The Australian health system has been subjected to rapid changes in the last 20 years to meet increasingly unmet health needs. Improvement of the efficiency and comprehensiveness of community-based services is one of the solutions to reducing the increasing demand for hospital care. Competent managers are one of the key contributors to effective and efficient health service delivery. However, the understanding of what makes a competent manager, especially in the community health services (CHS), is limited. Using an exploratory and mixed-methods approach, including focus group discussions and an online survey, this study identified five key competencies required by senior and mid-level CHS managers in metropolitan, regional and rural areas of Victoria: Interpersonal, communication qualities and relationship management; Operations, administration and resource management; Knowledge of the health care environment; Leading and managing change; and Evidence-informed decision-making. This study confirms that core competencies do exist across different management levels and improves our understanding of managerial competency requirements for middle to senior CHS managers, with implications for current and future health service management workforce development.