What does it take to lead?

An experienced manager with the right training and skills can be a tremendous boon to any organisation. Likewise, a bad manager can have the opposite effect.

Richard Lehnerdt, Chief Connexion at connexion.zone says, "too often the best performing team member has been promoted into a position of leadership without the necessary skills to help them in their new position. This normally results in losing two valuable positions as well as a decrease in morale".

Moving from employee to supervisor requires more than a simple office change. Managers need to have certain skills in order to meet new challenges.

Things like leadership, time-management, technical and communication skills are typically highlighted as essential to the management position. However there are also the lesser known skills and traits that can help new managers or supervisors fulfill their role.

Good Judgement

The ability to correctly judge a situation has a huge impact on organisational culture, brand reputation and many other aspects of business. Good judgement is the key to fast and effective decision-making. In many ways this level of discernment can only be learned through trial and error.


Maybe more aptly described as a trait than a skill humour can be used to diffuse tensions, make connections and build trust. Experienced supervisors know how to use humour appropriately to improve productivity and decrease stress.

Self awareness

Do you know your triggers? Are you able to manage your emotions? Self awareness is the ability to perceive and understand yourself and others.There is a growing school of thought that rates self awareness as one of the most important qualities a leader can have.


Overcoming challenges helps you to learn, grow and evolve and success often has to do with perseverance. This is not to say hard skills such as technical ability and knowledge don’t matter, but perseverance is a big part of being a successful manager and supervisor.

According to Burke & Sokol, there is a high degree of failure among general managers and a lot of this has to do with leaders failing to transition effectively. Transition to general management requires transformation and, if you consider the political and economic uncertainty South Africa often finds itself in, this often affects the leaders ability to transition. Other aspects that become challenging are worker resistance to the transition (from co-worker to boss), lack of support from upper management and a lack of training.

There are some skills that only come with time and experience but this doesn't mean that new managers or even seasoned ones can't equip themselves to succeed.

This is where General Management training comes into effect.

The scope of management is wide, but the essential aspects of it are: leadership, self and people management and management practices. The General Management learnership offered by CorporateWise covers these aspects through a wide range of unit standards, which are grouped into modules. It teaches learners to become effective in all aspects of management and helps them understand the skills needed to successfully lead people and create strong teams and efficient workers.

CorporateWise carries out learnerships in companies and our core Learnerships are General Management (Level 4) and New Venture Creation.