The 4 Core Skills of Management
July 25, 2022

The 4 Core Skills of Management

Management can be hard; there's a lot to juggle. So, in this article, we've condensed all you need to know into the 4 basic skills of management.

Management is a unique combination of skills. Regardless of your previous role - be it marketing, coding, sales or accounting - the qualities of a good manager remain uniform. In this post, we’ll break down the 4 most important skills a good manager possesses and how you can have and hone them.

How to have hard conversations

“Being a good manager in good times is easy. The true mettle of a manager runs clear in tough times.” - Sathya Smith

We talk a lot about the importance of good communication skills here at Piper. So much so that we’ll be dedicating an entire portion of our website to it soon. But, in this post, we want to break it down into some of the most important constituent parts: the first being “having hard conversations”.

As a manager, you’re the first point of contact for your team. You are the person they trust. However, this also means that you're responsible for communicating bad news: bonus and promotion freezes, pay stagnation and performance issues.

During these conversations, it's essential to balance your emotional intelligence with professionalism. You should be able to show empathy without crying with your employees; you need to be able to calmly explain the reading behind the decision without being callous. This is by no means easy, however, it's essential to be successful at your job.

The ability to motivate

One of the most common metrics for a manager to be tracked against is their team's productivity. A motivated team is a productive team. We have a blog post coming soon on the different ways to motivate, but for now, let's focus on the basics.

  • Opt for the carrot: You’ve probably heard of the phrase “the carrot and the stick”; well, we recommend to steer clear of the negativity. That doesn’t mean that you need to lie if a project is in dire straits, but your team is probably well aware of the negative consequences of their actions without you constantly reminding them.
  • Check in on the individual: One of the perks of having a diverse team is not everyone responds to situations in the same way, but that means that not everyone will be energised by your Tony Robbins-esque speech either. Organise 1:1s with your team and see if there is anything in particular blocking them from completing a task.
  • Connect it to the mission: People are generally more motivated when they can see how their work fits into the bigger picture. Take some time outlining how their work relates to the company’s quarterly or yearly goals and how that will affect them.

Be smart with your heart

Now, more than ever, employees are expecting high emotional intelligence from their team leaders. More than just line managers, managers are expected to be teachers, parents, consuls and friends. This balance can only be found with high emotional intelligence. Spend time understanding the personalities of each of your team members and what they struggle with; learn how to manage your emotions before you project onto others; research into the subject.

Manage your time; manage your team

Upon being promoted to manager, your scope of work doubles. Suddenly, you are no longer just responsible for your own work but also overseeing the work and wellbeing of your entire team. In order to manage this, you need to develop superb time management skills.

Now, we won’t labour this point too much as you’ve probably already heard all of the major tips - keep a to-do list, prioritise tasks, leave time in your diary for things to overrun- but it is important enough to be part of this list. An unorganised manager is often a stressed manager and one who cannot be there fully for their team. Take some time at the beginning of your week or month to sketch out a rough plan for yourself and stick to it.


Management can be a highly subjective topic. To be clear, it is not a singular skill but the balance of multiple skill sets at one time. However, by mastering these soft skills, you are guaranteed to be a better manager.