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What Does Managerial Competencies Mean?

Managerial competencies are the skills, motives and attitudes necessary to a job, and include such characteristics as communication skills, problem solving, customer focus and the ability to work within a team. While businesses have long been capable of analyzing and utilizing financial and other “hard” assets, the human assets involved in managerial competencies are harder to fit into an equation. While skills and knowledge are a part of a manager’s competency that can be measured fairly easily, intangible assets like effective communication and teamwork, while essential, are harder to pin down and evaluate.

Managerial Competency: Third Element

According to the "Gwinnet Daily Post," “Traditional wisdom says that success or failure is largely determined by your skills and knowledge. But there’s a third element of success that’s more intangible." The third element is ethos, or the mindset, attitudes and beliefs that a manager brings to the job. A highly skilled computer programmer, for example, who refuses to interact with the development team on a major project can turn out to be more of a liability than an asset in spite of his technical skills.

Managerial Competency Research

According to research published in the "Journal of Management Development," surveyors sought to determine whether companies have been able to identify management competencies, and if so, whether they have been able to devise performance appraisals that reflect the identified competencies. Twenty-three possible management competencies were identified and human resources professionals returned 277 surveys.

Top Management Competencies

The top six management competencies identified in the survey as priorities were oral and written communication skills, creative problem solving, results orientation, teamwork skills, and customer focus. Other competencies listed included flexibility, dependability, and imagination. Part of the ethos of a competent manager is his ability to get along with other members of the workforce in collaborative projects while retaining a focus on the goals of the company. To be useful, competencies must be transferable, that is, capable of being learned, and the researchers concluded that the top six management competencies fit this criteria.

Management Competency Conclusions

The conclusion of the surveys was that although companies can identify managerial competencies, few have set up their performance appraisals to reflect these priorities. The researchers suggest that companies update their performance appraisals to reflect the importance of managerial competencies.

Increasing Management Competencies

Business schools spend little, if any, time teaching “soft” skills to future business leaders. Company reputation depends on these skills, and reputation has financial value. “Well-regarded companies command premium prices, pay lower prices, entice top recruits, have more stable revenues, face fewer risks of crisis, are given greater latitude by constituents and enjoy higher market valuation and reduced stock price volatility,” according to the "Globe and Mail."


Je' Czaja has been writing and illustrating curricula, workbooks, newspaper articles and weekly columns for over 20 years. Her articles have been published in the "St. Augustine Record," the "Valdosta Daily Times," the "Sarasota Herald Tribune" and other regional newspapers. She attended Ringling School of Art, Charter Oak State College, and has a master's degree from the University of Metaphysics.