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What knowledge and skills are important for a manager?

Key to become a successful manager. Why do some managers succeed, while others make attempts that do not bring any satisfying results?
Thousands of books about management are issued every year. Of course you can devote all your time to selecting and reading the best of them by recommendations, but it is unlikely that your needs will be completely satisfied.

But how to understand which books are relevant for you based on your current life situation?
First of all, you need to understand what kind of qualities, knowledge and skills are needed to become a good manager. And then you need to attach this knowledge to your current competencies and your life situation.
The question of which direction should be prioritized is very similar to the question of which leg is better - right or left.
Manager's practice of success. The manager can develop in three directions:

  • form the personal qualities necessary for any successful person;
  • to acquire and improve humanitarian knowledge and skills;
  • to acquire and improve engineering knowledge and skills.
The question of which direction should be prioritized is very similar to the question of which leg is better - right or left. For the full development of a successful manager, all three components are equally necessary: personal, humanitarian and engineering.

More information about directions of manager development:

The inner core gives us the strength of spirit, the feeling that there is a meaning and purpose in our life.
Development of personality: the formation of the inner core. As a matter of fact, all personal growth trainings are engaged in this activity . No matter how paradoxical it may sound, these trainings "sell" the inner core and the ability to be happy.

The inner core gives us the strength of spirit, the feeling that there is a meaning and purpose in our life. However, the ability to be happy simply means to feel comfortable being as you are and the desire to bring happiness to others.

For development in this direction, each person chooses philosophical and psychological practices suitable for himself which leads to inner harmony.
Humanitarian management is the foundation of the foundations, therefore in our Systems Management School we do not consider it.
There are two main groups of humanitarian knowledge and managerial skills.

The first group includes economic, financial and legal knowledge.
This knowledge is included in the basic concept of "managerial competencies", which is taught in higher education institutions and at advanced training courses.

The second group includes the methods of interpersonal interaction.
Psychological skills (NLP, the art of negotiation, public speaking skills, speaking and acting skills), which the manager partially receives at the university, partially masters independently or at various training sessions.

The knowledge and skills of the first and second groups can be broadly called humanitarian management. This is the basis of the basics, therefore in our School of System Management we do not consider it.

Nevertheless, from the second group of knowledge we can single out one aspect, which is one of the most important aspects for a good leader. It is the management of the team as a system - we teach this skill at our School mandatory.

Management of the team as a system is the ability of the manager to see and separate the personality, role and position of each specialist in his team (personality - Ivan Ivanov, role in the team - marketer, position - chief specialist of the department).

Each manager is forced to complete tasks that give practice of this skill many times a day or even in one meeting. In order to solve these tasks successfully, it is necessary:

1. to separate and imagine quite well the interests of all team members (marketers, engineers, IT people, etc.) in relation to the enterprise system, as well as the interests of each work position and the personal interests of each person;

2. competently and quickly resolve any interdisciplinary (not to be confused with interpersonal!) conflicts.

The key to make the right decisions for team management is a good knowledge of your system. And for a good knowledge of your system, another group of skills is needed - engineering knowledge and skills.
Non-humanitarian knowledge of the manager:
fundamental knowledge and methodology of the system approach.
Non-humanitarian, or engineering knowledge and skills. Person (psychology, management, interaction, etc.) is at the center of the humanitarian knowledge of the manager. Produced product (product, service) is at the center of non-humanitarian knowledge; people in this system are treated in connection with this product.

Non-humanitarian knowledge of the manager can also be divided into two categories: fundamental knowledge and methodology of the system approach.

Fundamental knowledge is knowledge in the work area of activity and related fields. It is impossible to lead a chemical industry enterprise well, without knowing at least the basics of chemistry, or to manage a hospital without being a doctor. The majority of managers understands the importance of this area of knowledge and regularly go for diplomas of higher qualifications. They monitor the latest achievements, new technologies and general development in their field.

The system approach is a special point of view which is no less important for successful management than having the right amount of humanitarian and fundamental knowledge. This is discussed in more detail below.

System approach in the field of management. One of the basic principles of effective management is thinking in the categories of systems: the skills of being able to see/consider any activity, enterprise, product, team, etc. as a system.

The systems thinking can be developed independently, but it is faster and easier to master it under the guidance of a teacher and a mentor (the same with mathematics – it is possible to learn it by yourself, but not everyone is able to do it).

Nowadays, the system approach differs from the way it was in the last century. These days, for example, many people still try to understand the meaning of a word "system" using dictionary definition ("a system is a set of elements linked together into a whole"). Whereas at the present time the focus of the system approach has shifted emphasizing first of all on importance of what surrounds the system and what other system it takes part in. Meaning, if before we were interested in what is inside the system and what it consists of, now we first need to find out the external environment of the system and it is necessary to study it first (before, we start taking care of the internal structure of the system).

The system manager should at least think in categories of three systems: the system of interest (product), enabling system (team) and using systems (the client). At the same time, the manager must constantly keep in mind the elements of these systems, their interaction and interaction of the systems themselves, as well as all stakeholders and their interests in each of the systems.

Sounds difficult? Quite right, it takes time and perseverance to master the system approach, it cannot be reduced to a set of simple/basic recommendations.

Then, why it's worth spending time on? And here's why: the system approach allows you easily manage projects of any complexity, successfully create high-tech products and services, coordinate the work of an interdisciplinary team and take into account the interests of all stakeholders. It allows you to create successful systems and do it faster, more reliable and better than your competitors.

Many successful managers intuitively or knowingly practice system approach, but transferring this skill to another person is much more difficult than transferring humanitarian knowledge and skills to someone. Our School has developed the author's method of teaching the system approach - we do not teach that much of "to do A and B to get C", but more of how to look at the right angle to see the system.
Thus, we tried to show the levels of knowledge that are necessary to be successful manager. We hope that, based on this, everyone can further more consciously approach the development of their own knowledge and skills.

P.S. In this article, we did not mention anything about the knowledge and skills needed for the entrepreneur. They say that it is impossible to learn how to be an entrepreneur, since the main feature of a successful entrepreneur is a flair, and it is impossible to formalize the flair and teach it. Nevertheless, some of the practices that we teach in the School can help the entrepreneur to avoid huge mistakes.

P.P.S. Also, the topic of system engineering is not mentioned in this article: We pay no less attention to this topic than to system management at our School. You can read about it in our textbook.
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