What Are the Four Building Blocks of Management?

by Andrea Isom; Updated September 26, 2017
Management skills in four areas promote common goals throughout the organization.

More commonly known as The Four Pillars of Managerial Competencies, the four building blocks of management refers to a framework developed by the Information Technology Unit (ITU) at George Mason University to define the necessary components of proficient management skills into four distinct categories. Its usefulness provides supervisors and those who are supervised a common set of principles to follow so that an effective chain of communication and common goals are in place throughout an organization.

Know the Organization

To be effective, a manager must know the policies, operational procedures and goals of the company and what is expected of his team to be sure that specific, individual performance goals are aligned with the organization's bigger picture. Particular competencies to master in this area include understanding the company's strategic plan, procedures, codes of conduct, product line, vision and mission statement.

Cultivate Leadership Skills

Effective leadership is more than giving orders and performance reviews. To lead staff, a manager must provide directives that employees understand, a clear set of instructions to carry out and clear feedback about performance that relates directly to products or services provided by the company. A vital trait of leadership is the ability to define conflict and problems and initiate quick, effective and consistent resolution. This building block concentrates on improving performance evaluations, team-building exercises, customer feedback development and staff morale.

Manage Resources Efficiently

Good management is often defined by how effectively resources are used to achieve the company's goals. No manager is rewarded for going over budget with an exhausted work force. Managing resources requires an understanding for the tools, processes and constraints involved in fulfilling a manager's specific deliverable to the client or customer on behalf of the organization. Often aligned with organizational management skills, this pillar's skill set includes project management proficiency, strategic planning, SWOT analysis, change management, forecasting and budget management.

Communicate Effectively

Effective communication is learning to listen as much as you speak. Good communicators take the time to make sure they are understood by soliciting feedback and dialogue with those they manage. This also includes establishing norms of behavior between workers on a team that foster collaborative and productive interactions. Conducting effective and time-efficient meetings where participation is encouraged with supervisors and workers is crucial to knowing the organization (pillar one). Particular skills to sharpen include listening to and understanding the challenges of the team, public speaking and presentation skills, written-communication skills, giving verbal cues and body language.

About the Author

Andrea Isom began writing professionally in 1995. Her work has appeared in "US News & World Report: America's Best Colleges," "International Treasurer," "The Ithaca Journal" and "Utah Spirit." She copy-edited "The Wiley Guide to Fair Value under IFRS." She holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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