While some people might use “administrative skills” and “management skills” interchangeably, these are two distinct areas. In business, administrative skills focus on areas of planning and policies. Management skills, however, deal with actually putting different plans and policies into operation. Administrative skills include creating an annual budget, while management skills consist of finding efficient ways to operate within the budget.
Administrative skills include having working knowledge of diverse areas within an organizational structure. These skills include finance, accounting, strategy and even organizational behavior. Administrative skills have a strong foundation in decision-making skills, combined with a solid financial understanding and powerful communication skills. In addition, administrative skills focus on financial matters within an organization, including cost savings and budgets.
Management skills have a strong emphasis on leadership skills. While having solid administrative skills might enable you to raise enough money to design the next space station, it takes someone with strong management skills to go from the planning stage to the actual creation of the project. Management skills also include understanding and implementing task delegation responsibilities, allowing multiple projects and tasks to take place simultaneously.
In an organization, administration tends to be part of the upper levels of the structure. Management, however, tends to be either in the middle levels and even in some of the lower levels. Administration makes decisions as to what needs to be accomplished and what sets the timetable, and management makes decisions as to who should work on administration requests and how to bring the projects or desires to fruition. In other words, administration concerns itself with the abstract needs, while management puts plans into action.
A critical difference between administrative skills and management skills is found in micromanagement. Micromanagement is when a manager cannot delegate authority and responsibility, choosing to handle all aspects of a project on his own. However, there is no equivalent when it comes to administrative skills. Because management skills tend to require action while administrative skills require thought, it is much easier to micromanage a project rather than to micro-administrate one.
When finances become an issue in an organization, combining administration and management areas leads to cost reductions. Someone who has strong administrative skills in a management position can combine efficient planning with dynamic task delegation. At the same time, placing someone with strong management skills in an administrative position can increase efficiency and productivity.