| Management Skills Pyramid
Where Do You Reside On the Management Skills Pyramid?
Just as all managers, companies, and industries are not created equal, managerial skills occupy different value levels on the ability hierarchy. You’ve no doubt read, heard, and witnessed (at leadership seminars, perhaps) about the skills necessary to become a good manager.
The Management Skills Pyramid
While most small businesses and many larger corporations would probably deny that there exists such a pyramidal structure for their management team, most would admit that they expect different skill sets from supervisory level personnel. As you move up the company structure in both title and responsibility level, you’ll need to master additional skills to further progress.
Author F. John Reh matched generally recognized managerial talents to responsibility levels, creating a suggested “management skills pyramid.” As you move from staff to manager to senior executive, you will need to master ever more skills, most of which become developmental and conceptual rather than scientific.
Understand that these talents become ever more difficult to easily measure, requiring you to display your mastery and create a “sticky” personal brand. Those in your company who identify and promote those with these skills must first become aware that you have them. Therefore, you must display these talents on a daily basis at the workplace to get recognized by the right people.
Here is a general description of the four levels, in Mr. Reh’s opinion, that compose the theoretical management skills pyramid.
Level 1 components are the basic skills most would agree apply to all managers, regardless of company size or industry.
Level 2 factors are equally familiar to all experienced managers and common to classic management training articles, courses, and symposiums.
• Encourage employee involvement.
Level 3 talents become more important to your corporate “rise,” while also more difficult to quantify.
• Personal self-management.
• Multi-tasking and time management superiority.
Level 4—the top rung of the ladder; the peak of the pyramid—contains only one skill; the most difficult to learn, display, and statistically measure.
Have you had any “Aha” moments yet? Probably not. However, this categorization should help you better organize the skill sets you need to move to the top of the pyramid. You’re probably also aware that moving up the management ladder is not as easy as just mastering a few additional skills.
How to Move Up the Skills Pyramid and the Career Ladder
While you can dispute the existence of a management skills pyramid in your workplace, you probably agree that the talents noted and their position on the pyramid accurately display qualities managers must possess.
Whether for your current employer or with a new opportunity elsewhere, you should, plan your strategy carefully. The following “game plan” might give you the tools you need to accomplish your goals.
• Where are your skills now? Someone said, “Introspection is good for the soul.” It’s a necessity to perform a self-evaluation—totally honestly, please—to learn where you now reside on the skills pyramid. All good plans have clear starting points; this is yours.
• Commit to acquire missing skills. Promise yourself to acquire skills you currently lack. A half-hearted commitment is a recipe for failure. Use the “pyramid approach” to better clarify where you are and where you’re going.
• Study and practice the new skills you need. Like playing a sport, simply learning required skills won’t allow you to compete at a high level. You need to practice, practice, and practice new skills to become proficient. The same process works with new management skills. Practice delivers another benefit. You’ll learn how to best use and integrate these skills into your unique personality, making them appear to be more “natural.”
• Integrate skills and talents to improve your brand. As you practice, you’ll integrate new talents into your psyche. You should use this advantage to better establish your personal “brand.” This activity is more than just improving your workplace perception. A strong personal brand embodies your mission, commitment, and your vision for your job, company, and career.
Since classic corporate ladders are disappearing from the business landscape as companies offer a multitude of routes to more managerial responsibility, using a pyramid analogy may be more effective to help you improve your career. These skills are necessary for one to be a superior manager.
As your skills increase and your talent moves up the pyramid, your career improvement should follow. The better you integrate these talents into your daily workplace behavior, the more your brand improves to display your enhanced skill set to all.