Office and Admin Professional Development

Soft Skills for the Workplace: The Top 4 Skills for Successful Managers

Written by Miranda Pennington

Ever looked at your supervisor and thought in exasperation, “I could totally do that job!”? Don’t be fooled—odds are there’s more to a manager’s job than meets the eye. If you’re a manager yourself or just have your eye on the managerial prize, consider how you can develop and maintain behind-the-scenes soft skills that will keep you at the top of your game like these, from Lei Han at

1. Leadership and People Management Skills

As a manager, you need the leadership and people skills that will help you “attract, retain, direct, motivate, train, and manage” the people you supervise. Get to know your workers one-on-one so you can more effectively make use of their strengths, accommodate their challenges, support their goals—employees know when their manager has their best interests at heart, and it’s a great way to motivate your team.

2. Communication Skills

You have to be able to work up and down the chain of command in your workplace—that means learning to advocate for your team to the higher-ups and supporting the initiatives that you’re handing down to your employees. Make sure everyone understands their roles, and make sure you offer a receptive ear whenever one of your employees needs to be heard.

3. Conflict Resolution Skills

Nothing says “I’m in charge” like being the end of the line for employee conflicts. Incompatible personalities or differences of opinion on a complex project can blow up into a catastrophe if not managed from the start. Take the time to assess your mediation skills. If they could use a tune-up, see what programs or classes your company might offer to help you improve them. You can then offer coaching to employees that helps them resolve future conflicts on their own, paying your new skills forward and making everyone’s worklife run more smoothly.

4. Networking Skills

For managers, the ability to foster relationships and put the right people in touch with one another solves problems and generates great ideas. It’s a demonstration of judgment and generosity that supports all of your employees across different divisions and departments.

Keep in mind that skills that support are just as important as skills that demand accountability when it comes to managerial relationships; soft skills like these will help you remember your employees are people first, and workers second.

4 Soft Skills Every Manager Needs


About the author

Miranda Pennington

Miranda K. Pennington is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared on The Toast, The American Scholar, and the Ploughshares Writing Blog. She currently teaches creative nonfiction for Uptown Stories, a Morningside Heights nonprofit organization. She has an MFA from Columbia University, where she has also taught in the University Writing program and consulted in the Writing Center.