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10 skills needed for business management

By University of Phoenix

At a glance

  • Communication, leadership and conflict resolution are some of the skills that can benefit business managers.
  • One of the best ways to hone leadership skills is through on-the-job experience.
  • Learn more business skills with an online business degree program at University of Phoenix!


Important business management skills

Good managers must have a strong mastery of business management skills to lead and motivate teams, direct projects, manage budgets and resources, and ensure that organizations run efficiently and effectively. Continuous development of these skills will most likely not only benefit career growth, but your company’s productivity as well.


Here, we’ll explore important skills every business manager should have.

1.   Communication

Communicating clearly, concisely and effectively is critical for business managers. You'll need to be able to share your vision and goals with your team, set timelines, provide feedback, give presentations and write reports.

In addition, effective communication skills lay the foundation for building relationships, whether that’s finding things in common with potential business partners or working to resolve conflicts between employees.

2.   Leadership

Leadership is another essential skill for top executives and managers. After all, you’ll need to inspire and motivate your team to achieve company goals. Good business leaders can build relationships, delegate tasks, provide mentorship, foster collaboration and make difficult decisions.

They can also use leadership in a variety of circumstances — not just when managing employees. For example, leadership skills can be essential when:

  • Building a company culture and strategic vision
  • Developing and launching new products
  • Creating coaching and growth plans for teams

Leadership skills can be learned through experience, education or training. Earning a business degree or General Management Certificate can help you develop the theoretical foundation to understand different leadership styles and how to put them into practice.

One of the best ways to hone leadership skills is through on-the-job experience. As you take on more responsibility within your organization, you’ll have opportunities to try different leadership techniques and learn what works best for you and your team.

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3.   Problem-solving

Business always has challenges and obstacles to overcome. That’s why problem-solving skills are critical. The ability to identify problems, brainstorm solutions and make decisions that positively impact your company’s bottom line is indispensable.

Problem-solving skills can be used in all facets of a business, including:

  • To assist in solving budgeting issues.
  • To solve production issues that impact efficiency. This could mean creating a coaching plan for employees performing below standard, or creating new processes for everyone to follow.
  • To solve customer complaints that affect satisfaction levels and overall reputation.

Not every situation is black and white, so you’ll need to be comfortable with ambiguity and making decisions in the face of uncertainty. Creative thinking, critical analysis and sound judgment are key components of problem-solving.

4.   Decision-making

The importance of decision-making in management cannot be understated — it’s a core business skill that managers need to master. Each decision aims to achieve a specific goal, so it’s necessary to be clear about that goal before moving forward.

For example:

  • If the goal is to increase profits, a manager might decide to cut costs by reducing headcount or changing suppliers.
  • If the goal is to improve customer satisfaction, a manager might decide to increase spending on customer service or invest in new product development.
  • If an employee isn’t meeting performance expectations, a manager might decide to provide coaching or assign new projects.

Of course, not all decisions are black and white. Managers often face decisions that exist in a gray area. It’s critical to consider the risks involved and make informed decisions to move your business forward.

5.   Strategic thinking

Strategic thinking is a crucial component of business management. It’s the ability to think long term and plan for your business’s future while considering the present situation.

This skill involves setting goals, analyzing the competition and making decisions to achieve your desired outcome. It’s also essential to be able to adapt your strategy as the business landscape changes and new opportunities or threats arise.

For example:

  • A business owner might set a goal to grow their company by 10% over the next year. To achieve this, they would need to analyze their current situation, understand their competition and make strategic decisions about marketing, product development and other areas.
  • A manager might also need to be strategic when it comes to adapting their business model to a changing marketplace.

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6.   Negotiation skills

Negotiation skills are critical for managers who want the best possible deals for their company. Negotiating effectively can lead to cost savings, improved terms and conditions and more favorable contracts.

For example:

  • A manager might negotiate with suppliers to get better prices for raw materials.
  • A business owner might negotiate with a landlord for lower rent or a longer lease.
  • A manager may need to negotiate with contract workers on the terms of their employment.

To be a successful negotiator, you need to think on your feet, understand the other party’s motivation and stand firm on what you want. But most importantly, you need to find common ground and reach an agreement that benefits both parties.

7.   Conflict management

When conflicts arise, it’s crucial to diffuse the situation, communicate effectively and find a resolution everyone can agree with. This can help prevent damage to relationships.

Conflict management can be used in a variety of circumstances, including:

  • Mediating a conflict between two employees
  • Resolving a dispute with a vendor
  • Helping an unhappy customer find remediation

Conflict management skills can be learned through experience, but they can also be developed by pursuing a degree such as a Master of Management.

8.   Public speaking

Public speaking is an essential skill for workplace success as it allows managers to communicate effectively with their team, clients and stakeholders. Moreover, strong public speaking skills can help build confidence and credibility. They can also be helpful when giving presentations or pitching ideas to potential investors.

Public speaking includes skills such as effective communication, message delivery and audience engagement. To be a successful public speaker, you must capture and hold your audience’s attention while clearly delivering your message. As a manager, you’ll use this skill in a variety of circumstances, including possibly delivering a keynote speech at an industry conference.

If you want to improve your public speaking skills, consider taking an oral communication course or joining a public speaking club.

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9.   Financial literacy

Financial literacy is understanding and using financial concepts to make sound decisions. This skill set is vital for business managers as it can help inform decisions about budgetinginvesting and other financial matters. A manager may need financial literacy in the following circumstances:

  • To develop a budget for their department
  • To make decisions about pricing and investments
  • To understand and interpret financial statements

If you want to improve your financial literacy, consider pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Management degree or financial management courses.

10.   Time management

Time management is planning, organizing and prioritizing your time to achieve specific goals. This skill is necessary for managers as it helps improve productivity and prevent burnout. By learning to manage your time effectively, you can set realistic goals and deadlines, create schedules and routines, and avoid procrastination.

Along with managing their own time, managers need to coordinate their team’s work schedule so company goals are met on time.

Keeping your work area organized, breaking down tasks into smaller goals and using a daily planner are great ways to start managing your time more effectively. Time management apps are available to help you stay on track.

By learning these business management skills, you’ll be on your way to success in any industry setting. So, whether you’re looking to start your own business or climb the corporate ladder, these skills lay a foundation.

Earn a business degree from University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix offers several business degrees that prepare students with skills for a variety of career paths. Whether you’re looking to build the fundamentals or advance your skill set, there’s a degree program for you.

Here are some of the business degree programs at University of Phoenix:

Associate of Arts with a concentration in Business Fundamentals — From management to accounting, the skills learned in this program are essential for anyone looking to advance in their business education. 

Bachelor of Science in Accounting Businesses around the world rely on skilled accountants to manage their finances and make profitable business decisions.

Bachelor of Science in Business Knowledge of the ins and outs of running a business can spell the difference between success and failure in a competitive business world. 

Bachelor of Science in Communication It’s one thing to have a great idea, it’s another to properly communicate that idea to a large audience. Develop skills to be a media relations specialist, copywriter and more in this degree program.

Master of Business Administration Advance your business skills beyond the fundamentals, and prepare yourself for higher leadership roles in an organization. This degree program can prepare graduates for careers as business managers, operations directors and more.

Master of Management Take your understanding of business organization and management to an advanced level. This degree program is perfect for those with experience in the workforce who are looking to take on greater leadership roles. 

Doctor of Business Administration Expand your understanding of organizations, work environments and industry. This program invites participants to delve into cutting-edge research in the field of business and develop skills for solving complex organizational problems. 


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