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Core Management Skills


I know this should be the simplist question in the world to answer, but I've answered it so many times myself I just wanted to check that things haven't changed.

I've been asked to pull a proposal together for a basic management development programme of which the first part should include 'Core' Skills aimed at Managers at all different levels.

I'm interested to find out what your thoughts are on what these core skills should be.


David Lumley

10 Responses

  1. Management Development – skills
    What goes in a programme should depend on what results you want to achieve. That said, if you want a generic list of the most typical skills – those that are relatively timeless and cut across most contexts – I’d have a shortlist of:
    People & Performance Management
    Financial Management
    Strategic Thinking
    Business Skills

    Inevitably there is a longer list that might range from project management to process improvement and psychology to planning (and that is just the ‘P’s).

    In a true development programme I’d be looking to include, possibly, coaching, back to the floor, stretch assignments, action learning or rapid consultancy exercises. This would be to both extend their thinking and learning experiences whilst also rooting them in real life with a focus on valuable, practical outcomes.
    By taking this approach topics become less of a focus and themes start to emerge. Amongst such themes I’d expect to see innovation, collaboration, efficiency, customer, stakeholder & employee engagement, individual behaviour change and organisational effectiveness.
    Which only goes to reinforce the idea that management development is a continual process – and needs continual support and learning opportunities – it is not a one-off course that people can simply tick off.
    Best of luck

  2. Competencies
    Hi david
    Firstly, broad competencies are open to subjective interpretation.
    Secondly, broad competencies are difficult to define and therefore to measure.
    Thirdly, broad competencies ignore context.
    Move towards a contextual interpretation of what is needed in terms of skill, attitude and ability and then move up to a broad competency for your organisational situation.

  3. Leadership skills survey
    I came across an interesting research a while ago. A number of qualities where identified for managers and a survey was distributed across several companies to see what general staff thought of key skills a manager should have.

    There skills were:
    Energising People

    Go ahead. Vote in your head before reading further.

    The result was interesting. It turned out that it seems leadership, above all, is about vision. I think this a an absolute critical factor that some may miss to recognise. In troubled companies, most people vote for competency. It’s probably because they can’t see beyond this to see that the real issue might have been the lack of vision 5 years ago that got them to this mess.

    I my experience, this discussion is a great start to a leadership course as it gets people to think. We have leadership skills training materials for this if you are interested for more content.

    Hope this helps.

  4. Core management skills
    Hi David,
    In my experience these are the most useful items for inclusion:
    leadership, change mgmt, coaching, team development, effective meetings, interviewing,communications, benchmarking, problem solving, quality, creativity, budgets, motivation, appraisal, delegation, process improvement, presentations, impact, risk assessment, time management, well-being, negotiation, measurement, incident mgmt.
    depending on the type of busines they can determine their own priorities.
    Hope this stimulates some thought,

  5. Core skills for managers
    Hi David

    In the management development programmes that I deliver, I focus on the following topics for every manager, no matter what level they work at:

    – communication skills
    – emotional intelligence
    – leading and influencing
    – understanding people and performance

    I find that many managers have themselves had bad experiences of being managed and I like to remind people of the really important and powerful aspects of management. If they get these things right, they will probably find that almost everything else comes right as well. Hope this helps.

    [email protected]

  6. Modules on MDP


    The Management Development Programme (MDP) that I created for a contact centre was aimed at front line staff and supervisors who wanted to get into management. Following an assessment centre they attended 10 modules covering:

    -Role of a Manager
    -Time Management
    -Motivation & Incentives
    -Data Analysis
    -Team Building
    -Presenting yourself positivily

    These sessions were one a month with pre and post course work that needed to be completed and graded, although this was purely an internal programme and not recognised by outside bodies

    If you would like to discuss, get in contact [email protected]

  7. Start at the Start
    Hi there David,

    I find that starting at the start is the best idea and module to put into a ManDev program – re-establishing the role of a manager is very important.

    New managers will appreciate that their roles will be defined, with the objective that they understand what thier role is and the qualities that make them excellent managers rather than jsut someone that manages a team.

    Current managers (are usually the ones that need the most development) may have forgotten about all thier ideas and what qualities make an excellent manager. A reminder of these things, if you can get them to listen and get it to hit home, is the most effective way to start your course. Get them thinking about the qualities they may have forgotten that they need, or have put to one side and only use occasionally. Drill down to why, and what the impact of that is, and then get them to explain the positive impact of the oppoiste.

    REMEMBER!!! – – – very very importantly that post course “work” or something that you can activly do that ensure they put the training into practise when they get back to the workplace is fundimental to the success of the training.

    Use positive evaluations (which are not so much evaluations but a spin on them -) mini reports (hate the word report – i prefer observations, or statements) – statements of what they have achieved because of the training, what impact it had, and what they found difficult to implament and why, and what could they do different.

    Something that promotes THEIR ownership, because it’s all too often that they go back to work, get extra tasks, try to ctch up and the time and promises they made in training get put to one side…

    May not be a specific answer to your questions, however i think the point is relevant to anyone thinking about designing these courses and how to go about it.


  8. Look at National Standards
    I’m not an actual trainer being in the field of managing and evaluating learning impact on business so the actual ‘content’ development isn’t something I would be involved in, just the measurement.
    From that point of view then, if I was being asked to ‘measure’ the impact of core management skills training, I would want to know
    a) what competences, behaviours and values were already in place in the organisation that managers are expected to attain and/or
    b) look at the Chartered Management Institute’s Standards as they set the national standard for all management/leadership across the UK?
    Hope that helps and happy to discuss further. Susan. [email protected]

  9. It has to be your own
    Your core skills either leadership or management must suit your organisation and take into consideration your internal culture, time and budget constraints. Do you wish recognition or not? Do you wish an assessment element?

    Your core skills will most likely be the five common leadership areas

    Personal Effectiveness, Leading People and Teams, Working Towards Goals and Targets, Influencing Externally and finally Thinking Strategically

    Then add on your management specific skills for your sector/organisation (QA, Policy, Customer Relations, Effective meetings, coaching, Developing Staff etc).

  10. thanks…

     A reminder of these things, if you can get them to listen and get it to hit home, is the most effective way to start your course. Get them thinking about the qualities they may have forgotten that they need, or have put to one side and only use occasionally. Drill down to why, and what the impact of that is, and then get them to explain the positive impact of the oppoiste.

    Panic Away


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