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The InPD Essential Management Skills List for Aspiring Managers

The InPD Essential Management Skills List for Aspiring Managers

When you assume a management role, you accept a high level of responsibility.

Along with that responsibility, comes an equally high amount of pressure. Managers face a variety of challenges in every working day, which is why it is important to build a strong skillset. In doing so, it will equip you with the knowledge and capabilities to address situations more easily. 

In this post, we explore the role of the manager, and the importance of developing your skills to succeed in your leadership aspirations. We also provide you with a management skills list that highlights essential skills you should develop for people to hire you into a leadership position.

The role of a manager

A manager’s role varies as they move higher up the structure of the organisation, with their responsibilities shifting gradually away from day-to-day operations and towards more strategic aspects of management. 

When working in direct management, your list of tasks is likely to comprise of the following:

  • Hiring new employees.
  • Training, coaching, and developing new employees.
  • Addressing problems with employees’ performance.
  • Termination of employment (an unpleasant hazard of the job).
  • Translation of organisational goals into functional, individual goals.
  • Monitoring and evaluation of performance.
  • Managing expenses and budgets.
  • Planning and goal-setting.
  • Task delegation.

You’ll also participate in one-to-one meetings with your employees and with your entire team, and, of course, you’ll have to attend company-wide meetings. All of these circumstances mean that having communication skills is vital.

Why do you have to develop your skills as a manager?

If you work hard on your management skills, you’re likely to find it easier to break into a management role. This is a profession in which you must learn continuously, and without possessing the right skills and attributes, it can be much harder to succeed. 

A candidate who is taking professional training as part of their aspiration to become a manager will appreciate that being inept can inflict damage upon the morale of teams. They’ll understand low morale can hinder their performance and can impact both the team and the organisation. Team members may even leave if their manager is incompetent. 

The candidate would also learn that management entails more than just delegating tasks and monitoring performance. Good managers build trust with their team, clients, and others by being effective at their duties. A robust skillset helps you to solve problems and issues and keep the projects and other operations, for which you’re responsible for, moving smoothly.

As a manager, it’s your responsibility to support your team and guide them, which requires a high level of emotional intelligence and strong communication skills, as well as the ability to identify their strengths and weaknesses. By harnessing these skills and attributes to perform this management duty, you position employees to give the best of themselves and to succeed in their duties. 

The managerial candidate who isn’t taking professional development courses

A candidate who isn’t trying to sharpen their skills, but is still pursuing a managerial career, may lack the necessary communication skills and emotional intelligence to be successful. When tough situations arise or a team member is in need of some guidance, this candidate may fail to tackle the situation or provide an adequate solution, either because they’ve not had suitable training or they didn’t detect issues soon enough. 

A candidate who is incompetent or ineffective because they haven’t undergone any management training will lower team morale and performance. One of the great challenges of management is maintaining high positivity levels and motivating employees to continue striving for goals. This is difficult in tough times, but a manager can overcome this obstacle by being capable. 

Ultimately, managerial candidates who don’t endeavour to improve their skills set themselves up for failure and, by extension, their team. This is why we encourage aspiring management professionals to take professional training courses

Our management skills list

Below we’ve selected some of the essential skills it takes to perform well as a manager. These will help you to rise to the challenges this demanding profession will present to you.

Active listening

Active listening, when perfected, allows you to identify potential opportunities and challenges, and capitalise upon this early discovery of them to manage them more effectively. This skill itself involves focusing carefully on what people are saying to you and resisting the urge to interject with questions or comments constantly between pauses in the conversation.

The purpose of active listening is to understand the whole message, not just part of it, and you must be neutral and non-judgmental. By allowing yourself to gain the full picture, through active listening, you’ll become alert to important details that a more passive style of listening could cause you to miss.

Conflict management

Conflict in the workplace is unavoidable, no matter how healthy the organisational culture is. A manager must be able to detect situations that create the potential for conflict and devise and implement strategies to minimise this. 

Not all conflict is bad. Some conflicts are constructive, and the manager must recognise when these will be beneficial and explore how they can benefit the team or organisation. However, they must be able to do this without being manipulative or unethical. Good conflict management can improve the culture of the workplace, and update systems and processes so that operations flow smoothly.

Conflict resolution

Sometimes when a conflict arises, the parties involved can end up deadlocked. The ability to manage conflict is an important skill that prevents difficulty from derailing a project or process if the parties can’t reach an agreement. As in the case of conflict management, successful conflict resolution can enhance workplace culture, and it can lead to system and process updates that will ensure that operations can continue without disruption if a similar situation were to emerge in the future. 

Strategic thinking

Strategic thinking is a planning skill that involves long-term vision. At a higher level, you’ll have to form your vision for the company and decide how the company will realise the vision. In a less senior management role, you’ll have to consider how your role fits into the organisation’s achievement of the vision and align your team’s operations with this. When planning projects, you’ll have to think about setbacks you or your team could encounter along the way. 

Motivational skills

Motivational skills are indispensable. Individuals, teams, and organisations will experience testing times, and during them, people will look to their leader for guidance or inspiration. When motivation reduces, performance and progress can suffer. It’s your responsibility to encourage people to persevere, and to keep them positive and working towards the team and organisational objectives. This is challenging, especially if the organisation is going through a period of change, but it is not impossible. 


The challenges of management are also opportunities for growth. As a manager, you’ll have to solve problems such as conflicts between team members, problems with a team member’s performance, or even issues around efficiency, productivity, or profitability. Problem-solving skills will not help you tackle challenges, but they will help you maintain good working relationships with colleagues.

Organisational skills

Managers must have excellent organisational skills. This applies to organising their own workload as well as their team’s since they’re responsible for ensuring projects are delivered on time and to the right standard. Management is a demanding profession in which strong organisational skills can lower your stress levels and make you more productive. You’ll be able to monitor performance more easily and build trust with your clients, superiors, and team. You will do this by demonstrating yourself to be well organised and reliable.

Book a course with us

When you accept a management role, you assume the responsibility for the output and performance of the people you’re leading. To achieve strong performance, you must be able to motivate them, guide them, and support them, as well as organise them. You must be able to keep things on track and utilise skills such as problem-solving and active listening so you can address any issues that occur. You must also use these skills to predict potential problems that could arise. 

We offer a range of courses, including Chartered Management Institute (CMI)-accredited courses, to help you build and improve your management skills so you can excel in your role. Visit our Courses page and click on the course that interests you, or send us an email to enquiries@inpd.co.uk, message us via the form on our Contact page or call us on 0161 826 3139, to book a course or find out more. We’re here to answer any questions, and we look forward to helping you develop the essential skills for successful management.


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