Management theories – Managerial skills

Which management theories would you like to learn more about?

Management theory and time management

Which time-related illnesses am I most susceptible to?

A distinction is made between internal and external illnesses. The former depend on the manager himself, the latter on external phenomena that are sometimes managed in an inappropriate way. While time management training courses often provide technical solutions (such as the GTD method, email management tools, etc.), the starting point is often the individual and his or her relationship with time. Managers wishing to make progress in this area may wish to consider the following questions in particular:

  • Or rather timedinitis? As a perfectionist, they might spend a lot of time putting commas in the right place without thinking about the use of the text they are correcting: simple oral or written presentation?
  • We could also look at the problem of chronophagia, i.e. the manager who wants to know about everything, including things that are not important? Perhaps they can work on their self-confidence to let go of this steering wheel.
  • Or the lone rider who wants to do everything on his own and doesn’t know how to delegate or rely on his teams. Here we are talking about trust in others, which is closely linked to the previous point.
  • They may also have a poor understanding of their biological clock and plan the most complex or energy-consuming tasks for the end of the day, when they have no energy left: a subtle blend of procrastination and lack of self-awareness.
  • Is he prone to Ouïte ? In other words, does he say yes to every request made of him? This person wants to please and struggles to prioritise between pleasing others and being efficient at work, sometimes allowing himself to be overwhelmed by external demands (telephone, emails, visits to the office, etc.).
  • Lastly, Carlson’s law of homogeneous sequences can lead to the emergence of another time disease: the segmentation of a long piece of work into mini-sequences, whereas “any work interrupted along the way will be less effective and take longer than if it were carried out continuously”. This profile is often scattered, liking diversity to the detriment of concentrated and often more efficient work.

Theories of management and time management – Deepening through self-knowledge

  • Ability to anticipate / Ability to react in a hurry
  • Degree of perfectionism
  • Ability to stand back (to distinguish between priorities and emergencies)
  • Degree of self-confidence
  • Ability to say no
  • Balance between short-term and long-term vision
  • Ability to concentrate / Need for diversity.

In the management test , an innovative and scientific algorithm enables you to obtain the following results:

  • The degree of efficiency of the person being assessed
  • Their ability to organise the work of the team, according to their level of responsibility

Management theories and communication

There is a second major theme that cuts across management theories: Communication. Because even if you have acquired all the theory you need to know how to delegate, if you don’t know how to introduce delegation or give feedback, and the message doesn’t get through or the person doesn’t understand the merits of the task entrusted to them, all the management theories put into practice will be under-exploited.

  • The best-known and most effectivecommunication techniques.
  • Psychology and the mechanisms underlying ‘reaction’.
  • Emotional intelligence, covered in a complete dossier.
  • If you would like to delve deeper into the subject after reading the following, you can choose the book on Conflict Management

Communication Techniques: The DESC Method

Situations conducive to the DESC method: Conflict management

  • D = Describe
  • E = Express emotions
  • S = Specify Solutions
  • C = Consequences and solutions

Communication techniques: The sandwich method

Situations conducive to the sandwich method: Giving feedback as part of a reframing exercise

Please note: other, more effective methods are recommended in the management bible. Here we are simply referring to known theories and methods.

  • First part of the sandwich: the positive message
  • Second slice: areas for improvement
  • Third slice: the conclusion, with a positive note

Communication techniques:NVC or non-violent communication

The DESC method and NVC have similar approaches in terms of their foundations.

Situations that are conducive to the use of NVC: Setting limits, stating an expectation or a need, repositioning the other person in the right place, separating facts from emotions, etc

The technique is based on the application of four fundamental principles:

  1. It must be possible to observe any situation without judging others.
  2. Everyone must learn to express their own feelings;
  3. express their needs ;
  4. formulate what they want from the other person.

Communication techniques: Verbal and para-verbal synchronisation – (NLP)

At one time,NLP was heavily criticised for its manipulative and unethical use (e.g. for commercial purposes)

Situations conducive to the use of verbal and para-verbal synchronisation: Creating a relationship in the individual’s unconscious, encouraging sympathy and active listening

To establish a relationship and connect with the other person, a speaker can synchronise with the other person using :

  • Verbal – use of the same verbal register, in the terms used, sentence structures (long/short for example), tone of voice, rhythm, etc
  • Para-verbal – if the aim is not to ape the other person, the other person can adopt a similar posture or gesture, which plays on the subconscious
  • Sympathy is created not on substance but on form by creating a mirror effect.

Communication via neuroscience and leadership styles

Understanding how the other person works and what they need in order to speak their language – adapting to make yourself understood

Each person has a dominant way of functioning that characterises a motivational typology, which can be addressed through communication.

  • The expert will be sensitive to precise, analytical communication;
  • The communicator will need to touch and feel, being sensitive to contact; they will also need to feel valued;
  • The organiser will be sensitive to precise, detailed, process-based communication;
  • The strategist will need to dream and be transported into the future “imagine, tomorrow…”.

These 4 profiles are derived from neuroscience studies and measured in the Assess Manager personality test.

Communication theories and VAKOG –(NLP)

Situations in which the VAKOG can be used: Adapting to the person you are talking to in order to be understood; Passing on knowledge

Each individual has a preference for memorising information.

  • Some people are “visual”, so you have to show them what you’re saying.
  • Others are auditory, and need to be explained verbally.
  • The last group are called kinesthetic, and respond more to the other senses (touch, smell, taste). They will memorise information thanks to their feelings, and they need to experience things to anchor their senses in the story. They need to experiment.

Here we’re talking about theoretical references to communication, whereas in the management bible, which outlines managerial skills, we’re talking more about concrete operations and ways of doing things, using numerous examples. Particularly in the sections on “feedback” and “conflict management”.

Management theories, psychology and communication

Through communication, we learn about human psychology and the inherited patterns that condition filters and modes of communication.

  • Filters are the elements that interpret an incoming message.
  • Psychological patterns are the anchors that influence reactions and model communication.
  • Filters and schemas go hand in hand

To complete your knowledge of management theories, communication and psychological patterns, you can also learn about the following theories, which are described in complete files:

NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) and ‘drivers ‘ provide fundamental theoretical and practical insights for improving communication.

  • Transactional analysis, which identifies the child, adult and parent in each of us. Depending on the posture we adopt, our communication is impacted (“come on, please” = submissive child / “come on, I’ve already told you” – critical parent – etc).
  • Karpman’s triangle, with the postures of victim, persecutor and saviour.
  • Neuroscience and management styles and postures in the workplace,
  • Values and beliefs..

Management theory and communication in the Assess Manager test

Self-knowledge as a lever for understanding and modelling communication is covered extensively in the following sections of the Assess Manager test:

The results of the personality and management test (duration 20 minutes – 1 single questionnaire) enable us to identify the following elements in particular, which are directly linked to a person’s communication: Sensitivity to consensus, Degree of empathy and ability to protect, Degree of extraversion / introversion, Ability to play a role through social ease, Degree of frankness, Ability to say no, Listening style and direction of influence (on oneself or others), Managing emotions and ability to listen factually, Language metamodels (generalisation / interpretation / omissions – NLP), Simplified Transactional Analysis egogram (child / adult / parent), Relationship games and Karpman’s triangle, Ways of finding resources (alone or in contact with others), Stress management and effects on the relationship, Ability to positivise / relativise / tendency to dramatise

In the management test , an innovative and scientific algorithm enables you to obtain the following results:

  • Neuroscience and functional tendencies – evolution of tendencies
  • Ability to convince
  • Ability to manage conflict
  • Ability to formulate an appropriate objective
  • Ability to unite around a corporate vision

Management theory and delegation

Delegating is a key managerial skill that requires a great deal of thought beforehand.

Managers may react in different ways to the act of delegating. Some delegate too much without support, others are unable to gain trust or are afraid of losing power by delegating tasks that are within their remit, and still others delegate tasks thinking they are delegating tasks, and so on.

It’s an act that’s both simple if you describe it as handing over a task or assignment, and complex when you consider :

  • the obstacles and motivations of the delegatee
  • the methods of delegation in its context.

Management theory – Hersey and Blanchard, situational management in delegation

Hersey and Blanchard’s theory is close to Blake and Mouton’s theory.

In this model, 4 leadership styles are defined according to the degree of motivation of employees and their ability to grasp the task or mission. The simplified model of this organisational theory of management is presented as follows:

The Blake and Mouton grid – delegation management theory

In 1964, Blake and Mouton developed a grid which is similar to the Hersey and Blanchard model, although the approaches are not identical. Blake and Mouton developed a grid which can be used in delegation management by considering concern for production on the horizontal axis, and concern for people on the vertical axis. They also include motivation, measured from negative to positive.

Their approach makes it possible to identify a first, so-called impoverished, style of delegation, through which the person delegates and disappears (low production, low staff). If we link this style of delegation with a high level of staff motivation and skills, we can define a suitable mode of delegation in which the employee is capable of taking charge of an assignment or task, but also appreciates having the latitude to act, being competent to carry it out.

This illustration shows the negative points perceptible in the model and associated with the personality of the person delegating, who passes on without worrying about the result. The positive points are that a competent, motivated person is in charge, and is the right person for the job. On the other hand, the result is very negative when dealing with an employee who is not very competent or motivated.

To sum up what we have said and to summarise the models presented, the 4 leadership styles can be broken down by considering that any style can be effective or ineffective depending on the degree of professional maturity of the employees. In addition to these theoretical approaches, we also use the Eisenhower matrix to decide whether or not it is important to delegate a task or assignment, putting ourselves in the manager’s shoes. The Eisenhower matrix separates tasks or assignments according to their degree of importance and urgency.

The method of delegation (leadership style) and the choice of delegation (mission/task) will depend above all on :

  • a person’s ability to carry out the task/assignment
  • their motivation to carry out the task/assignment
  • the underlying objectives associated with the task/assignment: increasing the employee’s skills to achieve other objectives
  • The iterative or non-iterative nature of the task or assignment, which enhances the value of passing on skills
  • The degree of importance or urgency of the task or assignment.

Delegation matrix, a combination of managerial theories: Hersey and Blanchard, Blake and Mouton, Eisenhower

The most common problem in traditional hierarchical relationships is the stereotypical behaviour of the manager, who responds in the same way in all circumstances. As a result, the development of employees’ maturity is generally blocked at an average level. Situational adaptability in the face of these 4 modes of leadership makes it possible to approach delegation in an appropriate way, by integrating a range of data to analyse the most suitable leadership style.

You can also read :

Blanchard (“Le manager minute” 1982), more specifically explored the notion of the employee’s development cycle towards autonomy. For him, a person’s development in his or her job successively passes through four stages aimed at autonomy, and therefore delegative leadership on the part of the manager.

Management theory and delegation in the Assess Manager test

The MANAG-ER report describes the forms of delegation and the manager’s natural styles when dealing with his or her team. A detailed dossier on leadership styles is also presented, based on management theories.

The manager’s ability or predisposition to delegate is also assessed in the MANAG-ER report’s managerial skills reference framework.

Please note:

It is important to note that a manager may have a delegative management style without having any proven skills in delegating. This is not an error in the evaluation of the test, but rather a complementarity of information which highlights a predisposition for action with specific points for progress. The manager can therefore certainly develop this managerial skill positively and quite easily.

Management theory and decision making

Strategic, operational or even exceptional, decisions are omnipresent in a manager’s day-to-day life. Indecision has a cost, and decisions neglected today can become critical situations tomorrow. However, the manager is faced with a volumetric problem that goes beyond the quality of the decision itself.

Although this is an essential skill for managers, making decisions is no easy matter. Uncertain environments and increasingly complex situations subject decision-making to economic, temporal and technical constraints, both internal and external, which only serve to heighten the manager’s anxiety in the face of this responsibility.

Management theory – What kind of decisions?

Etymologically, the word decide comes from the Latin caedere, which means to cut, to slice.

Deciding is a voluntary act by one or more people who choose between several possible solutions to provide a satisfactory response to a given problem.

  • Strategic decisions: these are taken by the top of the hierarchy and commit the organisation over the long term; they reflect the general policy of the organisation (for example, a company specialising in the production of mattresses decides to diversify by also producing beds and slatted bases)
  • Tactical decisions: these are taken by department managers; they are medium-term decisions concerning the management of the organisation (for example, the human resources manager decides to take on a new employee)
  • Operational decisions: these ensure the day-to-day running of the organisation; they are short-term decisions (e.g. managing schedules, ordering supplies)

Management theory – Authors on the subject of decision-making

Various theories and methods on the subject are set out in works such as “Decision-making” by the Harvard Business Review, a work which has the merit of concentrating the thoughts of various authors on the subject:

  • Peter Drucker – Effective decision-making,
  • John Hammond, Ralph Keeny and Howard Raiffa – Le juste échange: une méthode rationnelle pour trouver un compromis – The hidden traps of decision-making
  • Amitai Etzioni – Humble decision-making
  • Chris Argyris – The influence of interpersonal obstacles in decision-making
  • Perrin Stryker – Can you analyse this problem?
  • and Alden Hayashi – Knowing how to trust your intuition.

A few points of reference for decision-making

The decision and the notion of temporality

Before making a decision, it’s essential to identify the amount of time allocated to it: “How much time do I have?

The amount of time available enables us to react according to the situation: either more intuitively in urgent situations, or in a more structured and rational way when time is less of a factor.

The existence or setting of a deadline keeps the focus on the decision and avoids procrastination, without confusing speed with haste.

Decisions about the stakes generate fear

When faced with an important decision, the fear of making a mistake and of backlash is difficult to avoid and often generates negative tension.

Fear is an emotion that takes us directly back to our need for security and can tip us into a disaster scenario, which can override a more likely scenario.

How do you play down a decision?

You need to take a step back to put the issues in the right place, while avoiding dramatisation by taking a calm approach.

Pushing the disaster scenario to its logical conclusion is also sometimes a way of escaping the spectre of drama, if you know how to be philosophical enough.

Looking at your own emotions, and in particular your fears, is also a way of stepping back and putting them at a distance.

Getting help and sharing is also a plausible solution if the need arises. Isolating yourself is not always a good thing, as it can lead to a form of “dwelling”. Then, the methods below can help to build the path towards a more calm decision.

Situation analysis

To encourage effective decision-making, it is important to ensure that the information required is available, and therefore to collect it. The search for information must not, however, be a pretext for delaying a decision, and must therefore be organised and anticipated.

Then analyse the situation as a whole, examining all the ins and outs. In particular, what positive and negative impact will the decision have on you, on others and on the environment?

Collective decision-making and consultation

It is also possible to secure a decision by questioning people with different areas of expertise and/or competent employees (who are familiar with the issue and the field of activity) in order to gather their opinions. This provides relevant information, as well as options and alternatives. Gathering this information can provide food for thought (and limit the margin for error). But be careful not to make it too complex.

Risk measurement tools in decision-making

Using different decision-making tools (matrices, diagrams, graphs, etc.), you can measure risk-taking to help you step back and rationalise your decision-making.

Analysis tools include a SWOT analysis, for example, which identifies the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the decision under consideration.

As a complement, you can also use the analysis of use value in a matrix approach, with the precise objectives at the top of the matrix, followed by the problems and options. The scale of satisfaction with the different options can be noted. To go even further, the matrix can be completed with the risks and opportunities.

The decision tree is another approach with a similar logic.

Think outside the box. The answer is not always where the problem is

Taking a step back from the situation is highly recommended to allow yourself to step out of the box, or to look at the problem by “changing glasses”.

The Bono hats method, which consists of taking on different roles when faced with a decision, is a method that can encourage a global view and can also be a collective method of helping in the decision-making process.

The myth of the right decision

Deciding means assuming the risk of making mistakes. In an increasingly uncertain environment, we need to be aware that decisions can be imperfect.

There is no right or wrong decision. There may be several, and then there is the one that will be taken. The important thing is to have formed a firm conviction (even if the majority has a different opinion) and to be able to promote it to bring people together and make the decision a positive one.

This stage also enables you to be well prepared to receive criticism, because making a decision means making choices that may not please everyone… trying to achieve unanimity in your decisions is tantamount to exposing yourself to failure, because conflicts of interest often make this objective utopian.

Take your emotions into account, listen to your intuition

Over and above a rational understanding of situations, allowing yourself to be guided by intuition is one of the keys to decision-making. It’s situational intelligence that makes all the difference: this form of intuitive intelligence includes a great capacity for listening and openness that enables you to decipher the situation and take several parameters into account at once. It is also linked to an ability to seize opportunities.

However, this intelligence should not replace rational intelligence; it should complement expertise.

Intuition may be preferred for decisions that need to be taken urgently and in complex environments.

Assessing the consequences of a decision

Decision-making is a global process that is not limited to the act of deciding: it is no longer a question of deciding and “moving on”, but also of ensuring that a decision is implemented by monitoring and evaluating the results obtained and assessing the positive and negative effects of a decision.

Management theory and decision-making in the Assess Manager test

First of all, decision-making is one of the key skills measured in the skills reference framework that you will find in the MANAG-ER report.

Secondly, we can identify the type of decisions that managers are most likely to be comfortable with, using the breakdown of their managerial preferences – strategic/operational manager, MANAG-ER report.

Finally, to get a better idea of the manager’s qualities when it comes to taking decisions, we can refer to the ZOOM-ER personality report by looking at the indicators linked to personality traits, in particular:

  • Leadership (which identifies the manager’s self-confidence and ability to shoulder responsibility)
  • Sense of objectives (in terms of their sense of results, their relationship with others and their sensitivity to consensus)
  • Ways of thinking (to analyse a situation in order to pose the problem in an appropriate way)
  • Stress management (to take a step back from one’s emotions and make decisions calmly, without letting emotions get the better of you)
  • Openness to change (which influences decision-making).

The result is a comprehensive range of information to help you better understand the manager in decision-making: in his or her ability to act when faced with a decision to be made, on what subjects, and the influences of his or her personality on his or her decisions (resources, difficulties, tendencies).

Management theory and the Manager Coach

It is often said that coaching is a posture that complements know-how. What can coaching offer managers in their day-to-day dealings with their teams? Is it the same as participative management?

The manager-coach looks at the story at a different level – process, global vision.

When the manager is questioned by his team or a member of the team, he often has a direct reading of the story and intervenes as an expert. Their colleagues are often looking for answers and solutions.

When faced with a problem, the manager-coach reads the problem from a different angle. He analyses the process, the hidden issues, the attitude of the employees to the problem, etc. He has what is known as a meta view of the situation, which enables him to approach it from a different angle and helps his own colleagues to take a step back from the situation.

Rather than providing solutions, they will intervene on several levels:

  • Helping the employee to take a step back from the event
  • Look at the event/problem from different angles: what is at stake, what is at stake between the protagonists, what communication methods should be used, what posture should the employee adopt with regard to the subject, etc
  • Encourage the employee to find the solution independently: rather than providing the solution, the employee can ask questions to help the issue to emerge.
  • Empowerment: the manager-coach also helps employees to analyse their posture, their iterative scenarios, their resources and their difficulties, in order to develop their self-confidence, over and above their skills
  • Supporting change: manager coaches are also trained in the psychological and emotional processes involved in change, enabling them to support their teams more smoothly. In particular, they can identify conflicts of interest, resistance to change and limiting beliefs that are holding back change. They can also take a systemic view of the scenario being played out, so as to support a team at a higher level, beyond individual issues (corporate culture, values, etc.).

By listening, the manager-coach encourages the development of each person’s professional and personal potential, as well as the group’s confidence, autonomy and collective intelligence. They identify mistakes as learning opportunities, and move away from the sometimes infantilising relationships that employees feel when they have made a mistake.

The manager-coach, through his questioning and his relationship with the team, aims for greater individual and collective efficiency.

The manager coach in the Assess Manager test

If the manager has a manager-coach posture, the Test Assess Manager will indicate this in the MANAG-ER report.

In addition, with the support of a coach, the manager can use the indicators in the various test reports, and more particularly those in the ZOOM-ER report, to identify precisely his or her resources in a potential manager-coach posture, and also the areas where he or she needs to develop in order to further support this posture.

For example, a manager with a high score in the saviour posture will directly find keys to working with his coach to develop his relationship with the team.

Skills management theories

Before getting into the theoretical aspects, we recommend taking the free Assess Manager management test to identify your strengths and areas for improvement.

In the book “La boîte à outils du management”, by Patrice STERN and Jean-Marc Schoettl, 8 dimensions of the manager are set out.


“Le management à porter demain”, by Virginie LOISEL, Director of Assess Manager, highlights the 15 managerial dimensions assessed in the Management test.
As a preamble to pure managerial skills, 1 individual skill is singled out: the ability to organise and optimise one’s time so as to be available for the managerial role. This is why we propose to start with this first dimension.

Other useful links

To go further with Assess Manager