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Conceptual Skills

The use of conceptual skills in the field of management cannot be stressed enough. In the article
below, let us take a glimpse at what these skills are and how they can be used.
Tagged Under: Management Skills
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What goes into making a good manager? Leadership skills, the ability to think straight under
pressure, and the trait of being able to come up with quick and practical solutions to problems.
Apart from these, one also needs excellent communication skills and a certain level of technical
skills too, in order to be a good manager. However, among the list of management skills, there
lies one particular group of skills that not all can master. It takes time and a deep understanding
of the principles of business and human resource management to develop them. They are
conceptual skills in management. To know more about these skills, read ahead.
What are Conceptual Skills?
Conceptual skills are probably some of the most important management skills. There are some
very basic principles behind conceptual skills. The inputs by people who are hired especially for
their exceptional conceptual skills often influence the decision-making process in an
organization, be it about something like a change in the employees dress code to something as
big as a revamped advertising campaign for a product. Some functions of these skills are
mentioned
below.
They
might
help
you
understand
it
better.
Establish Inter-relation
A person who has conceptual skills has the ability to carry out a detailed study of the possible
and probable inter-relation between various ideas and 'concepts'. It is a cognitive skill that
requires the person to have a deep understanding of what has to be studied, what can be ignored
and how to ascertain how much importance should be given to which concept. It also relates to
how to use the inter-relation between the various aspects of the matter and come up with a
concept or an idea to make it better. It is an integral part of how business management actually
goes
about.
Problem Solving

A conceptual person can combine problem solving with the practice of conceptualizing a
practical issue. For instance, if there is group of people who are opposing the construction of a
bridge near their houses, the person will go deeper into the problem, find out why it is so, how to
convince them without offering them just money, get them to understand how the bridge will in
no way harm the peace and harmony of their homes, and finally get them to agree to the
construction.
Study as a Whole
A conceptual person will not look at the organization as a part of the industry. Using this skill, he
will look at it as a whole. The main focus will be on how to study, analyze, and develop new
strategies that will enable the smooth and better functioning of the organization as a whole. He
may compartmentalize each section within the organization and come up with various concepts
to help them individually, but the overall progress of the whole organization is the ultimate goal.
Creative Thinking
Apart from problem solving, conceptual skills also play another very important part as far as
manager skills are concerned. This involves coming up with creative and innovative ideas and
concepts pertaining to the growth of the organization. For instance, a company needs to boost the
sales of its new product - a tangy tomato ketchup, with a hint of mint in it. A person with
conceptual skills is the one who will treat the 'increase of sales' as a concept rather than a
physical target. He will perform the important functions of management. He will study and
speculate, he will analyze and comprehend. He will then come up with a concept which will use
the distinct 'flavor' of the ketchup as its USP. As you can see from this, the person has come up
only with a concept of the flavor being different. The next step of forming a suitable
advertisement is the job of the ad department and the technically skilled managers will handle
the technical aspect of making the whole concept a reality.
You can come across conceptual skills examples in your day-to-day life too. They are not
restricted only to top level management in a big organization. They can be as simple as a child
wondering why clouds are formed and coming up with his own version of the reason.
Developing them is not difficult. You just need to hone the analyzing abilities that you possess.
Why Is Conceptual Competence More Important for Top Managers Than for Supervisors?

Managers are responsible for overseeing the overall division, delegating to supervisors.

Within a corporate organization, top managers and supervisors differ with respect to function,
authority and responsibility. Top managers need to be conceptual thinkers because they are
responsible for entire divisions, whereas supervisors are responsible for particular groups within
the division. The manager's job is developing strategies, methods and tactics, then conveying that
vision and associated objectives to supervisors. The supervisor is to implement the strategies and
ensure that employees efficiently execute and achieve objectives.

Managers Responsibilities
The manager is responsible for profitability and productivity of divisions within the company.
Managers must plan, staff and organize the division, using people with the skills, ability and
desire to make the division successful. Delegating authority is an important function of the
manager to ensure objects are implemented by supervisors as intended. Failure of the supervisor
and employees to successfully execute the plan and achieve specified goals is ultimately borne
by the manager.
Supervisors Responsibilities
Supervisors, who rank below and are under the direction of managers, have direct responsibility
for small groups but generally lack authority to hire or fire employees. Generally, supervisors
have experience in specific tasks or jobs, overseeing employees to ensure productivity and
quality standards set forth by the company.
Conceptual Competence
Conceptual thinking, according to Buffalo State College, is the "[a]bility to identify patterns or
connections between situations that are not obviously related, and to identify key or underlying
issues in complex situations." For an organization to be successful in a globally competitive and
complex environment, organizations must hire managers with the intellectual ability to visualize
what may not be apparent, then delegate to supervisors the task of strategy execution.
The Importance of Vision
Apple Computers began as a start-up company in 1976 under the management of Steve Jobs and
Steve Wozniak. They had a vision, or conceptual thought, that the managers of IBM, the largest
computer manufacturer in the world, had lacked. Jobs envisioned a computer in every home and
on every office desk across the world. IBM had failed to grasp the connection between
computers, people and information. In 2011 Apple is a leading computer manufacturer recently
listed as the most valuable public company in the world.
Managers Vs. Supervisors
For an organization to be successful, managers need to have greater conceptual competence than
do supervisors, because the manager is responsible for overseeing operations of an entire
division vs. the functioning of small teams. For the division to be successful the manager must be
capable of envisioning and understanding the primary objectives of each team within the division
and how those teams function together to produce the end product or service.
Why Is Conceptual Competence More Important for Top Managers Than for Supervisors?
Conceptual competence is the ability to envision a big picture goal and strategy and subsequently
offer direction and leadership in task implementation to achieve it. While managers and

supervisors at all levels benefit from conceptual skills, they are especially important for top
managers who provide overall direction for an organization.
Vision
A common leadership trait among top managers is their vision. They have minds that constantly
look ahead toward an end goal or company objective. This vision is what provides the
framework for the structure and actions of a company. Within a company, top managers
normally develop long-term vision and set the course for the company, while supervisors carry
out directives in leading their employees on that course.
Strategic Planning
Strategic planning is the periodic process of reviewing company plans of action and updating
them when necessary. For instance, a company may have a growth strategy of diversifying its
business by adding new product lines and services. Top managers normally lead in the strategic
planning process and then convey the tasks required to front line supervisors. They then carry out
directives with their employees by delegating tasks to each.
Broad Thinking
A major crossroads in business conception is taking big picture goals and strategies and outlining
how each functional department in the organization participates. This is a critical element of
conceptual skills that makes good top managers successful. They can effectively communicate
vision and strategy to get supervisors on board, and then explain how each functional department
participates in the process. For instance, top managers often involve human resource
professionals in strategic workforce development to ensure the company meets its talent needs to
carry out its goals and strategies.
Stability
A major reason top managers need conceptual skills more than supervisors is that this scenario
gives the company more stability. Rather than waffling around with new goals, strategies and
task roles, conceptually-skilled managers can keep the organization on the right track and make
minor tweaks in strategy and tasks as needed. Employees have more faith in their business when
top managers project a good sense of the big picture and the details of the operations.
Supervisors are looked to more for task direction and motivation of employees in completing
their specific job functions.
Interpersonal skill
The ability to communicate within an organization depends heavily upon people's interpersonal
skills. These are the tools people use to interact and communicate with individuals in an
organizational environment.

Interpersonal Skills
Violet Jones of Intestinal Distress Taco Restaurant has recently hired a brand new assistant
manager named Fred Beans. Fred has turned out to be an absolute nightmare supervisor who has
no social, communication or interpersonal skills.
Interpersonal skills are the tools people use to interact and communicate with individuals in an
organizational environment. There are seven main areas of interpersonal communication that
Fred fails at with his workers, and this has led to his immediate termination after working only
one month. The seven areas are:

Verbal communication
Non-verbal communication
Listening skills
Negotiation
Problem-solving
Decision-making
Assertiveness

Let's look at the case of Fred Beans to see what happens when employees do not have the
interpersonal skills needed to perform at work.
Verbal Communication
Fred failed miserably in verbal communication with his entire staff. The definition of verbal
communication is how and what words are used to communicate with individuals. It is the
ability to communicate through words with the correct tone and manner.
Fred's initial week with Intestinal Distress Taco revealed that he was not capable of good verbal
communication. He mumbled orders and then screamed when employees did anything wrong.
Most employees grew to dread working with Fred because they could not understand his
directions. He also was not a good non-verbal communicator as well.
Non-Verbal Communication
Another type of interpersonal skill is non-verbal communication, which consists of facial
expressions, body language and hand gestures. Fred only communicated with negative nonverbal communication, which consisted of frowns and angry stares.
All of the employees prefer Violet's professional demeanor as she speaks clearly and is animated
with positive non-verbal communication. She always has a smile on her face and uses her hands
to further explain complicated directions. Two-way communication is essential when developing
a set of excellent interpersonal skills.

Listening Skills
Fred also has very ineffective listening skills, which has led to a store crisis happening each
week. Listening skills are the ability to hear attentively and process information correctly. Fred
was not paying attention when one of the employees told him that they were low on taco meat.
Later that week, the store ran out of meat and had to close down temporarily until a shipment
was delivered.
Violet was furious at Fred's tendency to ignore important pieces of employee communication.
She quickly put him on probation. Fred's behavior continued to decline during the month.
Negotiation
Negotiation is the next type of interpersonal skill that is important to effective business
communication. This term means having the ability to discuss and reach an agreement in a
professional manner.
Violet excels in negotiation as the employees and customers are always complaining or asking
for favors. She is good at listening and discussing situations and then coming up with a fair
solution.
On the other hand, Fred ignores any request for discussions and rules with an iron fist. This has
caused his employees to view him as unfair and undiplomatic, especially when it comes to
solving problems.
Problem-Solving
The fifth type of interpersonal skill is problem-solving. This is a very important skill for
business people to have as constant problems are a common result within organizations.
The ability to find a solution to a problem after considerable thought is Violet's forte. She has
solved numerous issues for the restaurant, including how to increase monthly sales.
On the other hand, when Fred is faced with a problem, he ends up in a panic. Last week, a
customer complained about the quality of their taco meal. Fred took the complaint personally
and ended up calling the customer picky. Violet had to intercede by offering the customer an
apology and a few free meal coupons to use for the future. Analyzing options is another
interpersonal skill that Fred has yet to master.
Decision-Making
A manager has to be able to analyze situations and develop a professional solution within an
organizational environment. Decision-making is a key element of interpersonal skills.
List Of Interpersonal Skills: 10 Must-Have Attributes

April 7, 2014 by Will Gemma

The difference between good employees and great


employees is not always something you can put a finger on. If theyre a pleasure to work with,
why? If they exceed every expectation, what are their secrets?
The answer is as common as ever: interpersonal skills. But because these are technically soft
skills, which means the best way to attain them is to be born with them, they are extremely
valuable and require unique methods to learn. Following is a list of the most important
interpersonal skills an employee can possess. Start developing yours today with these 7 tools to
immediately improve your ability to communicate tactfully.
1. Verbal Communication
Yes, as opposed to non-verbal communication, which well address next. Within verbal
communication there are a number of other skills that well talk about later, too, such as listening
and questioning, but for now we are primarily concerned with effective speaking.
Effective verbal communication begins with clarity. This often requires nothing more than
slowing down and speaking more thoughtfully. Many people feel rushed to respond to questions
and conversations immediately, but it is better to pause for a moment in consideration, especially

if the question merits it. No one expects, or wants, a gun-slinging attitude in important
conversations. A thoughtful person is generally taken more seriously.
Rounding off this skill is the ability to stay calm, focused, polite, interested and to match the
mood or emotion of the situation. If this sounds like an overwhelming task, check out this
communication course that teaches you to speak smoothly, clearly and confidently.
2. Non-Verbal Communication
Non-verbal communication is largely underrated and underestimated. Those who can
communicate non-verbally can almost subliminally reinforce what they are saying verbally. They
can also exude confidence, or any other emotion they feel, not to mention respond tactfully to a
conversation without saying a single word.
Non-verbal communication is something that other people notice whether you are aware of your
actions or not. Your body language is constantly speaking. Everything you do or dont do says
something about you and how you are feeling. Your facial expressions (especially eye contact),
your posture, your voice, your gestures with your extremities and even the way you position
yourself physically in a room or amongst colleagues is constantly revealing your true attitude, for
better or for worse.
While controlling body language is no easy task, with this five-star course you can learn how to
interpret the body language of others while learning how to perfect your own non-verbal
communication skills.
3. Listening
This is the only appropriate way to follow two topics on communication. If non-verbal
communication is underrated, then listening isnt even on the charts. And yet without listening
effectively, how can we interpret and respond appropriately?
Even the best communicators can talk their way into a sticky situation. Read this Forbes article
on why most leaders need to shut up and listen. It provides explanations on why listening is
crucial to success and for tips on becoming a better listener.
Listening is so important that it is a bona fide field of theoretical study (a contradiction of terms,
but still). Communication can not be realized unless a listener completes the loop. Take a look
at this blog post on the elements of communication to learn more about how this works.
4. Questioning
Questioning is a lost art that can serve many purposes. Questioning is something that often builds
upon listening, but it is not merely a device for obtaining information.
Questioning is a great way to initiate a conversation. It demonstrates interest and can
instantaneously draw someone into your desire to listen. Smart questions show that you know

how to approach problems and how to get the answers you need. Fortunately, questioning can be
learned more easily than other skills on this list. This top-rated course on how to ask powerful,
emotionally engaging questions has all the advice you need.
Needless to say, its all about the quality of questioning. If you ask what are referred to as
closed questions, youre going to get closed answers. These are questions that elicit brief
responses, e.g. Did you like your dinner? Instead, you want to ask open questions, which
probe deeper, e.g. Where do you think we can improve our marketing collateral? Of course, if
youre at a cocktail party, some questions are better saved for the next day.
5. Manners
Good manners tend to make many other interpersonal skills come naturally. With business
becoming increasingly more global, even for small businesses, manners are more important than
ever. A basic understanding of etiquette translates to other cultures and their expectations.
We are all guilty of assuming people are less intelligent if they have sub-par manners. This same
judgement is reflected back on us by the people we interact with. Anyone who has visited other
countries knows how sensitive its residents are to visitors manners. Business-to-business
interactions function in much the same way.
6. Problem Solving
A rare day would be one without problems. What makes this a skill is not necessarily how
quickly you can solve a problem, but how you go about doing it. No plan is a guarantee, so there
is always an element of risk. Some people can weigh risk better than others.
The key aspects of successful problem solving are being able to identify exactly what the
problem is, dissecting the problem so that it is fully understood, examining all options pertaining
to solutions, setting up a system of strategies and objectives to solve the problem, and finally
putting this plan into effect and monitoring its progress.
If the problem is as simple as replacing printer paper, then obviously different measures can be
taken. Learn how best to apply your skills with this creative problem solving for business course.
7. Social Awareness
Being in tune to others emotions is an essential interpersonal skill. This dictates how many of
your other interpersonal skills should function. When we are concentrated on our own projects
and success, it is easy to close ourselves off from others problems or concerns.
Social awareness is crucial to identifying opportunities, as well. People will often unconsciously
test someones ability to respond to a social situation; for example, a person who is struggling
professionally will be desperate for help but, naturally, wary on revealing the fact that they need
it. Being able to identify something like this demonstrates that you are operating at a higher level
of social awareness.

8. Self-Management
Not all interpersonal skills are extroverted. This article discussing the ideas of acclaimed
Emotional Intelligence (EI) expert Daniel Goleman believes self-management to be one of the
pillars of EI and absolutely fundamental to leadership success.
Self-management allows us to control our emotions when they are not aligned with what would
be considered appropriate behavior for a given situation. This means controlling anger, hiding
frustration, exuding calmness, etc. Undoubtedly there are times to show your true colors, but
remaining composed is almost always the desired course of action.
9. Responsibility And Accountability
Responsibility and accountability are two reliable indicators of maturity. Saying you are going to
do something and then actually doing it is a sign of responsibility. This builds trust between
yourself and those they rely on you and it encourages others to seek your counsel and assistance.
Holding yourself accountable for your actions is one of the most difficult things to do, both
professionally and personally. This is also a crucial element of conflict management. When
conflicts arise between yourself and others, or when you have made a mistake or at fault, that is
when accountability becomes difficult. Admitting to your mistakes isnt enough. You have to
understand the situation fully and respond in a way that addresses the issue comprehensively (see
Problem Solving above).
Holding ourselves accountable tends to go against our instincts; this is definitely when the
flight instinct kicks in. Learn to take accountability with this class and see how it can change
the results you are getting at work.
10. Assertiveness
After all this talk of listening and respecting others, there is no denying the importance of being
assertive. However, this is also where you are most likely to offend or come off as too
aggressive. Being assertive is the only way to get your ideas onto a competitive table.
It also means standing up for what you believe it, defending your ideas with confidence,
instructing others on what needs to be done, etc. etc. etc. Im sure we are all familiar with the
fact that most people who ask for raises receive them; and yet very few of us are assertive
enough to make it happen. When used tactfully, assertiveness can gain you a kind of respect that
you wont be able to attain by other means.
A Beautiful Whole
Having a well-balanced repertoire of interpersonal skills will allow you to handle any situation
more gracefully. You need listening skills to balance assertiveness, non-verbal communication to
balance questioning, etc. Nobody is perfect and learning these skills will forever be a work in

progress. Still, you can get there faster with a little help: become a conversational master with
these 6 lessons for better communication.
Alot has been said about the importance of interpersonal skills. But just what are they, and
which ones are most important? Daniel Goleman states that "Emotional Intelligence" is even
more of a contributor to business success than IQ. In his groundbreaking book Working with
Emotional Intelligence, he says "On average, close to 90 percent of success in leadership was
attributable to emotional intelligence". Goleman defines Emotional Intelligence as having these
four competencies:

Self-Awareness: Being aware of your own needs, values and emotions and their impact
on your behavior

Self-Management: Keeping your emotional reactions in check and being able to behave
appropriately when you experience feelings that could result in destructive behavior

Social Awareness: Being in tune with other's feelings and needs

Relationship Management: The ability to build relationships based on mutual trust and
respect

In addition to the items above, the following interpersonal skills are important in order to work
effectively with other people:

The ability to manage conflict: Respectively managing differences of opinions and


seeking win-win resolutions

Problem solving: Choosing the best course of action while taking the needs and
perspectives of others into account

Communication: Speaking with clarity and directness while showing appropriate


sensitivity to the receiver

Listening: Being able to hear other people's perspectives while suspending judgment

Demonstrating responsibility: Doing what you say you will do, when you say you will
do it

Being accountable for your actions: Not making excuses or blaming others

Showing appreciation: Letting other people know you value them and their help

Flexibility: Being open to new and different ways of doing things

Personal Benefit of Strong Interpersonal Skills

There are several personal benefits that can be obtained by a person with strong interpersonal
skills. These skills are highly valued in the workplace and a person who possesses them is seen
to add great value. Additional career opportunities can open up as a result.
Summary
Possessing strong interpersonal skills is a strong predictor for career success. When you manage
or lead other people, it is especially critical to gain the Interpersonal Leadership Skills you
need. Our free report will help anyone working with others to gain the insight into the behaviors
of 4 different behavioral styles found in the workplace. This Guide to Interpersonal
Communication Skills at Work can be downloaded from the button below:
10 Reasons to Develop Your Technical Skills
August 4th, 2006 by Steve Pavlina
Something Ive rarely seen mentioned in personal development books is intelligent advice on
how to develop and maintain strong technical skills. At best youll see email, PDAs, and a few
other basic tools mentioned, but thats about it. Even children can use email though.
Solid technical skills are becoming increasingly important, and I dont see that changing any
time soon. While computers have become easier to use in many ways, the leading edge is more
complicated than ever. This complexity scares many people away from developing their
technical skills, but lets consider some of the reasons you may want to go beyond the basics.
Here are some of the advantages strong technical skills can offer you:
1. Enjoy significantly higher paying work.
Whether youre employed or self-employed, strong technical skills allow you to leverage
technology to the hilt, and that leverage pays. The better you understand the technology you use,
the more value you can efficiently extract from it. People gladly open their wallets to pay those
with in-demand technical skills.
2. Save money.
Youll save money every time you can solve a technical problem on your own instead of having
to hire someone at a high hourly rate. This can add up to substantial savings over time.
You can also save money by taking advantage of low-cost, high-tech solutions. For example,
using VOIP Internet phone service will save you a bundle over traditional phone service, and it
only takes a minor amount of technical skill to install. I actually disconnected my whole house
from the telephone companys lines, so I could use all the inside jacks for VOIP.
3. Save time.

Youll save time by solving technical problems quickly instead of scratching your head in
confusion. There are many technical problems that baffle novices but which require only a quick
fix from someone with adequate technical skills.
I find it unfortunate when a friend gets ripped off after taking their computer to a repair outlet,
when the problem could have been solved in a few seconds. Ignorance can be costly.
4. Prevent problems.
Youll prevent problems before they occur by intelligently maintaining and upgrading your
technology. Even a simple skill like keeping your video and sound drivers up-to-date can
prevent compatibility problems down the road, especially if you play computer games.
5. Reduce frustration.
Technology isnt particularly frustrating if you understand how it works. A lack of
understanding is frustrating. If something breaks, and you know how and why it broke, then its
just a fact to be dealt with rather than an act of divine cruelty.
6. Make intelligent technology purchases.
I dont know many geeks who buy their computers at retail stores. Its a lot smarter to buy
online if you know what to look for. Youll get better value, higher quality components, and
more control over the final product.
A fun project I did in 2004 was to build my own PC from scratch. I handpicked each component
and ordered everything online. I built the equivalent of a $2000 retail PC for about $900. I used
PriceWatch to find great deals on all the components, and I followed the step-by-step assembly
instructions from My Super PC. Ive been very pleased with its performance over the past
couple years.
Since technology depreciates so rapidly, and since component quality can vary widely, knowing
how to buy great value at a great price is a very practical skill. With most rapidly advancing
components like CPUs, hard drives, and video cards, theres a fairly narrow price-performance
sweet spot. Spend too little, and youre throwing money away on obsolescent goods. Spend too
much, and youre overpaying for imperceptible performance gains. Decent technical knowledge
can help you target those sweet spots with all your technology purchases, so you get the best
bang per buck.
7. Empower yourself.
I remember thinking how great it was in high school when I began using a decent word processor
while many other students were still using typewriters. Editing was certainly much easier, so I
got more done in less time.

Today its almost ridiculous how much technology can do. You can use your computer to
manage your whole life now, including your finances, your calendar, and your entertainment.
Knowing how to use technology can add tremendous richness to your life. But if you lack the
technical skills, youll probably find it way too complicated to extract this value in a reasonable
amount of time.
8. Access information efficiently.
Whenever you want to know something now, you can go online and get the information in
seconds. Sites like Google, Wikipedia, and WikiHow truly place information at your fingertips,
but it still takes a bit of technical skill to craft intelligent queries when youre searching for
something obscure.
Need to buy a new suit? Want to see what movies are playing near you? Want to become an
early riser? If someone has figured it out, its probably online. With an internet connection at
hand, we all become walking Wikipedias.
9. Earn money online.
This is one of the coolest benefits of technical know-how. With the right technical skills, you
can build your own income-generating web site. Your computer (or some online server) will
work tirelessly to make you money 24/7. Even if it just pays for your coffee, thats still better
than buying your own coffee, isnt it? If it fails, at least you learned something, and you can
certainly try again. But what if it really works? You might not need a job for the rest of your
life. That seems like a pretty good reason to go for it.
Given how disgustingly cheap technology is, I think its silly not to devote at least one of the
millions of machines on this planet to the task of paying your bills. Most computers are just
sitting there idle waiting for something to do, so put some of those resources to good use. Im
not talking about getting VC money and trying to make the next Google. My suggestion is to
start a simple web business you can run by yourself in your spare time with no expenses except
web hosting (no more than $20/month).
Ive been earning income online since 1995, and I love it. It does require some technical skill to
build an income-generating web site, but those skills are highly learnable, and its a lot easier
today than it was 10 years ago. (For example, see How to Make Money From Your Blog). Sure
I can write well enough, but without the technical skills to build traffic, this site would be a ghost
town. I do the creative work, technology handles the grunt work, and visitors benefit from the
value provided. Its a pretty nice system.
10. Feel more confident and comfortable with technology.
Competence builds confidence. As you develop your technical skills, youll feel more
comfortable with all forms of technology. This will encourage you to branch out and leverage
technology even more. You can listen to audio books on your portable MP3 player, take pictures

with your digital camera, and so on. Youll feel in control of technology instead of intimidated
by it.
The more technical experience you gain, the faster youll adapt to new technology. You may fall
behind the curve at some point, but youll quickly catch up with a few days research.
Like it or not, strong technical skills are of major importance today. Dont let yourself be caught
on the wrong side of the technology fence.
No doubt youre now wondering, OK, thats all fine and dandy, Steve, but how do I develop my
technical skills if I wasnt born a natural geek? Never fear Ill address that in a future article.
Skills You Need
The good news is that you can succeed and succeed spectacularly in your management role.
To do so, however, you must learn a new set of skills, including:

Delegation As a manager, you must know how to delegate tasks to your team
effectively. This will keep you from spending time doing things that should no longer be
your responsibility.
Briefing You need to keep your team up to date on their progress, what you expect
from them, and what will happen in the future.
Motivation Your team is now your responsibility. This means that you must keep them
motivated and moving forward. Our article Herzberg's Motivators and Hygiene Factors
will teach you how to discover what truly motivates your people.
Communication In your previous role, good communication might have been helpful,
but not vital. But now, as a manager, the ability to communicate well is essential to your
success.
Discipline At some point, you'll probably have to discipline someone on your team.
Whether a team member is breaking rules, under-performing, or upsetting others, it's up
to you to restore peace. Knowing how to discipline effectively and diplomatically is
key to keeping your team's trust and respect.
Recruitment If your team is changing or expanding, then you'll have to hire new
people , but finding the right new people can be difficult. Our Recruiting Skills BiteSized Training session will help you get better results with your recruitment efforts.

Tips for Making the Transition to Manager

Do a personal SWOT analysis Make a list of what you must improve to be a better
manager for your team. Many managers let others assess their skills, and then wait until
their performance review to discover what skills they lack. Don't make this mistake
spend time now identifying your weaknesses, so that you can start improving on them
immediately.
Stay away from technical work Resist the temptation to get involved with technical
projects that aren't your responsibility. Yes, you probably enjoy this type of work and
want to feel successful doing something you know well, but it's now your team's

responsibility. Spending too much time doing technical work will only hold you back as a
manager. Sure, it's good to pitch in when you can, but make sure that you do the
managing part of your role first.
Find a mentor Look for someone in your organization who has made a transition
similar to yours. A mentor can offer you some great advice on succeeding in your new
role, and help you avoid some of the mistakes that he or she has made.
Meet with every team member Make it a priority to meet with everyone on your team
personally. Find out what interests and motivates them, and check that they have
everything they need to be happy and successful in their role. This shows that you're
taking an interest in them, and it helps you get to know the people you're managing.
Find out what your team expects from you These expectations are often unspoken.
Our article on The Psychological Contract will help you learn how to discover these
hidden expectations.
Learn one skill at a time Acquiring a whole new set of skills for your new
management position can be overwhelming. Don't try to learn everything at once. Focus
on one skill at a time, so that you can learn each skill well.

Managerial Environments
A manager's environment is made up of constantly changing factors both external and internal
that affect the operation of the organization. If a new competitor appears in the marketplace,
the managerial environment is affected. If key clients take their business elsewhere, managers
feel the impact. And if technological advances date an organization's current methods of doing
business, once again, the managerial environment has to adapt.
Although managers can't always control their environments, they need to be aware of any
changes that occur, because changes ultimately affect their daily decisions and actions. For
example, in the airline industry, deregulation opened up the market to new airlines, forcing
existing airlines to be more competitive. Managers in existing airlines couldn't afford to ignore
the cheaper airfares and increased service that resulted. Not only did managers have to identify
the new challenge, but they also had to act quickly and efficiently to remain competitive.
External Environment
All outside factors that may affect an organization make up the external environment. The
external environment is divided into two parts:

Directly interactive: This environment has an immediate and firsthand impact upon the
organization. A new competitor entering the market is an example.
Indirectly interactive: This environment has a secondary and more distant effect upon the
organization. New legislation taking effect may have a great impact. For example, complying
with the Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to update their facilities to
accommodate those with disabilities.

Directly interactive forces include owners, customers, suppliers, competitors, employees, and
employee unions. Management has a responsibility to each of these groups. Here are some
examples:
Owners expect managers to watch over their interests and provide a return on investments.
Customers demand satisfaction with the products and services they purchase and use.
Suppliers require attentive communication, payment, and a strong working relationship to
provide needed resources.
Competitors present challenges as they vie for customers in a marketplace with similar products
or services.
Employees and employee unions provide both the people to do the jobs and the representation
of work force concerns to management.
The second type of external environment is the indirectly interactive forces. These forces include
sociocultural, political and legal, technological, economic, and global influences. Indirectly
interactive forces may impact one organization more than another simply because of the nature
of a particular business. For example, a company that relies heavily on technology will be more
affected by software updates than a company that uses just one computer. Although somewhat
removed, indirect forces are still important to the interactive nature of an organization.
The sociocultural dimension is especially important because it determines the goods, services,
and standards that society values. The sociocultural force includes the demographics and values
of a particular customer base.
Demographics are measures of the various characteristics of the people and social groups who
make up a society. Age, gender, and income are examples of commonly used demographic
characteristics.
Values refer to certain beliefs that people have about different forms of behavior or products.
Changes in how a society values an item or a behavior can greatly affect a business. (Think of all
the fads that have come and gone!)
The political and legal dimensions of the external environment include regulatory parameters
within which an organization must operate. Political parties create or influence laws, and
business owners must abide by these laws. Tax policies, trade regulations, and minimum wage
legislation are just a few examples of political and legal issues that may affect the way an
organization operates.
The technological dimension of the external environment impacts the scientific processes used in
changing inputs (resources, labor, money) to outputs (goods and services). The success of many
organizations depends on how well they identify and respond to external technological changes.

For example, one of the most significant technological dimensions of the last several decades has
been the increasing availability and affordability of management information systems (also
known as MIS). Through these systems, managers have access to information that can improve
the way they operate and manage their businesses.
The economic dimension reflects worldwide financial conditions. Certain economic conditions of
special concern to organizations include interest rates, inflation, unemployment rates, gross
national product, and the value of the U.S. dollar against other currencies.
A favorable economic climate generally represents opportunities for growth in many industries,
such as sales of clothing, jewelry, and new cars. But some businesses traditionally benefit in poor
economic conditions. The alcoholic beverage industry, for example, traditionally fares well
during times of economic downturn.
The global dimension of the environment refers to factors in other countries that affect U.S.
organizations. Although the basic management functions of planning, organizing, staffing,
leading, and controlling are the same whether a company operates domestically or
internationally, managers encounter difficulties and risks on an international scale. Whether it be
unfamiliarity with language or customs or a problem within the country itself (think mad cow
disease), managers encounter global risks that they probably wouldn't have encountered if they
had stayed on their own shores.
Internal Environment
An organization's internal environment is composed of the elements within the organization,
including current employees, management, and especially corporate culture, which defines
employee behavior. Although some elements affect the organization as a whole, others affect
only the manager. A manager's philosophical or leadership style directly impacts employees.
Traditional managers give explicit instructions to employees, while progressive managers
empower employees to make many of their own decisions. Changes in philosophy and/or
leadership style are under the control of the manager. The following sections describe some of
the elements that make up the internal environment.

An organization's mission statement describes what the organization stands for and why it
exists. It explains the overall purpose of the organization and includes the attributes that
distinguish it from other organizations of its type.
A mission statement should be more than words on a piece of paper; it should reveal a company's
philosophy, as well as its purpose. This declaration should be a living, breathing document that
provides information and inspiration for the members of the organization. A mission statement
should answer the questions, What are our values? and What do we stand for? This
statement provides focus for an organization by rallying its members to work together to achieve
its common goals.

But not all mission statements are effective in America's businesses. Effective mission
statements lead to effective efforts. In today's quality conscious and highly competitive
environments, an effective mission statement's purpose is centered on serving the needs of
customers. A good mission statement is precise in identifying the following intents of a
company:
Customers who will be served
Products/services what will be produced
Location where the products/services will be produced
Philosophy what ideology will be followed
Company policies are guidelines that govern how certain organizational situations are addressed.
Just as colleges maintain policies about admittance, grade appeals, prerequisites, and waivers,
companies establish policies to provide guidance to managers who must make decisions about
circumstances that occur frequently within their organization. Company policies are an
indication of an organization's personality and should coincide with its mission statement.
The formal structure of an organization is the hierarchical arrangement of tasks and people.
This structure determines how information flows within the organization, which departments are
responsible for which activities, and where the decision making power rests.
Some organizations use a chart to simplify the breakdown of its formal structure. This
organizational chart is a pictorial display of the official lines of authority and communication
within an organization.
The organizational culture is an organization's personality. Just as each person has a distinct
personality, so does each organization. The culture of an organization distinguishes it from
others and shapes the actions of its members.
Four main components make up an organization's culture:
Values
Heroes
Rites and rituals
Social network
Values are the basic beliefs that define employees' successes in an organization. For example,
many universities place high values on professors being published. If a faculty member is
published in a professional journal, for example, his or her chances of receiving tenure may be
enhanced. The university wants to ensure that a published professor stays with the university for

the duration of his or her academic career and this professor's ability to write for publications
is a value.
The second component is heroes. A hero is an exemplary person who reflects the image,
attitudes, or values of the organization and serves as a role model to other employees. A hero is
sometimes the founder of the organization (think Sam Walton of Wal Mart). However, the hero
of a company doesn't have to be the founder; it can be an everyday worker, such as hard working
paralegal Erin Brockovich, who had a tremendous impact on the organization.
Rites and rituals, the third component, are routines or ceremonies that the company uses to
recognize high performing employees. Awards banquets, company gatherings, and quarterly
meetings can acknowledge distinguished employees for outstanding service. The honorees are
meant to exemplify and inspire all employees of the company during the rest of the year.
The final component, the social network, is the informal means of communication within an
organization. This network, sometimes referred to as the company grapevine, carries the stories
of both heroes and those who have failed. It is through this network that employees really learn
about the organization's culture and values.
A byproduct of the company's culture is the organizational climate. The overall tone of the
workplace and the morale of its workers are elements of daily climate. Worker attitudes dictate
the positive or negative atmosphere of the workplace. The daily relationships and interactions
of employees are indicative of an organization's climate.
Resources are the people, information, facilities, infrastructure, machinery, equipment, supplies,
and finances at an organization's disposal. People are the paramount resource of all
organizations. Information, facilities, machinery equipment, materials, supplies, and finances are
supporting, nonhuman resources that complement workers in their quests to accomplish the
organization's mission statement. The availability of resources and the way that managers value
the human and nonhuman resources impact the organization's environment.
Philosophy of management is the manager's set of personal beliefs and values about people and
work and as such, is something that the manager can control. McGregor emphasized that a
manager's philosophy creates a self fulfilling prophecy. Theory X managers treat employees
almost as children who need constant direction, while Theory Y managers treat employees as
competent adults capable of participating in work related decisions. These managerial
philosophies then have a subsequent effect on employee behavior, leading to the self fulfilling
prophecy. As a result, organizational philosophies and managerial philosophies need to be in
harmony.
The number of coworkers involved within a problem solving or decision making process reflects
the manager's leadership style. Empowerment means delegating to subordinates decision making
authority, freedom, knowledge, autonomy, and skills. Fortunately, most organizations and
managers are making the move toward the active participation and teamwork that empowerment
entails.

When guided properly, an empowered workforce may lead to heightened productivity and
quality, reduced costs, more innovation, improved customer service, and greater commitment
from the employees of the organization. In addition, response time may improve, because
information and decisions need not be passed up and down the hierarchy. Empowering
employees makes good sense because employees closest to the actual problem to be solved or
the customer to be served can make the necessary decisions more easily than a supervisor or
manager removed from the scene.