Management Concepts Every Aspiring Manager Should Know (2024)

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

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

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

Management concepts evolve, as many differing organisation management approaches can gain popularity over time. Today's popular ones focus on human factors, highlighting the importance of autonomy, task mastery, and purpose. 

A manager's responsibility is to get things done for an organisation with the resources available and their staff’s skills and knowledge. You’ll want a good grasp of these foundational management concepts to do this well.

Functional concepts in management

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

  • Planning: Set goals and create a strategy to achieve those goals.

  • Organising: Put the plan into action by creating a structure and assigning tasks. 

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

  • Leading: Motivate and guide employees to achieve the organisation's goals. 

  • Controlling: Monitor progress towards the organisation's goals and take 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, organising, 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. We’ll explore relevant management skills next.

Relevant management skills

You’ll need a diverse skill set when managing people in an organisational setting. This section describes some of the core administrative, leadership, and management competencies employers seek from their managers. 

Demonstrate honesty and transparency.

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

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 likely follow your lead. 

Communicate effectively.

You must communicate with your team, clients, and upper management. This means communicating clearly and concisely, whether verbally or in writing. Effective communication is essential to building a solid rapport with your team and ensuring everyone aligns themselves with organisational goals. 

An effective manager can also effectively listen to employee, client, or customer concerns and feedback. That’s why active listening is in this section.

Use active listening.

Active listening involves taking the time to listen to what your employees say without interrupting or trying to offer solutions too quickly. By listening to them, you can gain valuable insights to 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 help staff reach their full potential and be more effective in their roles. Using coaching and mentoring to create a learning culture, your teams can become more adaptable and productive.

Delegate to others. 

Delegation allows you to focus on your work while ensuring 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.


You’ll be responsible for finding solutions to problems that may arise. You’ll need to understand the nature of a problem and think creatively to overcome challenges. Of course, you don’t have to do this solo. You could show practical management skills by brainstorming with others and listening to various perspectives.

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. As a manager, you’ll also be responsible for ultimately making decisions. Again, you can involve others on your team or your organisation, but the final call will typically be yours.

Apply organisation and project management.

As a manager, you must remain organised to 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, as are planning and execution.

Use flexibility, adaptability, and change management.

Business sectors, technologies, and team requirements may change constantly, and you need to adapt to them. You’ll maintain a work environment conducive to productivity and growth by being flexible. Effective managers also know about change management and how to help employees, customers, or clients adapt to a new direction, a fresh approach, or different roles. 

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 can also 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

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

Enrolling in professional development courses is another great way to learn new management techniques and improve your existing skills. 

You can also 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.

Educational qualifications

To get a job in management, you’ll typically need a bachelor's or advanced degree, such as an MBA. The course you take will depend on your job role and industry. For instance, relevant degree courses for a product manager include marketing, economics, and technology. An IT manager will pursue a degree in computer science, IT project management, or related courses. If you plan to work your way up from junior positions, you'll need less education to work your way up from junior roles. In this case, you might pursue a such as a diploma in business management. With higher levels of education, you can enter the job market at a more senior level.

Top certifications to consider

You should get a management certification to demonstrate the skills and knowledge necessary to perform in a management role. Certificates can also give you an edge over other candidates when applying for jobs or promotions. 

Some employers may even require certifications for certain positions. For example, you need to be certified in cloud infrastructure to work in cloud technology management roles. Here are some certifications you might want to consider:

PMP® project management professional

The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is one of the project management professionals' most respected and recognised credentials. The Project Management Institute (PMI) organises 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; for this, you’ll need at least 60 months of project management experience.


Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM)

The Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) certification shows 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.

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

CBPA® Certified business process associate, professional, or leader

The Certified Business Process Associate (CBPA) programme 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 1,250 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 degree.


AIPMM-certified product manager

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

You’ll need to take the 280 Group Optimal Product Management and Product Marketing training to qualify for the exam. 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 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 will receive your certification in about seven days. 

Sharpen your managerial skills and experience 

Sharpen your managerial skills by doing these practical things to enhance your ability in every role. 

  • Take courses to learn management basics to 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. By doing this, you will develop your managerial style and learn what works for you in different situations. 

  • Show your worth to those in charge. Demonstrate that you can handle more responsibility and commit to doing whatever it takes to help the team succeed.

What are the average earnings for different management roles?

Your earnings depend on your experience, company size, location, and sector. Your salary will also reflect the type of management role you perform. Here are some annual average salaries you might expect in various management roles, according to Glassdoor India, as of February 2023:

  • General manager: ₹30,00,00

  • Operations manager: ₹10,00,000

  • Sales manager: ₹8,00,000

  • Finance manager: ₹13,50,000

  • Marketing manager: ₹10,00,000

  • Project manager: ₹16,00,000

  • Program manager: ₹17,00,000

  • Chief executive officer (CEO): ₹30,00,000

  • Chief operating officer (COO): ₹31,01,334

  • Chief technology officer (CTO): ₹27,02,058

Get started

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

Keep reading

Updated on
Written by:

Editorial Team

Coursera’s editorial team is comprised of highly experienced professional editors, writers, and fact...

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.