Monday, February 11, 2008

Managerial Skills - Introduction

Dictionary meaning

Main Entry: skill
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English skil, from Old Norse, distinction, knowledge; probably akin to Old English scylian to separate, sciell shell — more at shell
Date: 13th century

2 a: the ability to use one's knowledge effectively and readily in execution or performance b: dexterity or coordination especially in the execution of learned physical tasks

3: a learned power of doing something competently : a developed aptitude or ability

skill: Definition

Ability and capacity acquired through deliberate, systematic, and sustained effort to smoothly and adaptively carryout complex activities or job functions involving ideas (cognitive skills), things (technical skills), and/or people (interpersonal skills).

Noun: skill skil
An ability that has been acquired by training
- accomplishment, acquirement, acquisition, attainment

Ability to produce solutions in some problem domain
"the skill of a well-trained boxer"
- science


The familiar knowledge of any art or science, united with readiness and dexterity in execution or performance, or in the application of the art or science to practical purposes; power to discern and execute; ability to perceive and perform; expertness; aptitude; as, the skill of a mathematician, physician, surgeon, mechanic, etc.

Phocion, . . . by his great wisdom and skill at negotiations, diverted Alexander from the conquest of Athens. --Swift.

Where patience her sweet skill imparts. --Keble.

Out of the above dictionary definitions, skill denotes the ability to perform a task effectively and efficiently. The ability to use one's knowledge effectively and readily in execution or performance points out it. The meaning, "The familiar knowledge of any art or science, united with readiness and dexterity in execution or performance," also denotes it.

So managerial skill is to be understood as the ability to perform managerial tasks effectively with readines and dexterity. Skills requires knowledge and it has to be acquired by practice. A skilled person is one who has done the job effectively number of times and in the process of doing so improved his efficiency at the job.

Various authors identified certain tasks of management discipline or subject as managerial skills.

I am presently using the following two books to develop material on managerial skills.

Leadership Skills by William R. Tracey, Amacom 1990

Main Chapters

1. Forecasting: prelude to planning
2. Strategic planning
3. Budgeting
4. Marketing
5. Innovating
6. Resolving conflict
7. Disciplining
8. Rewarding
9. Improving Productivity
10. Managing costs
11. Managing time
12. Managing change
13. Managing ethics
14. Developing yourself
15. Leading

Basic Managerial Skills for All, E.H.McGrath, S.J.,Prentice Hall of India, 1989

Main Chapters

How to Read
How to Write
How to Learn
How to Speak
How to Listen
HOw to Become Real You
How to Run a Meeting
How to Teach and Train
How to Manage

In the How to Manage chapter a number of managerial skills are pointed out.
Planning a project
How to manage by objectives
How to draw up action plans for objectives
How to supervise
Managing time
How to plan a change
Creativity: a managerial skill
Decision making
How to reduce interpersonal conflict
How to secure cooperation
How to promote good discipline
intergroup conflict resolution
How to negotiate
How to maintain grace under pressure

Management process is covered by Koontz, O'Donnel and Weihrich under the heads: Planning, Organizing, Staffing, Leading and Controlling. According to authors, the concepts, principles, theory, and techniques are organized and can be organized under the classification used by them. Managerial skills can also be covered under these heads to provide clarity to the management student and the management practioner on the performance tasks of managers.

Koontz, O'Donnel and Weihrich, Management, Seventh Edition, McGraw Hill International Book Company, Tokyo, 1980

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