soft skills for managers

10 Must-Have Soft Skills for Managers and How to Build Them in 2023?

When it comes to management, skills are everything. And that’s why soft skills are so crucial in the job. By understanding why these skills are essential, you can become an ace manager in no time. This blog helps you develop your management skills by listing the ten most important soft skills for managers in every field. No matter your position or experience, learning how to manage people is a fundamental skill every manager should have. So read on to know more!

What are the best soft skills for managers?

Soft skills are personality traits that make people team-oriented and effective problem-solvers. They include communication, teamwork, leadership, and emotional intelligence. These skills are critical for management as they help employees work well together by coordinating their activities to contribute to team goals.

Soft skills for managers are essential for good communication with colleagues and subordinates, as they allow people to exchange information without resorting to verbal confrontation or hostility. Soft skill deficiencies can also lead to problems such as poor coordination of work.

People often confuse soft skills of managers with behavioral skills. But both are different, and soft skills in management have broad applicability across various roles. They focus on job performance. In comparison, behavioral skills are more about the person practicing them. 

Why are soft skills important for managers? 

  • Build teams that work together smoothly: Strong soft skills help managers build teams that collaborate across projects smoothly. Through solid communication skills and an understanding different perspectives, managers can help team members come together to work irrespective of interpersonal differences. They can also jump over conflicts and tensions that hamper productivity. 
  • Conflict resolution: Managers with excellent soft skills are better equipped to manage conflicts that may arise in the workplace. They can effectively mediate disputes, provide constructive feedback, and work towards solutions that benefit everyone involved.
  • Adaptability: In today’s rapidly changing environment, managers must be adaptable and able to adjust to new situations quickly. Soft skills in management such as flexibility, creativity, and innovation enable managers to respond to unexpected challenges and changes in the business landscape.
  • Leadership: Soft skills are essential for effective leadership. Managers who possess strong soft skills are better able to inspire and motivate their team members and are more likely to be seen as approachable and trustworthy leaders. They can also build strong relationships with their team members, increasing loyalty and productivity.

Soft Skills Vs. Hard Skills in Management

As a manager, it’s important to have soft and hard skills. Soft skills of managers are essential for excellent management. Hard skills are necessary but not always enough to do the job adequately. 

Hard skills differ from soft skills for managers as they are typically objective. So, unlike soft skills, they are easier to quantify and measure. Similarly, they are easier to identify and teach as well. 

But, effectiveness arrives when one masters the hard and soft skills for management which are essential to their role. For example, communication is one of the soft skills of managers that can be invaluable in any workplace. On the other hand, math and data analysis are hard skills necessary for some particular jobs. To be successful as a manager or a leader, you need to develop soft skills for management through training and development and hard skills through experience and practice.

Why do managers need soft skills?

As a manager, it’s essential to develop your soft skills so you can lead. Soft skills are vital for good management because they help people work together in cooperation. They also contribute to effective communication, problem-solving, and decision-making.

Moreover, dealing with many people and teams every day is a task that calls for strong soft skills. They help in navigating complex situations efficiently. Managers can use it to rapidly advance their careers by learning how to work with others. Soft skills are essential in the workplace because they allow people to work on their tasks without letting interpersonal issues steal productivity and peace. Thus, solid soft skills are needed at work to build your personal as well as professional journeys. 

The 10 Best Soft Skills for Managers in 2023

illustration listing soft skills for managers by Risely
The skills necessary for excellent management are numerous and varied, but any manager should have these ten critical skills. Apart from analytical and conceptual skills, a few others are essential for great management. Just as importantly, managers must develop these soft skills for management to become truly effective. If you’re looking to embark on a career in management, start by developing these soft skills for managers and using them in your current work environment. It’ll be worth the effort!


Good communication skills are essential for effective management. It helps build trust and rapport between team members, which is crucial in any collaborative environment. Effective communication can also take place through written correspondence and emails, ensuring that all the necessary information gets to the right person at the right time. Good communication skills will help you keep track of your interactions, manage difficult situations smartly, and resolve conflicts by fostering excellent relationships. It also helps avoid the menace that miscommunication can create in any team. 


Adaptability is one of the key skills that great managers need. They can adapt their approach to meet the needs of any given situation, quickly assess it, and take appropriate action. It allows them to prevent problems from arising in the first place – a crucial skill in managing people and teams effectively. Being proactive rather than reactive also helps managers stay ahead of any possible issues so they can swiftly address them before they get out of hand. By constantly learning new things, good managers become more prepared for whatever comes their way, making work much easier!


Teamwork is essential in any organization that aims to succeed. It helps to achieve goals quickly and efficiently while enhancing communication skills and creating a sense of camaraderie. Yet, building solid relationships with co-workers can be difficult – especially if you’re not used to emotional work or working under pressure. Always put the team first and take care of their feelings, especially when you are handling difficult situations.

Robust frameworks for teams to function come in handy when teams need to jump back in spirits after facing failures. Dealing with disappointments is easier together than alone, which holds for managers who wish to lead their teams through thick and thin. 

Interpersonal Skills

Listening and communication are soft skills for managers which are critical to effective teamwork. Whether you’re a boss, team player, or employee, good interpersonal skills will help you achieve your objectives. The best way to improve these skills is by practicing them regularly – in both personal and professional life. You can do this by listening to others attentively, asking questions encouraging conversation, and speaking clearly without being aggressive or defensive. It’s also important to build relationships cautiously – understanding people’s positions before trying to persuade them of yours. Finally, don’t forget that communication is not merely about speaking; active listening is equally essential. Hence, you should keep a note never to commit any of the deadly listening sins for managers! 


Being able to problem-solve is an essential skill for any leader or manager. This skill enables you to work through difficult situations and get the most out of them. It also helps in negotiations, where getting what you want can be daunting. While problem-solving primarily focuses on drawing innovative solutions that please all the stakeholders, it is not limited to huge challenges. Numerous small challenges test the problem-solving skills of a manager every day at work. Hence, proactive problem-solving is essential for managers who wish to grow into successful leaders. You can test your problem-solving skills for free with Risely’s free problem-solving assessment.

Growth mindset

A growth mindset is a cognitive perspective that emphasizes the belief that people can achieve great things if they are willing to work hard. In contrast, a fixed mindset sees individuals as having less control over their outcomes and restricts their potential. People with a growth mindset have an expansive view of themselves and those working with them, believing they can improve their skills and ability through effort. As such, people with a growth mindset are more likely to persist in trying new things even when faced with setbacks. This attitude is critical for managers who need to foster innovation within their team members and encourage creativity in problem-solving skills to achieve success.

Goal setting 

Setting and achieving goals is an essential skill for any individual, let alone a manager. Achieving goals leads to satisfaction and increased motivation, which in turn drives success. Goal-setting is an indispensable skill in the workplace. While it is not difficult to set short-term objectives, long-term goal setting can be more daunting. To successfully achieve long-term goals, managers must develop a vision or roadmap outlining their desired outcomes. They also need to communicate this vision effectively to team members to know what’s expected of them. Finally, they must be able to stay focused in the face of obstacles and distractions – both external and internal.

Consistency and Reliability

There’s no need to be a soft-hearted management guru – being consistent and reliable is all that’s needed to be a successful manager. It means showing up when needed, doing your job correctly, and following through with commitments. Managers must set good behavior in their teams by leading by example. For this, you have to be consistent in everything – from showing up every day to giving your best in each task. If someone doesn’t live up to your high standards, be willing to set boundaries and manage them effectively. Being dependable is also vital – if someone can’t rely on you, they’ll have difficulty functioning in your team. With these soft skills in place, you’ll be on your way to success. 

Empathy and Sensitivity

Managing people effectively is one of the critical skills for outstanding leadership. And to be a great manager, you must be empathetic. These two qualities allow you to understand how others feel and act accordingly. It makes interactions more productive and positive, leading to a better environment for all involved. With empathy and sensitivity at the helm, you’ll be able to manage everyone positively. They are crucial skills for managers who want to build long-term relationships with their teams, above and beyond professional connections. 

Read more: Sympathy And Empathy At Work: Approaching As A Manager

Conflict Resolution 

Leading and managing people is a skill that requires hard work and practice. Conflict resolution, or the ability to deal with disagreements calmly, is one of the essential skills for great management. Although unintended, conflicts and resistance are a part of workplace culture. Managers should be able to avoid personal attacks and stay calm under pressure. This can be learned and practiced through experience and practical tips. Furthermore, overcoming conflicts and pushing through changes smoothly will make you the great manager that any team would like to have. 

Soft Skill Training for Managers: How to Improve Soft Skills?

Building soft skills is not a process as straightforward as hard skills! It takes much more effort from the professional wanting to become a great manager. A few ways to get soft skill training as a manager are:

  • Training Workshops and Seminars: Various workshops and seminars are held for managers focusing on developing essential soft skills in management. These are typically conducted by industry experts and professionals who have built expertise in the area. However, they are generally short-term and thus fail to create a long-lasting impact. 
  • Coaches & Mentors: Coaches & mentors also provide soft skills training to their charges. These instructions are primarily based on experience. This method relies heavily on a good relationship between the manager and their guide, which can be challenging to establish. 
  • Online coaching: Managers can access soft skills training online through remote and now AI-enabled platforms, which curate a large body of resources. They are available per the manager’s feasibility and cater to the unique challenges they face. 
You can check out Risely today for a free 14-day trial into AI-enabled leadership coaching explicitly designed for you! With customized learning journeys, toolkits to guide you through challenges, and assessments that track your progress, Risely jumps people management traps with you – one day at a time. Get started now! 


Having the right soft skills for management can make a big difference in your career. They will help you to build relationships with others and manage them effectively. By being a master of these essential soft skills for managers, you’ll be able to understand the best ways to manage your teams effectively. It will improve performance and productivity – essential ingredients of success for any team. With soft skills of managers at the forefront and hard skills backstage, managing people becomes much easier!

Test your communication skills today with a free self-assessment for managers?

Take the free communication skills self-assessment for managers to identify your blind spots and overcome them.

Soft Skills for Managers FAQs

Why are soft skills essential at work?

Managers need soft skills at work to smartly navigate challenging team situations. They assist managers in overcoming interpersonal issues that can hamper team productivity, such as personality conflicts and misunderstandings. Beyond hard skills, soft skills help identify problems and spot barriers tp development.

How to improve managerial soft skills?

The key to improving soft skills as a manager lies in continuous practice and assessment of skills. In addition to focusing on applying soft skills in real-life situations, you can also assess your soft skills with tools such as leadership assessments by Risely. Also, take feedback and learn from your peers.

What are the benefits of soft skills at work?

Soft skills create efficient managers who are not only technical experts but also manage teams practically. They know how to create a positive atmosphere where productivity rises. Also, soft skills enable the personal growth of managers by guaranteeing better conflict resolution, communication, and emotional intelligence.

What are the most important soft skills to have for a manager?

The most important soft skills for managers include communication skills, adaptability across different situations, a growth mindset, empathy and sensitivity toward others, conflict resolution in teams, and problem-solving skills.

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