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Managerial Competencies: Core Skills, Importance & Examples

Kate Williams

Last Updated:  

30 May 2024

9 min read

Managers. It’s a helluva tough job, make no mistake, requiring specific skills, or in a more corporate jargon way, managerial competencies.

The word may be jargon, but it is crucial for any organization, big or small. The overall growth of everyone, including the organization, rests on the shoulders of competent managers. They are the glue keeping the bond between decision-makers and the rest of the employees strong. Some responsibility, eh?

How to acquire such manager skills and competencies, then? Well, that’s what this article is all about! And it’s time we start. So enjoy the read with a good cuppa. You’ll thank us later!

In this blog, we’ll cover:

  1. What is Managerial Competency?
  2. 6 Managerial Competencies
  3. Importance of Managerial Competency
  4. Managerial Competency Examples

What Is Managerial Competency?

Smooth business functioning requires competent people, from top to bottom. People with the mettle for taking responsibilities and performing or delegating efficiently.

Managerial competencies and skills are defined on similar lines. They are the skills, habits, motives, attitudes, and knowledge necessary for managers to have or inculcate for successful management.

A few managers naturally have all or most core managerial competencies. Thus, leading a team comes naturally to them. For the rest, it’s about developing them with time and effort.

But once done, managerial competencies promote better leadership and sustained business success. There are 6 such competency skills, and we’re talking about the next;

6 Managerial Competencies For Rockstar Managers!

Managerial competencies are the knowledge and skills that contribute to productivity in the workplace. Organizations choosing to evaluate managers or recruit them based on these skills will find growth easy to come by.

SurveySparrow is an excellent tool for evaluating manager skills and competencies. Here’s why:

  • You can automate your manager evaluations.
  • Seamlessly verify and validate their competencies.
  • Hyper-personalize L&D plans based on their strengths, hidden strengths, blind spots and areas of improvement.

Skeptical? Sign up for a full-feature free trial. No credit card details, please!

Below, we list the 6 core managerial competencies we’ve found to bring the best out of a manager in recent times.

  1. Powerful Communicator
  2. High Emotional Intelligence
  3. Effective Problem Solver
  4. Surreal Optimist
  5. Ultimate Team Player
  6. Visionary, In Every Sense

#1. Powerful Communicator

According to the International Data Corporation research, companies with a collaborative work environment see 30% less employee turnover, 30% higher productivity, and generate 30% more revenue than competitors. But what’s integral for a good collaborative environment at the workplace? Proper communication. And it starts with the manager or team leader.

Being a powerful, written and in-person, communicator, is essential for managers. A manager’s profile requires them to explain upcoming tasks, goals, and KPIs to team members. Once that is done, a manager should delegate tasks and give responsibilities. Then, they have to review all work and talk about the changes required, if any. And lastly, a manager should appreciate and recognize team members for their quality work. What’s the shared skill for all this? Effective communication.

See, planning and strategizing are crucial. But without communicating that effectively, how will the work happen? That is why organizations select managers keeping clear and powerful communication as one of the first managerial competencies.

#2. High Emotional Intelligence

This might be new to you, even though emotional intelligence is a crucial managerial skill. What is it exactly? It’s the capacity to be aware and in control of emotions when expressing at work to handle workplace relationships judiciously and empathetically. According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, emotional intelligence is in the top 10 job skills for 2020 and beyond, and rightly so.

Without high EQ, managers will act as bosses when they should communicate and work as a leader. It was a shock to see a global ignorance toward emotional intelligence before the pandemic. But now, in the post-covid world, employees only wish to work under managers who understand their problems and are empathetic towards them.

SurveySparrow’s employee 360-degree assessment solution lets you conduct feedback for managers. Based on the results, they can start working on their EQ levels. Smart work, what say?

#3. Effective Problem Solver

Officers in the armed forces are the best examples here. They have a special knack for working under immense pressure and solving problems one by one. Even when bullets are flying, they can rally troops to take decisive action.

Asking a manager to emulate the same skill would be too much. But it’s also a fact that all leaders solve problems consistently. So taking inspiration to be a decisive and proactive problem-solver like an officer will not harm. Effective problem-solving managers take proactive measures to address issues and avert conflicts. They organize teams to best tackle a task and trust them with specific goals.

An aspect that will clearly show if a manager is a competent problem solver for an issue is how they strategize for it? Looking at answers to these four questions will reveal that;

  • Are they strategizing for every possible outcome?
  • How have they planned to deal with the unexpected?
  • Does their strategy involve every team member’s strengths?
  • Is the manager willing to lead from the front or delegate most of the task?

#4. Surreal Optimist

Each person is motivated differently, which makes being an optimist one of the most important managerial competencies for a leader. The team members grasp what they see in their manager, and if he is pessimistic, the entire team will be the same.

Great managers get people together to take on a daunting challenge with a smile. They truly are surreal optimists who believe that if you think you can, you can!

You want such managers in your organization, and this core skill should be high on your managerial competency list.

#5. Ultimate Team Player

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” – Andrew Carnegie

Carnegie said this over a century ago, but it applies today also. For any company to succeed and achieve the unimaginable, teamwork is key. And the foundation for it is laid by the manager.

A well-oiled and loyal team is still worth its weight in gold! And it’s the manager who stems the importance of teamwork for everyone. He explains how everyone can achieve what they’ve longed for through teamwork? The growth, success, money, everything!

It takes time for its results to show, and patience is the key here. But believe us, it eventually shows up… in a grand manner!

#6. Visionary, In Every Sense!

Visionary, in every sense. What sort of a core managerial competency is this? We get your confusion, but hear us out.

Having a vision means your manager can outline a clear and vivid plan to accomplish objectives. It also means he’s open to creative ideas and innovation, questioning the status quo and implementing new processes when required.

A visionary manager is also the one who acknowledges how essential diversity is in the workplace? He works towards building a diversified workforce that values inclusivity and a shared culture.

So, one of the core managerial competencies to not miss out on is looking for a visionary manager. Someone who can take risks for the next level of growth.

SurveySparrow – 360 competency summary

Importance Of Managerial Competency

The heading says it all about why you should not skip this section! Let’s begin, then;

1. Quality Recruitment

Let’s use an example here:

You are a part of a fantastic college rock band that’s doing wonders. Suddenly, your lead singer leaves. What do you do, then? Look for a new lead singer based on the competencies defined for him. Here they are:

  • Remarkable showmanship
  • Full of energy
  • Great vocal range
  • Clear and clever writing
  • Ability to add visual excitement through dance moves

The benefit of using these competencies means recruiting a new singer would be a lot easier and more fruitful. Now, apply the same to your managerial recruitment. Set up the list of competencies to look for, and then begin the process. You’ll likely hit a jackpot with the perfect candidate!

2. Defined Expectations

One of the best things about defining your organization’s managerial competencies is how easy the goal-setting process becomes. You have a clear idea of how competent a manager is. With this knowledge, expectations become much more realistic to achieve for them.

Yes, the goals and targets should have challenges to develop their skills, but all-in-all, managers are satisfied with their organization’s expectations of them, and they have all the motivation to deliver.

3. Way Better Assessment

When the recruitment and expectations are on the lines of core skills, why would quarterly or yearly assessments be any different?

And when defined managerial competencies access and evaluate a manager, the process and the result are much, much better!

4. More Cohesive Culture

Diversity and inclusion are what every competent manager works to build the team around. That builds an environment where respect for different ethnicities and backgrounds flows naturally from the top to the entry-level employees.

That creates a more cohesive culture that stands together when things get shaky. And it all starts with a manager’s will to promote a diverse and inclusive workforce.

5. Enhanced Employee Satisfaction

Competent managers are god’s answer to your employee satisfaction woes. These managers know exactly how to get the best out of a team member while challenging him enough. They know when to give comfort and let employees play on their strengths and when to give complex work.

A competent manager is the first to help when an employee needs it and the last to take any recognition. With them around, the culture is such that everyone grows and gets recognized. And that enhances employee satisfaction multi-fold.

6. Spectacular Productivity

One of the core managerial competencies is strategy building and smart planning. Competent managers are masters at that. They strategize and plan so well that productive work becomes normal.

They give tasks based on a team member’s strength while challenging their skill set with something new and complex. If they can’t perform a task fully, these managers are there to help without letting the overall productivity dwindle. Pure class!

7. Consistent, Scalable Growth

What do you like more – A wave or a uniformly ascending line?

You might say wave here, but what if it’s your company’s growth trajectory?

No, nada, never. Even in the wildest dreams, nobody would want that. But organizations, knowingly or unknowingly, work towards this only! The primary reason – low managerial competencies. Either they hire without knowing the skills they want in their managers, or they don’t focus on training them for their shortcomings.

To get consistent, scalable growth, do the exact opposite. Hire and train with all the managerial competencies in mind. You’ll be in awe of the results after that!

8. Soaring Brand Image

What happens when your brand is consistently scaling new heights with a culture led by competent managers?

You’ll attract more customers and talented employees. This has been the norm in the post-pandemic world. People, both potential customers and employees, want to work with a brand that’s growing while valuing employee growth and satisfaction, too.

Managers with the right skills and competencies are to be thanked for this image, as they continuously promote teams to take on new challenges and training that drives them and the company forward while keeping an infectiously positive culture. That is what attracts people.

9. Future Ready!

The pandemic quickly showed that most organizations aren’t ready to face the unexpected. They might claim they are but aren’t in a way they should be. Staying future-ready is part of the workplace culture that stems directly from decision-makers, as they have the incentives to do that. But it continues and comes into practice with managers.

Proactive managers know how pivotal future readiness is for their company. In most cases, such managers don’t even wait for the leader’s nod to get started. They already have succession planning strategies, personalized training programs, and funds to test new tech and innovations.

We’ve kept this pointer at last when it could’ve come right at the top in demonstrating why managerial competencies are absolutely crucial for a business to thrive and in tough times, survive!

SurveySparrow – 360 report

3 Shining Examples Of Managerial Competencies

Before we wrap up here, it makes total sense to talk about the companies that benefit hugely from setting their core managerial competencies. These 3 organizations and there are many more, have developed crucial business functions around these skills and are reaping the rewards now. Here they are;

#1. Nike

Of the 3 we have here, Nike is the oldest, but it has always been a frontrunner in adapting to new technologies and ways of working.

However, Phil Knight, the founder, always gave due importance to hiring managers that match Nike’s philosophy and core skills. Even the initial employees were hired keeping that in mind.

The result is that with time, Nike has grown to become one of the most trusted sports shoes and apparel brands.

The distinctive competencies of its managers that led to Nike’s success were:

  • Focus on innovative design and durable products
  • Consumer-first approach
  • Open to diverse and vibrant teams with one goal
  • No haste in decision-making
  • Emphasis on research before production
  • Quality manufacturing standards

#2. Apple

Apple’s managerial competencies have always revolved around giving the best experience and services to customers. From the product design to after-sales support, Apple’s managers make sure the customer experience is never faltered.

So when consumers invest in its products, they are investing in a brand that never compromises customer experience, support, and benefits. The other managerial competencies of this iconic behemoth are:

  • Acceptance of new tech
  • Focus on experimentation
  • No conflict decision making
  • Merit-based recognition system
  • The customer is always right’ mindset
  • Start-to-end roadmap for new products

#3. Amazon

Amazon is the first choice of consumers for almost all kinds of online purchasing. From electronic gadgets to kitchen essentials, they have everything in their marketplace. And then there’s Amazon’s cloud computing service arm AWS, which is a market leader in its segment.

It won’t be wrong to say that Amazon has thrived in every field it has entered, and they continue to do so. Its managers and team leaders have been and are at the forefront of all this success. Here are the core competencies they possess;

  • Hyperfocus on brand-consumer relation
  • The knack for finding innovative ways for processes
  • Self-sufficiency
  • Premier customer service
  • Quick conflict/issue resolution
  • Utilizing individual strong areas to the fullest

Ending Note

Being a manager requires the right skills. Period.

That is pretty much clear. But can’t you train for these managerial competencies? Of course. But as a decision-maker, you first need to know where exactly your managers are lacking.

Enters SurveySparrow. Its employee 360-degree assessment solution is the answer. You can conduct self-assessment or peer and leader reviews for managers to find what exact skill they need training for. Designing an effective training program then becomes a cakewalk.

Apart from this, talk to them. We’re sure your managers are doing their best to help the organization grow. As such, it’s normal for them to miss out or ignore one or more of these six core skills. But when you have a candid discussion about that, they’ll make changes in no time. Changes that will deliver results!

With that, we’re wrapping up here and encouraging you to leave a comment under the article and start a discussion. For any help, find us here 24/7. Ciao.

Kate Williams

Product Marketing Manager at SurveySparrow

Excels in empowering visionary companies through storytelling and strategic go-to-market planning. With extensive experience in product marketing and customer experience management, she is an accomplished author, podcast host, and mentor, sharing her expertise across diverse platforms and audiences.

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