Last Updated 15 Feb 2021

3 Skills Every 21st-Century Manager Needs

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The past decade has seen a sudden and drastic change in the way work is done. Corporate culture has now embraced the dynamics of modern management thinking and is rapidly aligning itself with the evolving organizational environment. The HBR article ‘3 Skills Every 21st Century Manager Needs’ is a commentary on the evolving corporate structures that are more collaborative and less hierarchical.

Code Switching Between Cultures: A critical practical challenge that organizations face in the increasingly interdependent global economy is the ability to function effectively across national cultural boundaries. Instead of operating exclusively within the cultural setting in which they were born and raised, individuals must now be capable of functioning appropriately in a wide variety of foreign cultural situations, many of which have different cultural norms for appropriate behaviour that may conflict with their core values and beliefs.

In response to this challenge, a growing number of management scholars have examined the antecedents and consequences of successful long-term adaptation to a foreign culture. “To work well with foreign colleagues, you may have to risk feeling inauthentic and incompetent. ” –Andrew L. Molinsky. Wielding Digital Influence: Being culturally fluent means being able to enter a new context, master the norms, and feel comfortable doing so. Most managers understand how to use online tools, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, to build their networks.

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But few use these networks to gather information and wield influence. Here are three things you can do with a strong digital network: Test ideas: Test proposals and strategies both inside and outside your organization. Float an idea to see how many “likes” it gets or to direct people to a survey. Broker connections: Increase your influence by positioning yourself as a bridge between unconnected groups. Identify potential collaborations and make introductions. Get feedback: Good networkers rely on their contacts to give feedback on challenges. Post a message about your struggle and solicit input. As companies become less hierarchical, the effective use of online networks will be crucial to success. ” –Thomas H. Davenport and Bala Iyer. Dividing Attention Deliberately: How do our brains function naturally? Close your eyes for 5 minutes and notice how your thoughts zigzag, stray, jump and double back. To ‘unnaturally’ force our brain into giving any piece of work it’s undivided attention does not really promote productivity. In the example of the IBM employees, the collective distraction of all seven of them did not lower their productivity any bit.

Therefore, training ourselves to give any task our undivided attention is unnatural and unnecessary. Recent surveys have shown that while ordinarily people assume that access to the internet decreases their level of productivity, it is actually quite the contrary. The productivity levels go up by over 9% and hence blaming technology for diverting our attention p is both misleading and unproductive. “Instead of battling distraction, embrace your brain’s proclivity for it. ” –Cathy Davidson.

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