The profile of an effective manager

: 2/18

Critical skills related to managerial competence

In the 70s, researcher Robert Katz tried to find an answer to the question: What are the critical skills that are related to managerial competence? He discovered that managers should possess 4 critical management skills. Those skills can be categorized in two big groups[5]: general skills and specific skills. There seems to be overall agreement that effective managers must be proficient in four general skills areas[6]:

Conceptual skills: the ability to analyse complex situations and to provide the necessary knowledge to facilitate the decision-making.

Interpersonal skill: as a manager you should be able to direct others, so motivation, communication and delegation skills are absolutely needed.

Technical skills: the ability to apply specialized knowledge or expertise

Political skills: the ability to build the right relationships with the right persons. Those connections result in higher chances of getting additional resources and power.

The proportions in which those skills are necessary vary with the managers level in the organization. Conceptual skills become more and more important as we grow in the hierarchy of the organization, while technical skills become less important. Interpersonal skills are necessary on every level, because a manager always works with people.

Research has also identified six sets of specific skills that explain 50% of manager effectiveness:

Controlling the organizations environment and its resources

Organizing and coordinating

Handling information

Providing for growth and development

Motivating employees and handling conflicts

Strategic problem solving

In The General Managers (1983), John Kotter, concluded that effective managers have strong specialised interest, skills, knowledge and relationships. These specialised personal assets allow them to behave in ways that fit the demands of their specific situations. Such specialization seems to have been central to their ability to cope with the often huge demands placed upon them by their jobs.

The many personal characteristics that helped contribute to good performance were developed over the entire period of the managers life. In terms of basic personality we can observe[7]:

Needs/motives: like power, need for achievement, very ambitious

Temperament: emotionally stable and even, optimistic

Cognitive orientation: above average intelligence, moderately strong analytically, strong intuitively

Interpersonal orientation: personable and good at developing relationships with people, unusual set of interest that allows them to relate easily to a broad set of business specialist.

Information: very good knowledge about the business and organization

Relationships: cooperative relationships with a large number of people in the organization

Kotter concluded that in the stipulation for being an effective manager, there should be a match between the demands of the job and the individual characteristics. So for organizations it is a challenge to put the right man on the right place. Depending on the role a manager has to play in an organization, we need an individual with other characteristics. For example, Kotter found that in jobs where the relationships were more demanding and accomplishing things more difficult, the general manager was someone with a strong personable style, skill at developing relationships, a liking of power, an emotionally even temperament, an ability to relate to a diverse group of business specialist, and extensive relationships in their organization and industry.

The main characteristics of the effective manager

In the following part we will discuss some of the main managers characteristics based on the theories which were discussed in the first part of our paper. We have summarized different visions and found out that all theories named the following important characteristics:

Decision making skills

Conflict Management skills

Flexibility and creativity

Developing of managerial knowledge and managers teaching role

: 16/05/2006