This pressure may often seem overwhelming. After all, there are always urgent tasks on the table that demand your attention. There are also plans and deadlines you have to be constantly aware of. Thus self-education seems to become the last priority when in reality it’s a crucial part of the complete success puzzle.
So how do you find balance in priorities, develop yourself, grow a strong team, and yet deliver great projects on time? Here’s where the Management Skills Pyramid, proposed by a consultant, author, and Ph.D. Kammy Haynes, becomes helpful.
In this article, we will discuss the basics of management skills development and introduce you to this powerful model.
So what is the Management Skills Pyramid?
The Management Skills Pyramid is a convenient model that depicts the hierarchy of skill sets that each manager has to learn and develop in order to achieve a meaningful and fulfilling career.
In today’s crazy information-driven world, managing your own schedule is a challenge in of itself, let alone managing others.
Usually, a manager should simultaneously be able to:
- Guide and teach teams of individuals to work together as one, achieving specific tasks that support an organization’s tactical and strategic goals.
- Enforce policy compliance and adherence to processes at his management level
- Support the individual development of each team member through coaching
- Participate in HR processes like hiring, performance reviews, and training
- Cooperate with other teams in the process of cross-functional problem-solving
- Be involved in process improvement and strategic development initiatives
- Report to upper management
Those are the classic management responsibilities only, but usually, managers end up doing much more than this. In tech, for example, project manager is often a “jack of all trades” type of a guy, expected to be always ready to put off the charts and sit down to code for a while.
With this being said, even in the most extreme startup environment, you can still find time for everything if you task load is balanced. Management Skills Pyramid can help you find this balance.
Levels of Management Mastery
Management Skills Pyramid breaks the learning process into stages and shows how different management skills are built on each other. Below, we will review each of those levels.
These are the fundamentals, basic skills that ensure that work being managed is completed at the right time, quality, and cost. It also a sort of a checklist to getting a project done:
- Plan: Determine the time frames, resources requirements, schedule activities
- Organize: Assign responsibilities, structure teams, establish the communication process
- Direct: Provide constant guidance, ensure performance and compliance
- Control: Track and analyze results, report on output, quality, and costs
True leadership is, of course, more than getting stuff done. Moving up the skills pyramid and beyond typical supervisory tasks, we encounter the need to inspire and train the people we manage. Otherwise, the effectiveness of work suffers, and team spirit declines with time.
Skills at the level 2 are also referenced as “soft skills”:
- Motivation: Encouraging people to engage and perform at their best
- Training: Ensuring your team members also grow as professionals
- Coaching: Helping each of them discover individual untapped potential
- Involvement: Enabling creative collaboration focused on problem-solving and innovations
The more you get engaged in helping others, the smaller you’ll have the window for personal mistakes. Self-development will become increasingly important. That’s where we especially have to keep attention on:
- Self Management (Work/life balancing, personal professional development)
- Time Management (Learning to delegate as much as possible, adhere to priorities)
Finally, management for you should become leadership. Of course, leaders often perform management tasks, and managers can act as leaders. However, the point here is that leaders are work on the vision and direction, not only the day-to-day grind. They help their teams focus on one unifying mission while personally study the great picture.
Before you depart
Journey to the top of the management mountain is rarely a direct path. In fact, you’ll often find yourself wandering in between the levels of Management Skills Pyramid. Even after actually reaching the top.
And that’s absolutely fine!
All of the management roles require bits of each skill set outlined in this pyramid. What you have to keep in mind, though, is that certain skills rest on the other, and learning everything at once is impossible.
The Management Skills Pyramid will help you prioritize and choose where and when to invest more effort. You’ll be surprised what a long way a bit of consistent self-development can go.
Want to learn about our own approach?
At Boost Solutions, we use Agile methodology to lead our software projects. Learn more about Agile/SCRUM in contrast with the traditional waterfall development in the article here.