21st century is like no other. With rapidly technological advancement, managers of corporate organizations are set to meet more challenges related to how technological can be integrated into the management process. This implies that management skills are fundamental to meeting the challenges that corporate organizations are likely to meet in the operation process.
This report examines, in detail, the challenges that 21st century managers and executives are likely face in their organizations. The challenges identified in the report include global shortage of talents, brand management for employers and the need to manage multicultural multinational organizations.
The report also delves in discussing the fundamental skills that the managers and executives of the 21st century need to be equipped with so that they are able to position their organizations at a competitive level in the global business sphere.
The skills discussed in the report include interpersonal communication skills, ability to manage organizational changes that emanate both externally and internally, strategic and visionary manager and having global perspectives for both national and multinational corporations. The conclusion part of the report offers a summary of the whole content of the report. Also, there is the recommendation part that offers a number of suggestions on what should further be done about the subject of management skills in the 21st century.
The 21st century can be described an information age where information technology is very crucial of running day-to-day business operations (Gabbard & Ross 2004). Management concerns business issues and activities taking place within an organization; it is about people being organized so as to achieve common goals and objectives.
Management is consisted of planning, directing, organizing, staffing and exerting control of a given organization (Garces &Chua 1992). Since an organization can be seen as a system, management can also be described as human action which entails design, to smooth the progress of production of positive outcomes from a given system.
In order to achieve these, it is important that one must have management skills that fit with the demands of the 21st century. Noteworthy is the fact that the 21st century has come with various management challenges that managers need to grapple with; the challenges have arisen due to globalization where business corporations are strategically going global and hence the need for enhanced management skills that meet the challenges head on.
In view of these, this paper will examine management skills that are crucial for every manager who wants to succeed in the 21st century. The research process will utilize the review of various literature and research journals that have already been produced to this effect; the question of being able to deal with managerial challenges in the 21st century has elicited a lot of curiosity amongst managers and academicians alike and hence, the abundance of literature on the subject.
The information to be used in compiling the paper will be sourced from the library and academic and peer reviewed journals in the internet. The paper is organized into subsections each dealing with different issues. It divided into the following sections: the executive summary, the introduction part, aim of the paper, background information, challenges likely to be experienced by managers of the century and essential skills with subsections that will help solve the challenges, conclusion, recommendations and references.
The 21st century managers will need to possess a totally different specialized skills and experience, management orientation and challenges related to professional managers of the 121st century than those of the past centuries, especially the 20th century. It is important to note that have high competent managers, who possess the right management skills for the 21st century, will enable various corporate organization, both national and multinational, to remain highly competitive in the global business industries.
Considering all these factors, the aim of this paper is to critically examine ways through which the managers of the 21st century organizations are profit oriented or nonprofit based, can meet the challenges of the 21st century. These challenges, as has been discussed earlier, stem from the rapid growth in information technology which has completely revolutionalized the way business is conducted on the global sphere; this has been facilitated through globalization through which the world as a whole has become one big village.
Management skills are important tools for every manager and leader of a given organization. The responsibility of a manager or a leader is to coordinate available limited resources in an effective and efficient manner so as to ensure maximum utility of such resources with a view to achieving an organization’s goals and objectives (Bagad 2008).
Successful coordination of these resources and activities require that a manager of a given organization possess certain fundamental managerial skills; this is especially important when it comes to managing the human personnel within the organization. This owes to the fact amongst all the resources within an organization, only the personnel are able to vary in terms of needs and expectations (Bagad 2008).
Management skills are therefore a range of fundamental skills that a manager should possess in order to balance the integration of all organizational resources in order to produce desirable outcomes.
These fundamental skills keep on changing with time. The 21st century has come with new management problems that managers need to solve; and these new problems require that the managers are equipped with certain basic skills that will help them meet the challenges.
Fortunately, management skills are acquired through learning and experience and every manager should be able to learn new ones in order to be able to solve management problems that have come with the advent of the 21st century (Powell 2010).
Challenges and Management Skills for Managers in the 21st Century
21st Century Challenges to 21st Century Managers
As has been discussed earlier, management skills are very essential in coordinating resources of a given organization in order to achieve desirable outcomes. However, it is crucial to recognize the fact that there are management challenges in the 21st century that have necessitated the need for 21st century managers to possess certain skills that will help them maintain the competitiveness of their organizations. The challenges facing the 21st century managers are numerous; some these are:
Global Shortage of Talents
One of the most important resources of an organization is the availability of high competitive talents to help propel an organization’s mission. In the 21st century, the most critical problem includes hiring of highly productive human resources, retaining and inspiring specialist talents.
It is important to note that many organizations, if not most, have been experiencing high employee turn over which has seen the organizations lose some of their important talents.
Coupled with the rapid globalization process, best talents are seeking new opportunities stretching all over the world; experienced professionals are highly likely not to work and retire in one company, but they will continuously seek opportunities to work in other companies and organizations that offer them more benefits than their current employers. The global shortages of talents are also likely to arise due to internet links (Homer & Griffin 2006).
The 21st century will witness the upsurge in the number of virtual organizations in existence (Burn et al 2002). Such organizations do not have to keep employees in their offices or premises; they instead let the employees to work from home or wherever they like (Bidgoli, 2004).
The most important aspect of virtual organizations is that most of them like employing freelancers who they pay at a higher rate than organizations where employees have to be within the premises (Robbins 2009).
This is likely to turn away very experienced skills from being committed to an organization. Besides, this scenario has facilitated the demand for human resources managers to have some new skills that will empower them to ensure that their organizations attract high competitive and experienced professional skills and retain such talents.
Brand Management for Employers
The success of an organization depends on the kind of personnel it attracts to help spearhead its strategic plan. Most important thing to bear in mind is that as much as employers provide lots of benefits to employees, the kind of talents attracted to the organization is significantly dependent on how the potential employees perceive the organization.
Most employees, especially who are highly competent and possess high value skills and experience, will want to work in an organization that recognizes a multifaceted diversities that have been enhanced by the globalization process (Wilkinson 2009).
Corporations in the 21st century have the ambition of expanding their operations to cover the globe (Farazmand 2007). For this reason, managers are faced with the challenges of creating brand practices that will create, within an organization, the practices that ensure multicultural workplaces where personnel can feel proud and satisfaction for being part of an organization in which he or she also derives respect and recognition.
It is therefore important to note that the employees and potential employees of the 21st century are more optimistic than those of the past century; they are continuously moving to places where their needs and expectations can be met. This is a competitive point for the 21st century organizations. Taking for instance, when employees are considered to be just subordinates who can be hired and fired at any time necessary, they are most likely to feel demoralized and hence deliver poor performances.
Management of an Efficient Multicultural Organization
Rapid globalization started from the late 20th century. However, the 21st century is likely to witness a lot more of global changes that have never been witnessed in the past. There are an increasing number of corporations that engage in establishing transformational projects which have global scope dealing with cultural diversities.
This implies that the managers will have to find ways of ensuring that their organizations succeed and remain competitive in a multicultural global environment. As corporate organizations become multinationals, their personnel resources become diverse in culture and the managers now need to be culturally aware of other nations so as to be able to gain skills that will help in tackling the challenges of 21st century management process (Parvis 2006).
Management Skills Required By 21st Century Managers
Due to several challenges that face management process of the 21st century, there have been a lot of concerns regarding how both national and multinational corporations can remain competitive (Sinangil et al 2002). Several organizations have come up with varied strategies to address the challenges, some of which are unique to specific situations.
Nonetheless, in order to meet the challenges or problems of the 21st century, managers need to have certain fundamental skills that will increase their competence and hence enable them to be effective and efficient in the process of management. The solution to the managerial challenges requires the following skills:
Interpersonal Skills and Communication
This is otherwise known as people skills. The businesses and operations of corporate organizations are getting more complex in the 21st century. The complexity is enhanced by such facts as the need for a multinational corporation to manage both of its national and international portfolios.
This implies that such corporations deal with a large number of personnel who need to coordinate and work together towards common goals and objectives. Besides, the global flow of varied information and products has created more choices to be made, more scrutiny and also more competition (Madura 2006).
As the world becomes more complex, effective and efficient management will be characterized by the ability of the managers to assists their organizations to navigate the arising complexity so as to achieve intelligibility and unfussiness. Notably, intelligibility reduces fear while unfussiness creates confidence. Fundamentally, human beings essentially react optimistically to communication that is equally straightforward and unambiguous (Madura 2006).
Clarity of communication by the managers should be consistent with the Latimer Group’s of Five Rules for Great Leadership (Leon-Guerrero 2005). The first rule is setting a clear direction; the most important responsibility of a manager or a leader is to establish the course for a given corporation or organization and communicate it to the every stakeholder within the organization.
The communication should take place in a most efficient away and be aimed at making everybody in the organization to understand and internalize the course; it is about letting everyone work towards the same direction which is to successfully achieve the goals of the organization.
The second rule is providing clear role and appropriately delegating duties to everyone. The 21st century corporate organizations are continuously becoming complex in terms of operations; this has necessitated the need to create different departments and roles to be played by each individual.
The complexity of operations has had great influence on the management of varied operations of an organization. Effectively communicating the role that each individual performs will help the 21st century organizations to remain competitive and successful in their strategic plans, especially with regards to global operations.
Unlike in the past century, the 21st century corporate organizations are increasingly recognizing the need to incorporate employees and other junior staff members in their decision making process (Smith 1998). This implies that the managers should be able to enhance communications between them and the employees.
More over, it is critical to recognize that, in comparison to the 20th and other past centuries, the employees of the 21st century are motivated to work and be committed when fully informed and given the opportunity to perform certain roles strategic the an organization. This requires that the managers and leaders should possess interpersonal communication skills that help in bringing diversified individuals to work together and achieve the goals of an organization.
The third rule is that managers should create ownership amongst employers and other stakeholders in the organization. It has been posited that people will always give their best when their efforts are recognized.
They always want to get feedbacks on their excellent contributions to an organizational achievement. In this case, the managers should be to communicate constantly to employees about excellent performance. This has been said to be able to motivate the workers and even inspire them to stay in the organization for a long period process (Smith 1998).
The fourth rule is that the manager should not always take credit. Research findings have shown that individuals giving people credit always make them want to do more; and this depends on constant communications from relevant managers. This rule suggests that the managers should constantly communicate to their followers and let them take the credit where necessary. The last rule is conveying passions.
This is also one of the communication skills that have been widely recommended to managers. This rule might not have been applicable in the 2oth century organizations, but through scientific social research, it has been proven that passion leads to successful outcomes. Individuals can be assured of passion if they are communicated to in the most effective manner and in away that recognizes their input.
It is therefore clear that for managers to be successful in the 21st century organizations, it is crucial that they improve their interpersonal communication skills to relevant in terms of dealing with the 21st century employees.
Particularly, due to the fact that the 21st century will be witnessing higher rate of internationalization and globalization of corporations, managers have to find ways to effective communicate to diverse international employees, especially while working as expatriates; the meaning of this is that as corporations are formed, they need to have managers whose communication skills meet the international standards and expectations.
Ability to Manage Change
The 20th century witnessed an upsurge in technological changes; however, 21st century is bound to witness more technological changes than the previous changes. These changes will greatly impact on the operations of organization, especially the multinational corporations.
Compared to the past centuries, organizational changes in the 21st century are likely to be highly driven by technological advancements. Research findings indicates that technological advancements constitute an along which organizations attempts to outdo one another; many organizations also derive competitive advantage from technological innovations. This particularly takes place in the developed economies.
Hence, unlike most managers of the past centuries, 21st century managers need to be technology savvy apart from just being specialists in management (Crainer 1996). This helps organizations to find it easy to integrate most technological advancements it their systems. Besides, the environment within which organizations operates now is seriously consumed by too much information, lots of projects to undertake, competing priorities and the need to minimize operation cost.
This scenario requires managers to make knowledge work; and this is the one of the biggest challenges experienced by managers. There have been predictions by professionals that the 21st century is set to experience exponential changes that will lead to massive breakdown of adaptation process (Crainer 1996).
Looking back into the past centuries, most important part of a manager’s was to manage people, the employees and work processes. But in the 21st century, managers have to increased duties and responsibilities which include managing information and technology. Research outcomes have indicated that approximately over 90% of the work done by current managers requires the incorporation of technology.
Due to technological involvement in management process, change has become an ongoing process. In this century, quick paced changes are the norms of multinational corporations. This means that conceptualizing management of change as a focused practice area or handiness is no longer relevant.
Even though managers are responsible for managing operations and changes within an organization, it is important to note that organizational change is for every stakeholder. Therefore, the 21st century managers should realize that management process is no longer a preserve of specialized standing; every unit of an organization is subject to change.
This implies that, apart from managers, every one else requires to have appropriate skills for change management in order to participate as a change agent.
In view of the foregoing statements, it is evident that the 21st century managers do not need to strictly inform the kind of changes required and how to implement the changes, but they should be able to provide avenues through which all the stakeholders are involved in setting the course for an organizational change. In this case, the managers should know how to involve people in change management process; his main tasks should be to provide guidance and facilitate the availing of necessary resources (Crainer 1996).
Due to exponential changes being witnessed in most organizations, there are many challenges that are bound to be encountered. So, it is important that managers are armed with necessary skills to enable them foresee possible problems and offer solutions before they occur; but in the case of occurrence the managers should be able to mitigate the challenges. This implies that the managers should have accurate analytical skills and be adaptable to various problem solving skills (Crainer 1996).
One of the challenges facing change management is resistance to change by some of the stakeholders. The success of effecting change cannot be foretold with 100% accuracy. This is die to the fact change management is theory oriented. Nonetheless, those managers with the best predictions have the capability to better foresee the varied and very dynamic customer needs.
In the 21st century, the success of failure of a corporation will greatly be informed by its ability to surpass the needs of the customers contrary to just meeting them. All these depend on a manager’s ability to coordinate and set courses of actions to be used in achieving them.
Strategic and Visionary Manager
Running and directing operations of a company needs substantial skills, knowledge of administrative principles, planning, organization and approximation of outcomes; this also involves being able to conduct appropriate personnel policies. But the successful 21st century manager should be more than just a methodological wizard. She or he must be manager who is visionary and be able to offer the kind of motivation that can give employees a shared vision and success (Armstrong 2008).
With rapid changes in the way businesses are operated globally, leadership and vision are the indispensables for the survival of most corporations in the 21st century. It is therefore crucial that visionary leadership must be demonstrated by all managers within a given corporate organization.
In developing visionary leadership, managers require to be able to come up with the appropriate plans and models. They must tell where they have to get to, and this requires that they possess more skills than the 20th century managers. In addition, it is important to acknowledge that in the past several centuries, organizations’ mission statements only emphasized on specific organizational projects and projected growth levels. They did not lean on customer management.
Today, most corporate organizations are starting to realize the role customers in their advancement; the corporations are creating a more customer oriented strategic outlook.
But in order to succeed in this process, the managers of various organizations must instigate and encourage this approach in the course of strategic development and planning; it implies that every stakeholder needs to be involved in the whole process; this also entails letting them have contributions during crucial decision and choice making process. This has been proven to work effectively and has made work of managers to be easier since they no longer need to strain by making sole decisions (Armstrong 2008).
The 21st century strategic development is getting away from top-down approach that characterized the past centuries. It is increasingly taking the approach of consensus deployment. This allows all managers and supervisors to make their input on the goals and objectives of an organization.
By having skills in facilitating the deployment approach to strategic management enables the organizations to achieve shared commitments from the work force in its entirety since every manager must obtain consensus from his or her employees. Sharing of organizational common goals by all divisions is achieved by consensus approach, which in turn enhances rapid implementation of the goals of an organization.
Giving an example, many Japanese corporations have adopted the use of consensus approach to their complete advantage when in the process of putting into operations new technological practices like with JIT or TQC (Kupanhy 1993). It is acknowledged that consensus building in a hard task but once it is achieved, implementation becomes fast and efficient due to shared agreements and objectives
Having the skills of effectively using the approach of deployment in strategy formulation is most important to the 21st managers. The managers should be able to integrate the resultant strategies into meeting the needs of an organization’s customers.
Moreover, a strategic and visionary manager of the 21st century should be aware of the challenges facing the 21st century corporate organizations and be aware of the strategies employed by other organizations in meeting such challenges. In this case, the strategic and visionary manager should not just concentrate on his or her organization, but should also be curious to know what strategies make other corporations to succeed and the strengths they have to overcome organizational challenges.
Possessing Global Perspective
Having a global perspective is a fact that was stressed in the late 20th century as a preparation to meet the global challenges to be encountered in the 21st century. With the world being in the 21st century, it is evident that every manager must have the global perspective which helps them be mindful of the varied cultures from different regions of the world.
As discussed earlier on, the 21st century is set to witness increasing globalization and internationalization of corporate organizations. Hence, it is also important that managers should possess skills and talent that will enable them carry out their duties in an internationally multicultural environment.
It is notable that the number of producer and suppliers are constantly increasing the global economy. This makes global operations of multinational corporations to get more complex with time. At the same time executives and managers must still take charge of their occupations; in this case, they must find ways of upgrading their skills and talents that will make them advance with the increasing globalization (Honeycutt 2003).
Individuals pursuing varied courses have been found to consider career paths with global implications. This is due to the fact that management in the 21st century is increasingly becoming different from that of the past centuries. In fact, for the 21st century managers, learning as a continuous process is a reality.
The managers must continuously learn how to work with new technological applications, acquire information on corporate operations in different geographical and cultural regions paying attention to legal implications to business to such regions (Honeycutt 2003).
Having a global perspective for managers means possessing a global mindset backed by appropriate skills and relevant knowledge. It worth noting that managers possess different mindsets which range from domestically leaning defender, and proceeds to explorer, then the controller and finally being globally oriented integrator. In order for managers to be successful in the global operations of their organizations, they need to possess the mindset of a global integrator.
This allows significant formulation of global strategies that assist in the integration of global business, regional or country pressures and global functions into the operations of their corporations.
This may be a complex task for an ordinary manager. It is therefore imperative that managers to be conscious of the fact that with globalization, multinational corporations are increasingly becoming specialized, interdependent and integrated into the wider global business operations network.
However, this is not possible if managers do not possess the necessary skills that can empower them to position their organization on the global business map. These skills can be gained through learning and experience as businesses go global (Honeycutt 2003).
Management in the 21st century is bound to come with lots of challenges that managers have to deal with. The century has been described as an information era where information technology is very crucial in running commonplace business operations (Bryant & Peck 2007). Management concerns business issues and activities taking place within an organization; it is about people being organized so as to achieve common goals and objectives.
Management is consisted of planning, directing, organizing, staffing and exerting control of a given organization. It has been evident that the 21st century is set to witness more technological advancements as compared to the last several centuries; due to this, there are a number of challenges anticipated for the 21st century managers.
Shortage of talents is one of the challenges the managers have to deal with. Without necessary management skills many different organizations are highly likely to experience high rates of employees’ turn over stemming from unmet expectations and lack of growth opportunities. Other challenges are brand management by employers and management of a multicultural environment in an organization.
It is important that the 21st century managers arm themselves certain fundamental skills that will make them be effective and efficient in the century. One of the skills they need to possess is interpersonal communication. In a situation where management of multinational and National Corporation becomes complex due to the need to handle both national and international operations, effective communication is very crucial.
Effective communication will ensure flow of accurate information right from top to the bottom of an organization. Ability to manage change is also crucial for 21st century managers. With technological advancement, there are a lot of changes that will continuously take place in every organization.
These changes due to technological advancement have increased the roles of managers to managing information, operation process, personnel and continuously making and adjusting strategies. Again, the managers need to be strategic and visionary. Managing and directing operations of a company needs substantial skills, knowledge of administrative principles, planning, organization and approximation of outcomes.
This is also coupled with the ability to work appropriately with different policies concerning personnel management. Being a strategic and visionary manager also entails involving all the stakeholders in the strategic management process. Furthermore, it is crucial for 21st century managers to have global perspective.
This is especially very crucial in such a time when the rate of globalization is high and the number of multinational corporations increasing. This implies that corporations should have global strategies in order to remain competitive; but these depend on the skills possessed by corporate managers with regards to global perspectives.
There are still a lot of skills that the 21st century managers need to have in order to be able to meet and tackle the challenges in their organizations. This report gives just but a few of the most important skills that a manager should possess. Moreover, it has offered just some of the challenges that are likely to be faced by managers of the 21st century organizations.
It is therefore important to note that there are still more challenges beyond the scope of this report that should be learnt by managers and executives. Most of the potential challenges predicted for the century are theoretical. In view of this, it is important that more research studies be conducted so that real challenges can be pointed out. The benefit of such studies is that managers and business executives will be able to know the most appropriate skills to be used in tackling them.
It is also important to note that technological advancement is an on going process. Therefore, organizational challenges facing managers are set to in increase and become more complex that the present century. It is therefore important for managers to anticipate more complex challenges.
This may entail ensuring that every manager has the right skills and competent enough to meet such challenges. It may also require that the curriculum activities for managers be changed so that in the training process, the managers and potential managers are able to be informed of the real challenges facing corporate organizations at any given period of time.
Besides, managerial specialists should come with different writings to address managerial skills requirement for the 21st century and beyond. This will offer more information to both the currently practicing managers and the potential ones. Moreover, constant writing on the subject will reveal new challenges as they arise with time.
Armstrong, M 2008, How to Be an Even Better Manager: A Complete A-Z of Proven Techniques and Essential Skills, Kogan Page Publishers, p. 181-229.
Bagad, SV 2008, Financial & Industrial Management, Technical Publications, P.2.
Bidgoli, H 2004, The Internet encyclopedia, Volume 1, John Wiley and Sons, p. 446.
Bryant, CD & Peck, LD 2007, 21st century sociology: a reference handbook, Volume 2, SAGE Publications, pp. 430-439.
Burn, J, et al 2002, e-Business strategies for virtual organizations, Butterworth-Heinemann, pp.1-7.
Crainer, S 1996, Key management ideas: thinking that changed the management world, Pitman, p.109-156.
Farazmand, A 2007, Strategic public personnel administration: building and managing human capital for the 21st century, Volume 1, Greenwood Publishing Group, p. 136.
Gabbard, D & Ross, WE 2004, Defending Public Schools: Curriculum continuity and change in the 21st century, Greenwood Publishing Group,pp. 209-217.
Garces, RL & Chua, T 1992, Waste management in the coastal areas of the ASEAN region: roles of governments, banking institutions, donor agencies, private sector and communities, The WorldFish Center, p.166.
Homer, LJ & Griffin, BA 2006, Bridging the Skills Gap: How the Skills Shortage Threatens Growth and Competitiveness…and What to Do about It, American Society for Training and Development, pp. 4-11.
Honeycutt, DE 2003, Sales management: a global perspective, Routledge, p. 14.
Kupanhy, L 1993, Japanese manufacturing company: JIT production method and management strategies, Osaka City University, pp.401-403.
Leon-Guerrero, A 2005, Social problems: community, policy, and social action, Pine Forge Press, p. 46.
Madura, J 2006, Introduction to business, Cengage Learning, pp. 260-298.
Parvis, L 2006, Understanding Cultural Diversity in Today’s Complex World, Lulu.com, p.76.
Powell, NW 2010, Management Experience Acquired: Necessary Skills for Successfully Managing Any Employee, BookPros, LLC, pp.1-23.
Robbins, PS 2009, Organizational behavior, Pennsylvania State University, pp.267-365.
Sinangil, KH, et al 2002, Handbook of industrial, work & organizational psychology: Organizational psychology, Volume 2, SAGE, p. 392.
Smith, LC 1998, Computer-supported decision making: meeting the decision demands of modern organizations, Greenwood Publishing Group, pp. 1-165.
Wilkinson, A, et al 2009, The SAGE Handbook of Human Resource Management, SAGE Publications Ltd,p.138.