How Good Are
Your Management Skills?

Test Your Management Skills

Are you getting the best out of your team?

© iStockphoto/Yuri_Arcurs

In business, we often seem to focus less on good management, and more on the glamorous and exciting work of leadership.

However, managers are responsible for making sure that things are done properly. And while leaders may bring us vision, inspiration and challenge, these things count for nothing without the efficient implementation brought about by good management.

To be a great manager, you must have an extensive set of skills – from planning and delegation to communication and motivation. Because the skill set is so wide, it's tempting to build skills in the areas of management that you're already comfortable with. But, for your long-term success, it's wise to analyze your skills in all areas of management – and then to challenge yourself to improve in all of these areas.

This quiz helps you to quickly identify your areas of strength and weakness, so that you can capitalize on the former and manage the latter. We then direct you to resources that you can use to develop your skills further.

Note:

To learn more about leadership and to assess your leadership skills, complete our quiz, How Good Are Your Leadership Skills?  

How Good Are Your Management Skills?

Instructions:

For each statement, click the button in the column that best describes you. Please answer questions as you actually are (rather than how you think you should be), and don't worry if some questions seem to score in the 'wrong direction'. When you are finished, please click the 'Calculate My Total' button at the bottom of the test.

   20 Statements to Answer

Not
at All
Rarely Some
times
Often Very
Often
1 When I have a problem, I try to solve it myself before asking my boss what to do.
2 When I delegate work, I give it to whoever has the most time available.
3 I follow up with team members whenever I see that their behavior has a negative impact on customer service.
4 I make decisions following careful analysis, rather than relying on gut instinct.
5 I let my team members figure out for themselves how best to work together – teams are a work in progress!
6 I wait before disciplining a team member, so that people have a chance to correct their behaviors for themselves.
7 Technical skills are the most important skills that I need to be an effective manager.
8 I spend time talking with my team about what's going well and what needs improving.
9 In meetings, I take on the role of moderator/facilitator when necessary, and I help my team reach a better understanding of the issue or reach consensus.
10 I fully understand how the business processes in my department operate, and I'm working to eliminate bottlenecks.
11 When putting together a team, I consider the skills I need – and then I seek people who best fit my criteria.
12 I do all that I can to avoid conflict in my team.
13 I try to motivate people within my team by tailoring my approach to motivation to match each individual's needs.
14 When my team makes a significant mistake, I update my boss on what has happened, and then I think of it as an important lesson learned.
15 When conflict occurs within a new team, I accept it as an inevitable stage in the team development process.
16 I talk to team members about their individual goals, and I link these to the goals of the entire organization.
17 If I'm putting a team together, I select people with similar personalities, ages, time with the company, and other characteristics.
18 I think that the statement "If you want a job done well, do it yourself" is true.
19 I talk with team members as individuals to ensure that they're happy and productive.
20 I brief my team members so that they know what's going on around them in the organization.
Calculate My Total
Total = 0

Score Interpretation

Score Comment
20-46 You need to improve your management skills urgently. If you want to be effective in a leadership role, you must learn how to organize and monitor your team's work. Now is the time to start developing these skills to increase your team's success! (Read below to start.)
47-73 You're on your way to becoming a good manager. You're doing some things really well, and these are likely the things you feel comfortable with. Now it's time to work on the skills that you've been avoiding. Focus on the areas where your score is low, and figure out what you can do to make the improvements you need. (Read below to start.)
74-100 You're doing a great job managing your team. Now you should concentrate on improving your skills even further. In what areas did you score a bit low? That's where you can develop improvement goals. Also, think about how you can take advantage of these skills to reach your career goals. (Read below to start.)

Effective management requires a wide range of skills, and each of these skills complements the others. Your goal should be to develop and maintain all of these skills, so that you can help your team accomplish its objectives efficiently and effectively. Read on for ideas and resources that you can use to do this.

A Model of Effective Management

Our quiz is based on eight essential skill areas where managers should focus their efforts. By covering these basics, you'll enjoy more success as a team manager:

  1. Understanding team dynamics and encouraging good relationships.
  2. Selecting and developing the right people.
  3. Delegating effectively.
  4. Motivating people.
  5. Managing discipline and dealing with conflict.
  6. Communicating.
  7. Planning, making decisions, and problem solving.
  8. Avoiding common managerial mistakes.

We'll explore each of these in more detail.

Understanding Team Dynamics and Encouraging Good Relationships

(Questions 5, 15, 17)

Good management means understanding how teams operate. It's worth remembering that teams usually follow a certain pattern of development: forming, norming, storming, and performing  . It's important to encourage and support people through this process, so that you can help your team become fully effective as quickly as possible.

When forming teams, managers must create a balance so that there's a diverse set of skills, personalities, and perspectives. You may think it's easier to manage a group of people who are likely to get along, but truly effective teams invite many viewpoints and use their differences to be creative and innovative.

Here, your task is to develop the skills needed to steer those differences in a positive direction. This is why introducing a team charter   and knowing how to resolve team conflict   are so useful for managing your team effectively.

Selecting and Developing the Right People

(Questions 11, 17)

Finding great new team members, and developing the skills needed for your team's success is another important part of team formation.

You can improve your recruiting skills with our Recruiting Skills Bite-Sized Training pack, and with out articles on Hiring People – Questions to Ask  , InBox Assessment  , Using Recruitment Tests  , and Aptitude Testing  .

And you can develop people's skills with our articles on, among others, Successful Induction  , Understanding Developmental Needs  , Training Needs Assessment  , and the GROW Model  . You'll also find our Bite-Sized Training session on Mentoring Skills useful.

Delegating Effectively

(Question 2, 18)

Having the right people with the right skills isn't sufficient for a team's success. Managers must also know how to get the job done efficiently. Delegation   is the key to this. Some managers, especially those who earned their positions based on their technical expertise, try to do most of the work themselves. They think that, because they're responsible for the work, they should do it themselves to make sure it's done right.

Effective managers recognize that by assigning work to the right people (not just those with the most time available), and clearly outlining expectations, teams can accomplish much more. But it's often difficult to trust others to do the job. As a manager, remember that when your team members have the right skills, training and motivation, you can usually trust them to get the work done right.

Find out your strengths and weaknesses related to delegation by taking our quiz How Well Do You Delegate?  

Motivating People

(Question 13, 19)

Another necessary management skill is motivating others. It's one thing to motivate yourself, but it's quite another to motivate someone else. The key thing to remember is that motivation is personal. We're all motivated by different things, and we all have different levels of personal motivation. So, getting to know your team members on a personal level allows you to motivate your people better. Providing feedback   on a regular basis is a very powerful strategy to help you stay informed about what's happening with individual team members. You can test your motivation skills   with our quiz, and use your answers to develop your skills further.

Managing Discipline and Dealing with Conflict

(Questions 3, 6, 12)

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, there are problems with individual performance. As a manager, you have to deal with these promptly. If you don't discipline, you risk negative impacts on the rest of the team as well as your customers, as poor performance typically impacts customer service, and it hurts the team and everything that the team has accomplished. It's very demotivating to work beside someone who consistently fails to meet expectations, so if you tolerate it, the rest of the team will likely suffer. In our article on team management skills  , we explore this issue in further detail and give you some examples.

Team performance will also suffer when differences between individual team members turn into outright conflict, and it's your job as team manager to facilitate a resolution. Read our article on Resolving Team Conflict   for a three-step process for doing this. However, conflict can be positive when it highlights underlying structural problems – make sure that you recognize conflict and deal with its causes, rather than just suppressing its symptoms or avoiding it.

Communicating

(Question 8, 9, 16, 20)

An element that's common to all of these management skills is effective communication. This is critical to any position you hold, but as a manager, it's especially important (you can test your communication skills   with our quiz here  ). You need to let your team know what's happening and keep them informed as much as possible. Team briefing   is a specific communication skill that managers should improve. Also, develop the ability to facilitate   effectively, so that you can guide your team to a better understanding and serve as a moderator when necessary.

Planning, Problem Solving and Decision-Making

(Questions 4 and 10)

Many managers are very comfortable with planning, problem solving and decision making, given that they're often skilled specialists who've been promoted because of their knowledge and analytical abilities. As such, one of the most important issues that managers experience is that they focus so intensely on these skills when they think about self-development that they fail to develop their people skills and team management skills. Make sure that you don't focus on these skills too much!

However, if you need to develop these skills, see our major sections on Problem Solving, Decision-Making, and Project Management. You'll find many rich skills improvement resources in these areas.

Avoiding Common Managerial Mistakes

(Questions 1, 7, 14)

Good communication helps you develop facilitation skills, and it also helps you avoid some of the most common problems for managers. Some of these common mistakes are thinking that you can rely on your technical skills alone, asking your boss to solve your problems, putting your boss in the awkward position of having to defend you, and not keeping your boss informed. Our article on Team Management Skills   highlights what to do to avoid these, and other managerial problems that you should be aware of.

Key Points

You need to develop and improve your managerial skills on an ongoing basis as your career develops and as you meet new managerial challenges.

Whether you manage a department or a project team, it's important to know how to get the work done right. When you're asked to achieve something with the help of others, it's complex – and you spend much of your time managing relationships instead of doing the actual work. So, you must develop not only your technical skills, but your management skills as well.

Delegating, motivating, communicating, and understanding team dynamics are some of the key skills needed. With those skills, along with patience and a strong sense of balance, you can become a very effective manager.

This site teaches you the skills you need for a happy and successful career; and this is just one of many tools and resources that you'll find here at Mind Tools. Click here for more, subscribe to our free newsletter, or become a member for just $1.

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Comments (11)
  • Midgie wrote Over an hour ago
    Hi Thea,
    Sounds like you would make a great manager then! It's great that you have the mindset of a manager and I wonder if there could be any opportunities where you currently work (or find some volunteer work) where you could gain some actual managerial experiences. That could put you in a great place to make the move. What do you think?

    Midgie
  • Thea wrote Over an hour ago
    Wow I scored a lot better here than I thought I would I have not had a manager position at any of my jobs before. I just answered based on what I would do if I was a manager. scored 71
  • Yolande wrote This month
    Hi Austin

    We're glad that you found the tool useful and that you may make some changes as a result of using it. That's what we're all about here at Mind Tools: helping people to become better at what they do. You may also want to have a look at some of our other articles on leadership. http://www.mindtools.com/community/pages/main/newMN_LDR.php

    Yolande
  • auta123 wrote This month
    Many many millions thanks for this great skills ascertain the ladder of stage of leadership and management am now going to work on myself judiciously to amend my avoidable mistakes Thanks a lot. Austin
  • Yolande wrote This month
    That's our mission in life abdulsalam...to help people become better at what they do! Thanks for your kind comment. :-)

    Yolande
  • abdulsalam wrote This month
    thanks for letting me know about my level. this a good thing from you and i really appreciate your helping the people to be a good managers.
  • Midgie wrote Over a month ago
    Hi Jane,
    Welcome to the Club and pleased to hear that you think the article and assessment are great!!

    Unfortunately, we do not provide copies of our articles. You can however print out the articles yourself and if you look in the right hand margins, you will see an option to select 'print friendly version'.

    How are you thinking of using the article? Is it just to have a hardcopy to read or to share with your team?

    Hope that helps.
    Midgie
  • janemudd wrote Over a month ago
    Think this and the assessment of leadership skills are great. Is it possible to get hard copy?
  • Dianna wrote Over a month ago
    Hi alsubait,
    Glad you enjoyed the quiz. I agree that each situation is unique however, the underlying issue contained in the question is where or not you expect your boss to solve the problem or whether you come to him/her with solutions and expect to talk them through.

    This is a huge distinction and one that needs to be carefully examined. As a manager sometimes you have to make a decision - you have to trust yourself. Maybe it won't be exactly the way your boss would have done it, but that's OK. If you never take a risk and always your boss for direction he or she might as well just do the job him or her self. Now of course when the consequences are great and you need some assistance that's when you turn to your boss for guidance and support. Here again though, you want to have at least thought of some solutions so it doesn't appear that you are simply dumping the hard decisions on your boss' desk.

    Does that help clarify? Maybe you can re-score that question based on this explanation.

    Dianna
  • alsubait wrote Over a month ago
    Hi
    im new here ... and im working to gain as much as i can from this useful web site.
    about the quiz i did it and my result was 68 so i need to improve my management skills and be better

    but i find some of the statements are not clear enough (from my point of view) for an example the first statement :


    when i have a problem, i ask my boss what to do so that things get done right in the first place.


    well from my opinion : it depends on the kind of the problem, some problems i have to deal with it by my self and find a solution by my own, its not practice at all to return back to my boss every time i face a problem.
    but some kind of problems (huge and complicated) that it have to be managed and directed by the boss, i believe i have to go back to him/her on this kind of cases of problems.

    any how it was interesting using the quiz, i find it useful in the full image.

    so thank you very much.
Show all comments

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