A manager’s job is complex and multidimensional and, as we shall see this requires a range of skills. Although some management theorists propose a long list of skills, the necessary skills for managing a department or an organization can be summarized in three categories: Conceptual, human and technical. As illustrated in Exhibit the application of these skills changes as managers move up in the organization. Although the degree of each skill necessary at different levels of an organization may vary all managers must possess skills in each of these important areas to perform effectively
The cognitive ability to see the organizations as whole ad the relationships among its parts
Conceptual skill is cognitive ability to see the organization as a whole and the relationships among its parts. Conceptual skill involves the manager’s thinking, information processing and planning abilities. It involves knowing fits into the industry the community and the broader business and social environment. It means the ability to think strategically — to take the broad long term view.
Conceptual skills are needed by all managers but are especially important for managers at the top. They must perceive significant elements in a situation and broad conceptual patterns. For example, Microsoft the giant software company reflects the conceptual skills of its founder chairman, Bill Gates. Overall business goals are clearly stated and effectively communicated throughout the company, contributing to Microsoft’s leadership reputation and billion dollars revenues. As one Microsoft manger pointed out, Each part of the company has a life of its own now, but Bill is the glue that holds it all together.
As manager moves up the hierarchy they must develop conceptual skills or their promotability will be limited. A senior engineering manager who is mired in technical matters rather than thinking strategically will not perform well at the top of the organization. Many of the responsibilities of top managers such as decision making resource allocation and innovation require a broad view.
The ability to work with and throughout other people and to work effectively as a group member:
Human skills are the manager’s ability to work with and through other people and to work effectively as group members. This skill is demonstrated in the way a manager relates to other people including the ability to motivate, facilitate, coordinate, lead, communicate and resolve conflicts. A manager with human skills allows subordinates to express themselves without fear of ridicule and encourage s participation. A manager with human skills likes other people and is liked by them. Anne Mulcahy, the CEO of Xerox profiled in the chapter opening has exceptional human skills. Her co-workers describe her as both compassionate and tough with a willingness to work shoulder to shoulder with subordinates and energize everyone to work toward a common goal.
As globalization workforce diversity, uncertainty and societal turbulence increase human skills become even more crucial Today’s best managers are genuinely concerned with the emotional needs of their employees not just the physical needs related to their job tasks. Meg Whitman, CEO of eBay believes her most important contribution to the organization creating a work ethics and culture that is fun open, and trusting. The attention Whitman and other eBay managers give to human skills pays off. Motivated employees have helped the organization expand in the face of stiff competition from larger rivals, and unlike many Internet companies, eBay has been turning a healthy profit. Human skills are important for managers at all levels, an particularly for those who work with employees directly basis Organizations frequently lose good employees because of front line bosses who fail to show respect and concern for workers.