Management Concepts Every Aspiring Manager Should Know (2023)

Written by Coursera • Updated on

As a manager, it's important to understand management concepts, theories, and approaches. Discover management competencies every aspiring manager should have.

[Featured image] A manager sits at their desk and meets with a member of the management team.

As you learn more about management concepts, you’ll discover core management ideas and competencies you should understand to become a successful manager. 

The concept of management has changed over the years, with many different approaches to managing an organization gaining popularity over time. The ones that became popular focus on human factors, highlighting the importance of autonomy, task mastery, and purpose. 

A manager's responsibility is to get things done for an organization with the resources available and the skills and knowledge of their staff. 

Functional concepts in management

As an aspiring manager, you’ll need to know how to plan, organize, staff, lead, and control your business area. By understanding and using management competencies in these five management disciplines, you'll be better able to achieve your goals and set your team up for success. 

  • Planning is setting goals and creating a strategy to achieve those goals.

  • Organizing is putting the plan into action by creating a structure and assigning tasks. 

  • Staffing recruiting, hiring, and training employees to carry out the plan. 

  • Leading motivates and guides employees to achieve the organization's goals. 

  • Controlling is monitoring progress towards the organization's goals and taking corrective action when necessary. 

The concepts of management, administration, and leadership?

In each of the five management functions, situations may emerge where you need to focus more on management, administration, or leadership. Here is what each process looks like: 

  • Management involves setting goals and then working with people to achieve them.

  • Administration is the process of managing the details. This includes planning, organizing, and controlling resources.

  • Leadership is the process of influencing people to accomplish desired objectives. This involves high-level strategy and motivating and guiding people to achieve results. 

You'll need to build your management, administrative, and leadership skills to develop a career as an effective manager. 

Read more: 11 Key Project Management Skills

Required management skills

You’ll need a diverse skill set when managing people in an organizational setting. Here is a look at some of the core administrative, leadership, and management competencies essential in management jobs. 

Demonstrate honesty and transparency.

Your employees need to trust you, and they can only do that if they know that you’re being honest with them. When you’re open and transparent with your employees, they’ll also be more likely to feel comfortable coming to you with any concerns or problems they may have.

Inspire others.

Your employees will look to you for guidance and motivation, and it’s up to you to set the tone for the team. People need to see that you're passionate about your work and willing to work hard to make things happen. People who see you're committed and driven will be more likely to follow your lead. 

Communicate effectively.

You need to be able to communicate with your team, clients, and upper management. This means being able to communicate clearly and concisely, as well as being able to listen to their concerns and feedback. Effective communication is essential to building a solid rapport with your team and ensuring everyone aligns themselves with organizational goals.

Active listening

Active listening involves taking the time to listen to what your employees are saying without interrupting or trying to offer solutions too quickly. By listening to them, you can gain valuable insights that’ll help you make better decisions about managing your team.

Resolve conflict.

A great manager knows how to diffuse a tense situation and come to a fair resolution for everyone involved. Understanding conflict resolution strategies can help prevent minor issues from becoming big problems.

Coaching and mentoring

By coaching and mentoring, you’ll be able to help staff reach their full potential and be more effective in their roles. When you create a learning culture, your teams become more adaptable and productive.

Delegating to others 

Delegation allows you to focus on your work while ensuring that tasks progress efficiently. When you delegate, you can assign duties to team members with the skills and knowledge necessary to complete the task. This saves you time and allows you to use the strengths of those around you.

Problem solving

You’ll be responsible for finding solutions to problems that may arise. You’ll need to be able to understand the nature of a problem and think creatively to overcome challenges.

Think strategically and make decisions.

Taking a strategic approach helps you see the big picture and understand how your decisions impact the company. Strategic thinkers can anticipate problems and develop solutions before they occur.

Organization and project management

As a manager, it’s essential to remain organized. You’ll keep track of deadlines, projects, and goals. It also means communicating this information to your team and keeping them on track. Project management skills are also critical. This includes planning and execution.

Read more: What Does a Product Manager Do? Define Product Strategy

Flexibility, adaptability, and change management

Business sectors, technologies, and team requirements may change constantly. You need to be able to adapt to them. By being flexible, you’ll be able to maintain a work environment conducive to productivity and growth. 

Develop people management skills.

You’ll ideally concentrate on developing specific people management skills. By focusing on specific competencies, you can build higher competency levels in each area compared to a general competency approach.  Enrolling in professional development courses is a great way to learn new management techniques and improve your existing skills. 

You might also want to find a mentor or business coach to guide you on competency gaps and how to refine them. Asking other managers for feedback or advice is another great way to learn more about yourself—and what you need to do to improve as a manager.

Steps to becoming a great manager

To become a great manager, you must gain the appropriate education and experience. Your resume should demonstrate many of the skills mentioned previously. You can develop your resume through formal education, extra courses, and management experience.

Read more: 9 Key Management Skills: How to Show Them on Your Resume

Educational qualifications

To get a job in management, you’ll typically need an associate degree in a relevant field, such as business management. However, many employers prefer candidates with a bachelor's or advanced degree, such as an MBA. You'll need less education to work your way up from junior roles. With higher levels of education, you can enter the job market at a more senior level.

Top certifications to consider

You may want to consider getting a management certification to boost your resume. You can use certifications to demonstrate that you've got the skills and knowledge necessary to perform effectively in a management role. Certifications can give you an edge over other candidates when applying for jobs or promotions. Additionally, some employers may require certifications for certain positions. For example, you might need to be certified in cloud infrastructure to work in cloud technology management roles. Here are some certifications that you might want to consider:

PMP® project management professional

The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is one of project management professionals' most respected and recognized credentials. The Project Management Institute (PMI) organizes the PMP certification, which validates your proficiency in managing people, processes, and business environments. 

To apply for PMP certification, you’ll need a four-year degree and 36 months of experience in project management. You can also use an associate degree, but you’ll need at least 60 months of project management experience.

Read more: How to Get a PMP Certification: An Overview

Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM)

The Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) certification shows that you have the knowledge and skills to lead a team implementing Agile development practices. This certification is ideal for those who want to work with projects that use Agile methodologies and processes.

To qualify for the CSM certification, you’ll need to take a 14-hour CSM course, online or in-person. Next, you’ll have to pass the CSM examination, getting at least 37 correct answers from the 50 questions.

Read more: 7 In-Demand Scrum Master Certifications

CBPA® Certified business process associate, professional, or leader

The Certified Business Process Associate (CBPA) program helps professionals in business process management-related fields to build a solid foundation in business process improvement techniques. The Association of Business Process Management Professionals International (ABPMP®) issues this certification.

To earn the CBPA certification, you’ll need 1250 hours of hands-on experience in business process management if you don't have a relevant degree. Alternatively, you can take and pass a comprehensive assessment to receive this certification if you have a four-year college degree.

AIPMM-certified product manager

The Certified Product Manager (AIPMM) certification is an industry-recognized credential that shows you have what it takes to champion new products through their entire cycle. As a certified product manager, it’s your responsibility to ensure that you create and release products that deliver the best results. The Association of International Product Marketing & Management (AIPMM) offers this certification. 

To qualify for the exam, you’ll need to take the 280 Group Optimal Product Management and Product Marketing training. You can do this in-person or online. After paying the examination fee, you can choose a date for your test on the AIPMM platform, perform a test run on the platform to understand how it works and get access to tips that will help you pass the exam more easily. If you pass the exam, you’ll receive your certification in about seven days. 


professional certificate

Google Project Management:

Start your path to a career in project management. In this program, you’ll learn in-demand skills that will have you job-ready in less than six months. No degree or experience is required.


(71,513 ratings)

944,894 already enrolled


Average time: 6 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

Organizational Culture, Career Development, Strategic Thinking, Change Management, Project Management, Stakeholder Management, Business Writing, Project Charter, Project Planning, Risk Management, Task Estimation, Procurement, Quality Management, Project Execution, Coaching, Influencing, Agile Management, Problem Solving, Scrum, Effective Communication

Read more: 10 PMI Certifications to Level Up Your Project Management Career

Sharpen your managerial skills and experience 

You need to sharpen your managerial skills to be successful in your management career. Here are some practical things you can do to enhance your management ability in every role. 

  • Take courses to learn management basics so you'll have a good foundation. As well as taking classes on management concepts, theories, and approaches, look for courses that cover diverse management, leadership, and administrative competencies.

  • Try to get as much experience as possible in leadership roles. Offer to work on projects, take responsibility, and supervise junior staff. This will help you develop your managerial style and learn what works for you in different situations. 

  • Show your worth to those in charge. Demonstrate that you're capable of handling more responsibility and committed to doing whatever it takes to help the team succeed.

Read more: How to Become a Project Manager: 6 Steps

What are the average earnings for different management roles?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), you can earn an average annual salary of $102,450 as a manager [1]. Your earnings will depend on factors like your experience, and the size, location, and sector of your company. 

Here are some management and board-level roles you might want to target in your career, along with the annual US salary you can expect to earn:

  • General manager: $105,191 [2]

  • Operations manager: $100,751 [3]

  • Sales manager $118,384 [4]

  • Finance manager: $155,798 [5]

  • Marketing manager:  $77,663 [6]

  • Product manager: $127,616 [7]

  • Project manager: $84,954 [8]

  • Program manager: $101,444 [9]

  • Chief executive officer (CEO): $375,555 [10]

  • Chief operating officer (COO): $395,959[11]

  • Chief technology officer (CTO): $258,312[12]

  • Chief financial officer (CFO): $306,869 [13]

Get started

If you're ready to start building a career in management, get job-ready skills with professional certificates or degrees.  On Coursera, consider the Google Project Management Professional Certificate if you want to focus on project management and gain hands-on experience.  

You might like to consider the Bachelor of Science in General Business offered by the University of Texas. If you're ready to move forward with an advanced degree, then consider the Master of Business Administration offered by The University of Illinois on Coursera.


professional certificate

Google Project Management:

Start your path to a career in project management. In this program, you’ll learn in-demand skills that will have you job-ready in less than six months. No degree or experience is required.


(71,513 ratings)

944,894 already enrolled


Average time: 6 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

Organizational Culture, Career Development, Strategic Thinking, Change Management, Project Management, Stakeholder Management, Business Writing, Project Charter, Project Planning, Risk Management, Task Estimation, Procurement, Quality Management, Project Execution, Coaching, Influencing, Agile Management, Problem Solving, Scrum, Effective Communication


Bachelor of Science in General Business

University of North Texas


Master of Business Administration (iMBA)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Article sources


US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Management occupations,” Accessed November 18, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

Big savings for your big goals! Save $200 on Coursera Plus.

  • For a limited time, save like never before on a new Coursera Plus annual subscription (original price: $399 | after discount: $199 for one year).
  • Get unlimited access to 7,000+ courses from world-class universities and companies—for less than $20/month!
  • Gain the skills you need to succeed, anytime you need them—whether you’re starting your first job, switching to a new career, or advancing in your current role.