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An overview of the main skills required by the modern manager Essay

In the current ever-changing society, appropriate management skills are inevitable for the success of any organization. Although not all managers of organizations carry out exactly the same functions, they are usually useful in planning, organizing, directing, and controlling the operations of the organizations to make sure that the organizations fulfill their objectives.

According Harold Koontz and Heinz Weihrich, “management is the process of designing and maintaining an environment in which individuals, working together, in groups efficiently accomplish selected aims” (cited in Reddy, 2004, p.3.).

Based on this definition, it implies that a manager is required to carry out managerial functions, meet the goals of the organization it is representing, and create a surplus through undertaking productive operations. However, the modern work environment has many challenges that a manager must be ready to surmount so as to be successful. Therefore, a modern manager is obliged to have a repertoire of beneficial skills.

The role of the modern manager is even more complex since he or she has to deal with the ever-changing work environment. The modern leader has to tackle the intricacy and the speed of change that is taking place in companies. Ellis (2005, p.13) points out that managers of previous generations were not obliged to tackle the swiftness, intricacy, as well as the regularity of changes that the modern manager is forced to take care of.

Because of this, today’s manager is required to have skills of constantly monitoring the performance of the employees so as to spot any changes that might have taken place and implement appropriate corrective actions (Bacal, 1999; Jones, 1999). It is important for a manager to carry out employee performance management because it defines the results that employees should strive to accomplish and, more so, without them, an organization can lose both time and money on operations that are insignificant for its success.

Skills in employee performance management are particularly important in ensuring that the employees are assessed on a routine basis in order to assist them attain realistic objectives and thus meet the goals of an organization. Today’s manager is required to be able to monitor the workers performance in a mutually accepted ways by using policies and procedures that are clear (Armstrong and Baron, 2004).

The various policies and procedures should be based on planning work and laying down expectations to be achieved, frequently monitoring performance, building the ability to perform, irregularly rating performance on a summary fashion, and providing incentives to acknowledge good performance. In addition, to tackle the speed of change that is taking place in companies, managers should ensure that meetings are held with employees on a regular basis, but not only when a problem has been spotted.

In order to be successful, a modern manager is required to have essential skills in motivating the employees. When a manager is able to motivate his or her employees, they will get encouraged that the place of work forms their second home (Kehoe & Alston, 2007; Messmer, 2001).

Therefore, they will feel that their input in the running of the organization is recognized and that no one is simply treating them as moneymaking machines. As a result, a motivated workforce will ensure that the goals of the organization are met (Bruce & Pepitone, 1999).

To achieve this, a manager needs to understand the complex interplay of both internal and external factors that influence the behaviour of the employees at the place of work. After knowing these factors, a manager can tailor programs that address the specific needs of the workers since they are what determine their behaviours (Furnham, 2005). More over, it is important to note that the best way of motivating the employees is by example.

When a manager of an organization is self-motivating, it becomes easy to pass this beneficial attribute to the employees (Banfield & Kay, 2008). A manager with skills in inspiring his followers can play a vital role in the success of an organization in today’s work environment.

In any organization, effective communication forms the optimal ingredient for the day-to-day running of its activities (Werner & DeSimone, 2009). That is why it is imperative for the modern manager to have adequate communication skills. Skills in verbal and non-verbal communication are crucial for the effectiveness of the role of a manager, especially currently when most places of work are composed on workers from different backgrounds.

This cultural diversity at the place of work calls for all managers to learn new communication techniques of interacting with the employees. Effective intercultural communication leads to satisfying interpersonal relationships between the manager and his or her followers, strengthens friendship bonds, and enhances better understanding of the people at the place of work (Foong & Richardson, 2008).

When a manager is unable to communicate effectively with his or her subordinates, dire consequences can be witnessed. It can lead to disagreements that can impair the productivity of the employees. In addition, flawed communication can make a profitable business opportunity to be missed and a good intention can be frustrated.

Effective communication skills ensure that the employees are kept conversant with the activities taking place behind the scene and rendering a listening ear to their grievances. Adhering to this at the place of work spurs personal development because employees generally respond well to environments that take care of their emotions (Kandula, 2004).

In a situation when an employee approaches a manager for guidance, support, or feedback, the manager should give his or her attention to the problem of the employee. It is vital that in such a situation, the communication process should take place in a clear, interesting manner. This will ensure that the manager handles the need of the employee without any misunderstanding his or her needs.

The today’s manager is required to have adequate skills in decision-making since making the correct decisions enables an organization to attain its objectives easily. In the current work environment, challenges are inevitable and most of the time a manager is required to make quick decisions to address the arising issues (Savory & Butterfield, 1999; Wiig, 2004).

In such a situation, a manager ought to have skills in logical and systematic decision-making in which he or she grasps the intricacy of the situation, think about how to tackle the issue, and thoughtfully assesses the impact of the course of action to be taken. In addition, a problem-solving approach is regarded as one of the essential skills in management decision making since to succeed in analyzing a particular situation, one need to reason each outcome and establish the pros and cons of the course of action to be taken.

To succeed in doing this, a manager is required to be quick thinker who can make correct decisions without panic (Werhane, 1999). And even if the decision made is wrong, a manager should be ready to accept the wrong decisions made and find appropriate ways of dealing with them.

Another important management skill for a modern manager is the ability to carry out and evaluate research findings. It is of essence to note that constant evaluation and research is significant to ensure that an organization maintains a cutting edge in business.

In as much as managing the present in order to make sure that there is excellence in output is vital, a proactive manager should have the ability of looking into the future by conducting and evaluating research findings about the progress of the business. In addition, having research skills will also improve the credibility of a leader since he or she will be able to back up his or her arguments by presenting data from research. This managerial attribute is vital in this current demanding time.

Mr. Michael O’Leary, the CEO of Irish low cost airline, Ryanair, has transformed the once ailing operation into one of the profitable airlines in the globe (Carayol, 2004). His apt management skills, centered on tackling intricacy and the speed of change in the airline industry, is the main reason for his success as a manager.

Before joining the airline company, it was experiencing huge losses. However, since he was promoted to be the CEO of Ryanair in early 1994, he managed to bring the company from a crisis through his no-nonsense management style. O’Leary has never feared to make ‘hard’ decisions, regardless of whether they will ruin his career or the image of the company. His unorthodox business model has now become a legendary that every manager wants to emulate.

However, O’Leary also demonstrates some styles in management that are not so good. Most of the time, he has been described as arrogant because of his comments which he later tries to chip away from (Pritchard, 2010).

O’Leary uncompromising management style, aggressive reduction of prices, and intimidating manner of tackling issues relating to the company has become his attribute. Some of his actions can result in low motivation among the employees of the company. Perhaps, this is his style of leadership and despite his ‘bad’ leadership style, O’Leary has managed to steer Ryanair into new heights in the aviation industry.

In conclusion, it is clear that the modern manager has to equip himself or herself with essential skills in order to successfully run the activities of an organization. Skills in constantly monitoring the performance of the employees are imperative since they ensure that the employees attain realistic goals of the organization. Skills in motivating the employees are equally vital since they make the employees to feel encouraged to meet the goals of the organization, without having to exert undue pressure on them.

Next, effective communication skills lead to satisfying interpersonal relationships at the place of work, which inevitably enhances the productivity of the organization. In addition, since challenges are an every day occurrence at the place of work, having skills in decision-making can prove to be of benefit for an organization’s success. Lastly, skills in carrying out and evaluating research findings are important since they ensure that the organization is able to compete favourably in the market place.


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