The Top Management Skills for 2020 A Quick Guide

Is Management an art or a science?

With this particular debate – different people, different answers!

You don’t have to have an opinion to know that Management matters.

It matters to…


…Government departments and agencies

…Educational institutions

It even matters to not-for-profits and charities.

Good management is the backbone of a competent organization.

Great management is the backbone of a successful one.

But whether management is good or great is determined by the skills of the people practicing it.

So what are some of the most important management skills?

Read this guide to know more!

What exactly is Management?

Management is a way of achieving organizational objectives through and with people.

With reference to the debate mentioned at the start of this article – Management is both an Art and a Science. It is also a discipline, a profession, a system, and a process.

Now, the practice of management is as old as human civilization. However, the study of management (particularly in an organizational context) in a systematic and scientific way is a fairly recent phenomenon. We have a number of management – and leadership – authors, practitioners, thinkers and gurus to thank for this. This illustrious list includes names like Peter F. Drucker, Jim Collins, Guy Kawasaki, and Seth Godin among others.

Is Management the same as Leadership?

Many people will say Yes.

However, this is not necessarily true.

Leadership and management are linked to one another in complementary ways but they are not the same.

The most basic difference is that people work for managers but they follow leaders. Management is a discipline of overseeing and controlling things to get the best possible results. A good manager uses processes and techniques to make things happen. Leadership involves influencing and inspiring people to believe in a vision so that they willingly and enthusiastically help the leader achieve their objectives. Management is about control and rules and often focuses on bringing stability. Leadership is based on inspiration and trust and tends to encourage change through influence.

The most successful organizations are those that have both competent managers and charismatic leaders. And good managers who are also great leaders offer the best of both worlds. They’re excellent at planning, organizing, and execution, and have the ability to inspire and motivate their people to perform to the best of their ability.

What are the Top 5 Management Skills for 2020?

Today’s business world is fast-changing. It is also VUCA, i.e. Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous).

To succeed as a manager in this dynamic landscape, it’s not enough to have skills. You need to have the right skills.

So what are the Top 5 Skills that every manager will need to succeed in 2020?

1. Inter-personal skills


As human beings, we’re wired to be social. Therefore, interpersonal skills are important for everyone. However, they’re especially critical for a manager.

In order to manage your people and get them to deliver the right results, building successful relationships with them are integral. For this, you need solid interpersonal and people management skills supported by a high EQ (emotional intelligence). You also need the flexibility to adapt these skills to match different situations, people and organizational goals. These abilities will enable you to manage your people’s deliverables, give effective feedback and retain control over your responsibilities.

2. Planning, organizing, and delegation

Developing these skills in tandem is crucial to a manager’s success.

Even if you’re not personally involved in drafting company policy or strategy, you must still be able to plan. You need to understand your resources; develop project plans, time tables and financial budgets; measure milestones, and assign tasks and areas of responsibility.

As a manager, you will be required to manage your own workload, oversee the work of others and juggle multiple responsibilities. You’ll also have to delegate tasks by analyzing and identifying your employees’ skillsets and assigning duties accordingly. Therefore, excellent organizational and delegation skills are vital. Only then will you be able to reduce stress (yours and your team’s), save time and money for your organization, and ensure that important deliverables are completed.

3. Problem-solving and decision-making

A good manager must be able to solve the many problems that can arise in a business milieu, in the most optimal way. He will also be required to make decisions that can affect the organization’s future, even if he doesn’t have enough information to do so. These skills require outstanding attention to detail, the ability to remain calm under pressure, and creative, out-of-the-box thinking.

4. Communication

All managers have to communicate up, down, across and even outside their organization. To ensure that this communication is correct, timely and effective, you need to be able to get people to listen to you and respond in a way that works best for you and your organization. And you need to do this with diplomacy and tact while establishing trusting relationships.

Furthermore, you will probably liaise with a variety of people in a variety of contexts and through a number of different media. Therefore you must master all forms of communication including written, verbal and listening.

5. Leadership

Not all managers are great leaders. However, you can definitely develop the qualities that can make you one.

Motivating and inspiring others to action is a crucial element of effective leadership. Choosing the right motivation tactics is also important. And the best way to lead is usually by example (action) as well as by direction. Good leaders recognize important contributions and give credit where it’s due. They also demonstrate trust by delegating strategically.

The ability to mentor is another characteristic of a charismatic leader. Once you have developed a repertoire of experience, knowledge, and skills; you must share this knowledge with others, build their confidence and skills, and support them as they progress in their careers.

A final word

Being a manager is not easy. It takes effort, time and lots of practice (which means lots of mistakes!) But if you keep at it, you can definitely succeed.

Now ask yourself – how well prepared are you to be a successful manager?

Read more: Top 10 hard skills you need in Indian Job markets