Seven Skills All Managers Need to Know

For ambitious individuals, becoming a manager is one of the critical steps that they’re aiming for in their career.

Women becoming a manager

Once you begin managing, you begin to learn a whole new skillset – one that requires people skills, organisation, and the ability to jump between tasks quickly and efficiently.

To continue climbing the career ladder after becoming a manager, you need to take these new responsibilities in your stride, showing that you have what it takes to become a senior manager.

In this short guide, you’ll learn seven of the critical skills that all successful managers need in twenty-first-century business. 

People Skills

The first and foremost of the skills that managers need to get to grips with are those that involve people. Whether you’re giving feedback on a piece of work, disciplining an employee who has acted out of line or motivating your team, your people skills will determine the success of your managerial career. 

The wonderful thing about people skills is that no one is born with them: they are learned – and therefore, the more you focus on them, the better you’ll perform in your face-to-face business encounters.

To build your social skills, ensure that you never shy away from an opportunity to speak and interact with people, and always volunteer for activities that involve public speaking or talking with colleagues, clients, and customers.

Experience is the best way to learn people skills.

Digital Skills

With the world of business entirely transformed in the last thirty years, modern business is all about the digital world. There are digital apps and websites to manage, and digital data to interpret. There are digital marketing teams to lead, and digital sales figures to inspect.

If you’re not trained in how all of these skills work, you’re unlikely to be able to offer sage and sound advice to your workers as a manager – and you’ll lose the respect of your colleagues, too.

If digital skills don’t come naturally to you, or you’re struggling to keep up to date with developments in the world of digital business solutions, you should spend some of your leisure time getting up to scratch with these new technologies.

That way, you’ll be completely switched on when talking to your different departments about the digital side of their work.

Coaching and Teaching Skills

A manager is not a teacher and nor are they a coach. They have several obligations that mean that they’re not a full-time tutor to their employees.

But, nonetheless, there’s a specific social skill that managers benefit from in business, and that’s the ability to show staff where they’re going wrong with their work, and how to work more effectively.

It’s in this sense that all managers should reflect on how they offer feedback to their staff, and how they show their team members how to perform specific job functions.

Learning these skills can take time, which is why a master’s course from Exeter University online can be a great bet, helping you to perfect your teaching interactions with colleagues and staff members.

Punctuality and Organisation

You need to lead by example as a manager, and one of the ways that you’ll do this is by presenting yourself exquisitely for every shift, being on time for all of your meetings, and showing off your excellent organisation skills.

If you’re a beacon of good work practices, your staff will respect you, and imitate your skills in this area.

As such, you should always concentrate on how you’re coming across to your employees. You should always remain professional and trustworthy so that your staff can come to you with their issues, confident that you’ll be able to spend time helping them.


While empathy certainly falls under ‘people skills’, it’s deserving of a section all to itself. That’s because it’s through empathy that you’re able to manage each individual under your care.

Empathy shows us the emotions of the people around us, allowing us to understand how they feel, which in turn explains their actions.

In business, and as a manager, being able to instinctively feel how someone else is feeling can help you get them the help they need quickly.

If a member of staff is struggling, it’s your responsibility to help them. If a colleague is just having a bad day, you’ll know to give them a wide berth. These skills help maintain diplomacy and care in the workplace. 


Managers are often concerned with small details – like the productivity of their staff, the immediate daily tasks they’re asked to perform, and the slew of emails that need to reply to each day.

The sign of an excellent manager, under such pressured circumstances, is one who can also see a long-term and strategic vision, while concentrating on the small details of their daily work.

Such managers can set goals for themselves and their teams to work towards, in the knowledge that these goals and objectives will help them, and their company achieve their long-term vision.

As a manager, you’ll also be able to present these strategic thoughts to your superiors, helping them see your merits and your skills.

Ability to go ‘Above and Beyond’

We’ve already covered leading by example, by being organised and on time for all of your obligations while at work. But what about the tough times, when your staff are having to work harder than usual to meet targets and deadlines? It’s in these moments where you need to be most inspiring.

Indeed, going ‘above and beyond’ by pulling an all-nighter in your office, or working across the course of a weekend, may be the most important skill a manager can deploy.

Not only will this inspire your workers beneath you, but it’ll impress managers working above you, lading to your being considered for further promotions in the years ahead. Be prepared to go above and beyond your duties to impress those around you as a manager. 

Managers will benefit from developing the seven skills outlined above – all of which are designed to help you succeed in your career going forwards.