Practical analysis for investment professionals
17 February 2014

Seven Abilities Needed for Effectively Managing People

Have you ever wondered what distinguishes great managers from their peers? Apparently it comes down to mastering seven key competencies.

I recently tuned in to a webinar hosted by Human Capital Institute, in which Sebastian Bailey, president of Mind Gym, a global performance and leadership development consulting organization, explained that managers who excel in these seven areas are better able to differentiate themselves and contribute significant value to their organizations.

What are the critical seven? Simply put, they are the ability to:

  • Relate: The ability to understand others’ motivations, build trust, and create team spirit. This is the foundation for the remaining six. Matthew Lieberman’s recent Harvard Business Review blog post, “Should Leaders Focus on Results, or on People?” provides a neurological reason why this would be true.
  • Coach: The ability to provide regular and useful feedback, focus forward, and assess job fit.
  • Thrive: The ability to manage energy successfully, channel your own strengths, and celebrate success.
  • Execute: The ability to focus on outputs, avoid fire-fighting, and handle stakeholder and political complexity.
  • Direct: The ability to drive the vision, lead performance, and build will and skill power.
  • Innovate: The ability to effectively frame problems, act as an idea catalyst, and build an innovative culture.
  • Energize: The ability to give people hope, provide purpose and meaning, and celebrate accomplishments.

It may be unsurprising to learn that execute is the ability at which most managers excel. The areas where most managers need improvement are coach, innovate, and energize.

If you think about your own strengths and weaknesses, which competencies do you believe you excel at and which do you know you could stand to improve?

If you currently manage people or aspire to do so as part of your career, consider making a plan of action for further developing one or more of these abilities in yourself.

If you would like to read more about Mind Gym’s findings, check out their white paper, “The Return of the Manager: This Time It’s Personal” (it is free, but registration is required). The white paper also explores the importance of the modern manager in delivering impact to an organization.

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All posts are the opinion of the author. As such, they should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute or the author’s employer.

Photo credit: ©

About the Author(s)
Julia VanDeren

Julia VanDeren, manager, career services at CFA Institute, serves as the subject matter expert in career management skills, curating and developing career resources for members and program candidates. Previously, she served CFA Institute as career services representative, managing the CFA Institute JobLine (now Career Center) and Career Centre (now Career Tools) resources. VanDeren holds a BA from the University of Virginia and an MPA from Virginia Commonwealth University.

5 thoughts on “Seven Abilities Needed for Effectively Managing People”

  1. dereje says:

    i pleased about the hypothesis of leader concept..also how to magnify our ability and job skills?

  2. gohar says:


  3. kenney says:

    plaese do send or update on new edition on management skill

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