade was the head of the Army of the Potomac around 1864. And he was a great organizer. He had good organizational skills. He had great technical skills, and he was able to conceptualize things to his troops. The problem was, he couldn't make up his mind when to attack and when not to. And the Confederate army kept slipping away from him in these different battles.

So the President, Abraham Lincoln, decided to fire him and put somebody in charge who was better at those decision making skills. In this case, it was General Grant. Now, General Grant wasn't as good at some of the other things that General Meade was, but one thing he had in spades was decision-making skills. He knew when to attack and when to oppress the attack. And because of this, the Civil War ended a lot sooner than it might otherwise have.

And lastly, you've got to have good time management skills. Imagine you're the manager of a retail store. One of your jobs is going to be making sure that the schedule is filled out every week. And you have to set time aside to do those things. Having good time management skills will not only allow you to fill out that schedule more effectively, but it'll also make sure that you have time to do all the other things you have to do and make sure the schedule's filled out.

Imagine one week that the schedule wasn't filled out. Can you imagine all the employees wondering when they're supposed to come to work and when they're not, and you have this store empty at times and everybody there at other times? It would just be a big mess. So you can see now how it's important for a manager to have every one of these skills.

Now, for small business, managers are going to have several of these skills. But you know what? They may not have them all. Ideally, of course, you should have some of these. But primarily, this is going to be because you're going to have fewer resources to pull from, fewer employees to make those managers from. Also, generally small businesses have fewer managers to begin with. So making sure you have ones with all those skills or as many as you can is going to have a big, big impact on the success of your business.

Because you have these few managers, and maybe not all of them have all these skills that they need, some businesses may be lacking critical skills, like technical skills or human resources skills. And it's going to be very, very hard for the small business to make up those shortcomings with their managers.

So what is it we learned today? Well, we talked about management skills, those five management skills that every manager should have. Technical, human resources, conceptual, decision-making, and time management skills. We looked at a few examples of what happens when you have these things in abundance, and what happens when you're missing a piece of them.

We also looked at small business considerations, and how it's harder for small business because, well, they have fewer employees, so they have fewer managers. And they're required to have a lot of different hats at the same time. I want to thank you as always for spending some time with me today. You folks have a good day.