Competencies include a range of soft and hard skills affecting how an individual performs in their job and how they actually perform work. Hard skills (ie. technical skills) are often scrutinised when making promotion decisions, but soft skills are vital for good leadership.

A manager must show a range of competencies in order to succeed in their role because mastering those makes up a large portion of their job and the work they are expected to perform.

These 5 competencies are some of the most crucial soft skills you should look for or train for in prospective managers.

Emotional Intelligence

EQ or emotional intelligence has remained popular since Daniel Goleman linked it to business performance in his 1995 book. Today, most organisations are aware that managers must show empathy, be cognisant of the emotions and feelings of their team and be able to manage their own emotions in order to even work as a manager.

In most cases, managers with higher emotional intelligence scores are rated as better managers, are more productive, and lead happier and more satisfied teams.

Conflict Resolution

Managing teams means asking professionals to collaborate and work together, often in a high-stress environment. People will argue and conflict will happen. It is in the best interest of the organisation that their team lead is able to resolve conflict so that it does not interfere with productivity.

However, this means that the manager must be able to show emotional intelligence and work through a problem with both parties to actually resolve it for both, rather than simply asking both to move on. This requires skill, which can be trained and developed.


Good communication makes a team. Managers must be able to clearly articulate and write out information in ways that every member of their team(s) can understand.

While they don’t have to be master orators, managers must be able to elucidate ideas, share complex topics in ways everyone understands, and be able to communicate on the same level as each member of their team. This often requires the ability to recognise and shift through different methods of communication depending on the audience.

Performance Management

Performance management is just one of the many ways a manager leads a team, but it is one that ties into delegation, supervising, and managing change. To do so, managers must be able to set goals and make those goals understandable, to set clear performance requirements, to put measurement processes in place, hold individuals accountable when they don’t meet standards, reward employees when they do and offer mentoring and coaching to improve.


Mentoring and coaching are slowly becoming one of the standard elements of management and leadership. This only becomes more true as automation and technology phase out many of the time-consuming aspects of management, such as data-entry. A good leader must be able to coach or mentor an individual to recognise problems and help them move through issues impeding productivity, learning, or even a promotion.

Understanding an individual’s competencies is important whether you’re hiring, promoting, or developing managers. These factors will influence their leadership style, team satisfaction, team productivity, and even whether the individual is able to lead at all. While creating the frameworks and competency assessments necessary to measure these factors can be complex, doing so will pay off in the long-term by generating better leaders who are more capable of driving happy, productive, and engaged teams.