Lower-level managers, who supervise workers in businesses such as factories, shops, and offices, require skills in the major areas of conceptual thinking, interpersonal human relations, and technical performance. Each of these is highly detailed in its particulars, but all are needed skills to supervise whatever sort of workforce is being managed at the lower level.
Although strategic thinking is a conceptual skill that is most important to upper-level managers, lower-level managers require this skill so they can adeptly focus worker productivity on meeting the organizational objectives and departmental output goals. Other conceptual skills are inspiring, motivating, ethical conduct, integrity, and problem analysis.
Among human relations skills needed by lower-level managers are skills in communication, team building, and problem solving. Interpersonal human relations skills are among the top seven skills reported by Harvard Business Review as needed by lower-level managers: "the top seven competences [including communication and team building] are listed in order of importance. . . for the supervisory group" (Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, "The Skills Leaders Need at Every Level").
Technical skills are major skills required by lower-level managers because these skills are critical to job performance, and it is job performance that lower-level managers supervise. This becomes clear when considering the tools, machines, procedures, techniques, components, and/ or products required in employee job performance across business types and jobs performed.