A woman stands in an office space in front of a table at which three other people sit. The person sitting at the far left is turned to face the woman; he has a beard and man bun and is holding up a hand holding a pen, as if to make a point. The two other people at the table, a young man in a white collared shirt and a slightly older man with graying dark hair, are turned to face him. The woman wears a black pencil skirt and white sleeveless blouse; she holds a piece of paper and is turned to speak to the bearded man. In the background are a few connected desks and a chalkboard wall covered with words and charts in different colors of chalk.
Interpersonal skills combine verbal and nonverbal communication, as well as social interpretation and empathy. These are key to dealing with people in a work setting and elsewhere. — Getty Images/Portra

Manager skills are life skills. They help you navigate professional and personal situations. For employees, upskilling their talents can help them get promotions or do their job more effectively. These same skills also transfer to business ownership, improving an entrepreneur’s chance of success.

Individuals use management abilities to run their households, plan projects, and negotiate terms with companies or contractors. Discover five manager skills anyone can learn or improve, whether you’re aiming for a job position or simply want to handle adulthood.

Interpersonal skills

Teamwork, communication, and delegation are soft skills that fall under the umbrella term of interpersonal skills. These help you interact with others and develop meaningful relationships at home and work. Indeed, “[t]hose with good interpersonal skills are strong verbal and non-verbal communicators and are often considered to be ‘good with people,’” according to Corporate Finance Institute (CFI).

The Science of People suggested individuals learn how to:

  • Phrase sentences and speak so people listen.
  • Control body language, like voice tone and facial expressions.
  • Detect nonverbal cues from others.
  • Demonstrate empathy and respond with authenticity.
  • Set boundaries and be assertive.
  • Actively listen and give and take in relationships.

[Read more: Personality Traits Successful Entrepreneurs Have in Common]

Strategic thinking and planning

The Center for Management & Organization Effectiveness (CMOE) defined strategic thinking as “an intentional and rational thought process that focuses on the analysis of critical factors and variables that will influence the long-term success of a business, a team, or an individual.”

Strategic thinkers spend less time reacting to situations and can learn to make fast yet thoughtful decisions. In the workplace, strategic thinking techniques help leaders predict outcomes, analyze ideas, and overcome obstacles. Individuals can use this talent at home to manage finances or plan a vacation or party.

Characteristics of strategic thinking include:

  • Being able to step back and see the bigger picture.
  • Understanding the importance of historical and real-time data.
  • The ability to visualize future events or outcomes.
  • Knowing how to turn a broad perspective into actionable steps.
  • The capacity to analyze information objectively.

CMOE recommended that people become “more skilled at anticipating, forecasting, and capitalizing on opportunities.” You can uncover biases, listen to experts and leaders, and ask good questions.


CFI called problem-solving “the ability to sort things out even when the prevailing conditions are not right.” This manager skill applies to private and professional experiences, allowing individuals to identify and analyze problems before developing solutions and acting. Although it’s essential to be decisive and make quick decisions, individuals should avoid snap judgments or jumping to conclusions.

Strategic thinkers spend less time reacting to situations and can learn to make fast yet thoughtful decisions.

Improve your problem-solving skills by:

[Read more: 9 Leadership Training Programs for Managers]

Self-regulation, control, and awareness

A Frontiers in Psychology report stated, “Self-regulation can be defined as the whole system of standards, thoughts, processes, and actions that guide people’s behavior toward desired end states.” Likewise, self-control and awareness are integral components of emotional intelligence. In short, these skills let you handle uncomfortable moments without throwing a fit or otherwise acting impulsively.

Use these tips to learn self-regulation, awareness, and control skills:

  • Practice situational and personal awareness by being mindful of what you’re doing and where you are.
  • Understand that you are more than initial feelings in a situation, which biologically sway you towards approaching, avoiding, or attacking.
  • Pay attention to physical cues that could lead to a loss of control, such as a high heart rate or clammy palms.

Adaptability and resilience

According to McKinsey & Company, “Resilience often entails responding well to an external event, while adaptability moves us from enduring a challenge to thriving beyond it.” The combination helps you remain calm under duress and approach change with curiosity instead of fear. In short, resilient, adaptable people can handle nearly anything that comes their way.

Become more adaptable and resilient by:

  • Challenging yourself to break bad habits and build new ones.
  • Letting go of the “that’s the way it’s always been done” mentality.
  • Understanding that failure isn’t the end of the world.
  • Focusing on your physical and mental health.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

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