Many times in your professional life you try to figure out, why a colleague or someone else is getting promoted faster than you. Your  self-evaluation says, you are sincere, knowledgable in managerial skill and consistently delivering results and you wonder why you are not getting a rise or getting promoted adequately in proportion with your delivery, while your colleague is getting some extra bonus marks.

This situation slowly develop frustration and you lose interest in your job. Well, there could be many reasons behind the promotion of someone and stagnation of other, but if you know the fundamental of managerial skill sets required at various level of management, it will surely help you in self-development.

Therefore, this topic is aimed to those young engineers/managers who are working in small and medium size organizations or business houses in India. Here typically they don’t get much exposer to enrich their managerial skill & knowledge and always pushed to do some (perceived) urgent work. Bosses want them to work at all the time and can’t think of giving any allowance for training or self-development.

In fact training is considered as an optional event – if not a waste of time- in such organizations. So, this young managers also gradually develop a style to focus only on today’s delivery and skips even a pre-planned training sessions on managerial skill (or other skill development) on the excuse of an ‘urgent work’. They forget the requirement of managerial skill enhancement or enrichment gradually.

Though it doesn’t make any good for anybody either for self or for the organization, but that is a different discussion. Here, in this topic, I will try to share some information about the skill set (managerial skill and other) that is  required to be successful manager at any level. Skill sets needs to get altered as one getting promoted and moves up to the organisation ladder.

Basically, in an organization, there are three level of managers, irrespective of the designations. First comes the line managers. It is the bottom level. These managers are directly responsible to get output from the blue collar employees. In many occasions, even they themselves carryout certain operations like setting up a machine, doing inspection or performing a critical operation etc. depending up on the work practice of the organization.

This group of people are designated as Engineer,Supervisor, Foreman, Asst.Manager, Manager, so on and so forth.Their managerial skill needs more technical knowledge and human relation ,less conceptual or strategic proficiency.

Next level is middle level managers. Typically this group do not have direct contact with the working level people on daily basis like line managers. They operate through their line managers and monitor the activity based on the reports (daily report etc.) and the information received from line manager level. They participate in the work floor level activity only in case things goes beyond the control of line managers.

Depending up on the practice of the organisation, this group of people are designated as Sr.Manager, Asst.General Manager, General Manager, Asst.Vice President, Vice President etc.Their managerial skill needs little less technical knowledge and more human relation and conceptual or strategic proficiency.

Finally, the upper most level is ‘Top Management’. This group of people are the business decision makers and the designations are CXO, Directors etc.Their managerial skill needs less technical knowledge and much more human relation and conceptual or strategic proficiency.

managerial skill

Fundamentally, three type of managerial skill sets are required at all levels, but in different proportions. I have presented a model above (originally developed by social psychologist Robert L Katz in 1974) to explain it in a simplest manner. Looking at this model one can easily make out that , to be successful at different level, one need to master different combination of the set of managerial skill. 

For the entry level positions, your technical knowledge and related skill is mainly considered. Along with this, a good amount of interpersonal skill and little bit of conceptual or strategic skill will also be needed as you start taking more responsibility and make advancement within the orbit of line management.

If you are able to exhibit your technical, human relation and conceptual skills successfully in a right proportion, you will be considered as a performer and your boss might consider you to get  promoted to the next orbit, to the level of middle management, depending upon the need of the organisation of course. 

Looking at the model above, you can find that the managerial skill combination required in the middle management level is slightly different from the previous level. Requirement of technical skill is lesser than the line managers, but the proficiency in human relation skill is required more  along with comparatively more portion of conceptual skill. You can expect to be successful in the middle management level, only when you are equipped with the right proportion of these managerial skill. 

You will be further getting promoted to the next level of management in due course of time, depending upon your proficiency in human relation, i.e. interpersonal skill and conceptual/strategic skill. As you can see that at the level of top management, requirement of technical skill gets reduced and the demand of interpersonal and conceptual skills increases considerably.

So, to be successful at the level of top management it is imperative to be highly proficient in human relation and strategic skills. Only with mastery in technical skill you can never do justice to the top management level positions.So, the managerial skill set required at this level is different,

Most probably you have observed that proportion requirement of one particular type of managerial skill in the diagram is more or less constant throughout all the levels, that is interpersonal skill, the skill of human relation. Organizations are made of people and it is of outmost importance to know how to interact with people effectively in order to get the best desired results out of them.

People are unique in nature. Their perceptions,ethics and value systems are measurably different. Therefore, the more you understand them as an individual and realign your interaction cleverly, you stand a better chance to get a success in accomplishing your job.