10 Key Skills Every Business Manager Should Have



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The ol’ career ladder. Are you looking to climb it for financial or fulfillment reasons? Well, what would you say if we told you there’s a role where those two roles are not mutually exclusive? If you’re anything like us, your ears are now pricked and purposeful, waiting to hear more.

Well, there is such a role, one which combines the lucrative with people skills, interaction and personal growth. To succeed, you’re going to need several job specific skills in your arsenal, and these are those; our 10 key skills every business manager should have.

Strategic Thinking

High on the list of must-have skills for business managers is strategic thinking. This pertains to the ability to understand the broader business landscape, envision the long-term future, and formulate a comprehensive strategy of recruitment, training and delivering that manages to marry both. In essence, the manager should think like a chess player, always anticipating the next move and the subsequent ripple effects.


Management, at least the successful kind, is all about people, make no mistake. That is the definition of the role; to handle the various needs of employees, to recognise their unique skill sets and to get the best out of them.

Communication, then, is king; your door should always be open to those you ‘manage’, you should give off an approachable yet authoritative air, and the opportunity for dialogue between you and staff should be ever present.

Though clipped emails and monosyllabic phone exchanges certainly have their place when time is of the essence and flowery paragraphs will only impede productivity, face-to-face, clear communication is still the most important tool a leader has in their arsenal. This approach will give you the tools to motivate your staff most effectively.

Yep, if there was one defining aspect of how to become a successful business manager, it would be communication.

Problem Solving

The business world is fraught with challenges and obstacles at every turn. It is the manager’s prerogative to not just react to these problems but to proactively ideate and implement robust solutions. This requires a keen analytical mind, the ability for lateral thinking, and practical application.

A business manager is nothing if not a firefighter. In smaller businesses, the buck stops with this role, and in larger ones, whole departments depend on his or her decision making. Since you’ll be supervising and optimising the work of employees and the company’s operations, bumps in the road are inevitable. It’s the business manager’s job to find workable solutions to these issues through a process of analytics and evaluation, always with the goal of business growth driving things forward. 

Organisational Awareness

In a larger organisation, it’s vital that the business manager is well versed and pitch perfect on the structure of the company and its collective goals, since it’s their role to find the clearest path to achieving these goals.

Via communication with other managers and employees, and often in writing and redefining an ongoing company mission statement, an all encompassing view of the soul of the organisation is achieved. No one should know the inner workings of a business like the business manager.


A business manager is both constantly evaluating and predicting; looking back at past mistakes and successes in order to devise new and innovative plans for future progress. And this ability to map out company prosperity going forward isn’t only defined by financial gains; the business manager should take as much pride in mapping out personal development and breakthroughs in individual employees and the harmony of the team, as a whole. Again, this is only fully realised through expert motivation, communication, nurturing and mentoring.

Financial Acumen

A business manager doesn’t need to be a chartered accountant but understanding the basic principles of accounting, budgeting, and financial planning is imperative. This skill enables them to make informed business decisions, contributing significantly to the company’s financial health.


Effective delegation is a crucial skill for any business manager. It involves assigning tasks to the right team members based on their strengths and expertise, thereby ensuring that projects are completed efficiently and to a high standard. Delegation not only helps in managing workload but also empowers employees, fostering a sense of trust and responsibility. For those looking to enhance their delegation skills, line management courses can be particularly beneficial, providing structured learning and practical strategies.

Time Management

Time management is another essential skill for business managers. With numerous responsibilities and deadlines, the ability to prioritise tasks and manage time effectively is paramount. This skill ensures that important tasks are completed on time, reducing stress and increasing productivity. Good time management also allows managers to allocate time for strategic planning and personal development, contributing to overall business success.

Emotional Intelligence

Managing people involves understanding them, and that’s where emotional intelligence comes into play. A manager with high emotional intelligence can recognise emotions (their own and others’), empathise with their team members, handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and cultivate a harmonious work environment.


Finally, and since the business manager represents the company’s ‘all seeing eye’ in terms of staff and operations, it’s often necessary (and expected) that the role involves having to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty.

Employees aren’t often inspired by someone yelling from the sidelines, that’s for sure. Instead, a knowledge of each and every role within the business, and a willingness to understand and engage with those roles, is required.

Being flexible and adaptable will breed loyalty, encourage better workplace contentment, and, ultimately, make your office a more enjoyable place to work.

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