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Manager skills represent the knowledge and abilities an individual uses to complete his or her responsibilities. Though a bevy of skills may be necessary to run a company or fill a management position, a few skills often rise to the top for managers. Successful managers typically display both hard and soft skills. The most important manager skills include an ability to manage differences and change, a strong strategic vision, an ability to motivate, and decisiveness. A mix of these skills is often present or necessary in most management positions.
Hard manager skills represent the technical competencies an individual has to complete tasks and activities. Accounting, marketing, Six Sigma, or corporate finance skills are among the most common. Soft skills are more interpersonal in nature when compared to hard skills. Communication, negotiation, and motivation are among the most common soft skills used by managers.
Managing differences is an essential skill because managers must often handle a wide array of issues in a company. Regional, personal, and language differences are often among the most common in business. Many times, a manager will not know what issues will arise during his or her day. The ability to manage any items from a wide array of possibilities places this skill at the top of a potentially long list.
A secondary ability in managing differences is managing change. Though these may seem like extremely similar manager skills, there are several differences. Managing change is the ability to alter business operations to keep a company relevant in an economy. Change is not easy, and it often takes strength and leadership to navigate a company though these times.
Strategic vision requires a manager to look forward, not backward. Rather than continuous focus on past success, manager skills must include the ability to look at forward possibilities. These can be new technologies, future product lines, and other issues that can affect a company. A manger must be able to create a vision and articulate it toward successful business operations.
Motivation is among the most common soft skills a manager will use with employees. Individuals may be unprepared or not willing to complete a project. Managers must find a way to encourage and motivate these employees to complete required tasks. Motivation is either internal or external, such as making positive comments or providing bonuses for the hardest workers.
Decisiveness is another skill necessary for management decision making. Rather than simply continuing the analysis phase, manager skills dictate quick decisions once all information is on hand. Decisiveness is also necessary to make changes in a situation when new information arises. This ensures that a company is always prepared for the variety of issues that come up when managing a business.