The management pyramid is a skills set used to describe the characteristics managers need to develop in order to be successful and further their careers. The tool is shaped as a pyramid with the most basic skills at its base while climbing to the top where there are the skills corresponding to senior managers.

Structure of the Management Pyramid

A) Level 1: it corresponds to the basic skills a manager should have in the industry in order to begin a career in an organization.

Some of these skills include:

  • Planning: determining the resources and setting deadlines and objectives that can fit the management plan;
  • Organizing: developing work teams, setting hierarchy and collaboration relations and a report-to structure;
  • Supervising: providing daily instructions in order to ensure productivity and the respect of company standards.
  • Controlling: monitoring, tracking and reporting on output, efficiency, cost and quality.

B) Level 2: the second layer supposes the acquisition of the basic skills laid out at Level 1 and reinforcement of people management skills, also called the “soft skills” in the Management Skills Pyramid.

Generally, they are the type of skills used to motivate and develop staff, and the most important ones can be grouped into these categories:

  • Motivational: a good manager needs to be able to recognize the needs of the staff and create a proper environment that encourages people to engage and deliver their best efforts.
  • Training: the manger should ensure the team members have or acquire the fundamental skills and knowledge they need to execute the tasks of the department or function.
  • Coaching: the managers support the team members in order to improve productivity and develop behaviors in support of higher individual performance and group goals.
  • Problem-solving: a manager needs to be able to assess the existing relations between team members and encourage collaboration with the goal of improving daily work tasks.

C) Level 3: this level of the Management Skills Pyramid corresponds to self-development. Though it may be surprising that a part is dedicated entirely to one’s own development, these skills are essential in order to become a better manager for the team members and ultimately for the organization.

Skills that are included in this category are:

  • Self-management: assess the style and success of different types of management used to support and help others develop in order to overcome the challenges of daily work and management life.
  • Time management: how to distribute the workload in order to improve performance and meet deadlines. It does not belong specifically to this level, but it crosses the entirely pyramid as it is fundamental at every level.

D) Top Level: at the top of the pyramid there are the leadership skills. The difference between managers and leaders is that the latter have the management skills as well as a vision for the organization, while managers are more focused on the daily functioning of the company. While some managers can be leaders, they need to acquire the strategic insight in order to be able to develop and implement management plans suited for the organization.