Management Skills And Organizational Hierarchy

A manager’s job is varied and complex. Hence, managers need certain skills to perform the functions associated with their jobs. During the early 1970s, Robert K. Kalz identified three kinds of skills for administrators. These are technical, human and conceptual skills. A fourth skill – the ability to design solutions – was later added to the above mentioned skills.

Technical Skills

Technical skills refer to the ability of a person to carry out a specific activity. In order to do so, one needs to have knowledge of methods, processes and procedures. Engineers, computer specialists, accountants and employees in manufacturing departments all have the necessary technical skills for their specialized fields. Technical skills are essential for first-level managers. For example, employees at the operational level work with tools, and their supervisors must be able to teach them how to perform the tasks assigned to them using these tools. First-level managers spend much of their time in training subordinates and clarifying doubts in work-related problems.

Human Skills

Human skills or interpersonal skills refer to the ability of a person to work well with other people in a group. It is the ability to lead, motivate, and communicate with people to accomplish certain objectives. Human skills are of paramount importance in the creation of an environment, in which people feel comfortable and are free to voice their opinions. These skills aid employees during interaction with their supervisors, peers and people outside the work unit such as suppliers, customers and the general public. These skills are important for all levels in the organization.

Conceptual Skills

Conceptual skills refer to the ability of a person to think and conceptualize abstract situations. It is the ability to understand and coordinate the full range of corporate objectives and activities. These skills are most important at the top management level, as top-level managers have the greatest need to see the “big picture,” to understand how the various parts of the organization relate to one another and associate the organization with the external environment.

Design Skills

Design skills refer to the ability of a person to find solutions to problems in ways that would benefit the organization. Top managers should not only recognize a problem but also suggest ways to overcome them. If they only see the problem, they become mere “problem watchers,” and will prove ineffective. Managers at upper organizational levels should be able to design a rational and feasible solution to the problem by considering the various internal and external factors.

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