Companies are more global and employees are more smart, diverse and demanding than ever before. Nowadays, manager’s traits and characteristics have shifted along with developments in organizational structures which are less hierarchical and more collaborative. Managers need to become aware of global politics in the world connected by the internet and globalization, become more innovative, make decisions, and act decisively .

The role and skill of 21st century managers have become more complex because of globalization of education, politics and the dynamics of global business practice. Managers of the 21st Century require confidence to manage multi-generational teams, maintain good relationship with employees, understand and manage diversity, ability to understand the use of online network, have excellent digital and technological understanding, and ability to navigate to be successful.  Managers should have ability to control and balance the needs of a multi-generational workforce. Nowadays, managers are increasingly struggling with generational differences in their workplace, employees ranging in age from their late teens to early 70s.

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When these generations bring its own work beliefs, values and expectations to the workplace then it can create conflict when they all come together. For example, Seb O’Connell, executive vice president and managing director for Europe at Cielo believes that older workers may perceive millennial as too eager to challenge norms while millennial employees could see previous generations as difficult to train. Here, we can see that there are problems which can arise from differing mindsets and communication styles of workers born in different eras. Managers need to deal with generational differences in the same way that they would deal with any other differing work styles.

The managers should focus on establishing strong workplace relationships between multi-generation teams. The 21st century manager should be good with their staff and maintain healthy relationship with all the team members.  With increase in complexity, globalization and politics, companies are demanding skills and abilities from their managers to understand employees and work along with them as expected to increase the output and productivity of the organization. For example, according to survey conducted by TINYpulse, nearly half of all employees were dissatisfied with their direct supervisors or managers which mean that the resistance between management and staff not only displays them in poor attitudes and morale; but it can also have a negative effect on a company’s productivity and revenue.

Here, we can see that poor relationships with co-workers and management in the workplace can be harmful to the health of the business and can cause many people to scare going to work each day. Managers should create healthy relationship by respecting and being open and honest with their employees.  A caring and an honest manager are required for an organizational growth, and help them to motivate the employees to work harder and build good communication skills with employees through many activities such as workshops, seminars, training programs and other activities. Managers need to understand and embrace diversity in the workplace. They should know that diversity has moved beyond merely gender, culture, education, family status and age. Due to increasing number of joint ventures, mergers and strategic alliances, there are people from different background who are brought together and it has created challenges for the 21st century managers for managing diversity in an organization.

The art of managing diversity establishes a great challenge to managers who are charged with the liability of leading diverse teams .  For example, according to a recent demographic analysis conducted by the Pew Research Center, by 2055, the United States of America will no longer have a single racial or ethnic majority and this means that a more diverse population will have major impacts on the workforce and how companies address diversity in the workplace. Here, we can see that there will be high diverse workforces in the organization and how managers will have to manage it.  They need to ensure that they prioritize communication, treat each employee as an individual and encourage employees to work in diverse group effectively and efficiently. They should also design policies, procedures, and other important information to overcome cultural and language barriers by translating things and using pictures, signs, symbols, etc.  In this modern era, it is necessary that 21st century managers should have skills to use online networking sites such as Instagram, Snapchat, Youtube, Twitter and Facebook. They are able to connect and interact with their employees and colleagues through such social networking sites. Managers are able to plan and make the company more strong by using these networking sites which help to provide information for proper planning of company strategies and plans.

For example, during a recent hiring push at HubSpot, Dharmesh Shah, the founder and chief technology officer of HubSpot, a web marketing company, who runs a 216,000-member LinkedIn group for entrepreneurs, and has more than 98,000 Twitter followers, tweeted about the company’s requirement for talented engineers and he quickly received appointments for hundreds of candidates, and he hired several of them. On another occasion, he asked help while wrestling with an error-prone program for a new product from his online followers and within hours he received many suggestions. This shows that managers who understand how to use online tools are able to build and expand their networks. They are able to participate and get to know more about social events and take initiatives for the welfare of the organization. Also, these online network acts as a bridge to connect with various employees and customers and can also lead to an increase in the company’s influence and reach.

A good 21st-century manager needs to figure out how to let online network to work to everyone’s advantage.  Every 21st century manager requires having excellent digital and technological understanding. In today’s digitized world of business, managers having knowledge about technology can add an advantage in the list of skills useful for the organization. Therefore, it is very much understandable it is one of the important skills that every manager need to be well versed with.

In this era, cloud, virtualization, and software-defined networking have empowered the new workforce. Managers are able to communicate with others, solve problems and accomplish tasks by current and new technology. They must learn how to select and use the appropriate technology for the task at hand and to apply them efficiently and effectively to achieve results. For example, Price Pritchett in “New Work Habits for a Radically Changing World” stated that since 1983 the work force in the United States added more than 25 million computers, and the number of cellular telephone subscribers had increased from 0 in 1983 to 16 million by 1993 where more than 19 million people carried pagers, and around 12 billion messages were left in voice mailboxes. Throughout history, technology has been the driving force of change. As a manager in the 21st century, it is imperative to integrate technology into the curriculum for a variety of reasons. Managers can gain information from the use of technology and improve performance in the organization. They need to be exposed to and familiar with current technologies in order to compete in a world marketplace.

The biggest challenges for managers of the 21st century are about understanding fully how global business practices have evolved and based on advances in the use of technology as well as the ability to connect with others and to be contacted by others. In this 21st century, managers have to face many barriers or rather say in this time of rapid industrialization and urbanization, they must face the challenges which they have to overcome to make their goal toward the system.  They are going to work with or to manage employees from different cultures and backgrounds. The manager needs to face the challenges like managing teams from different cultures who may or may not respond to their supervision when a company enters new markets.

For example, according to Dr. Karine Schomer, president of Change Management Consulting & Training LLC, a management firm based in the San Francisco area, employees from America may be more likely to seek opportunities for personal development and compensation, whereas employees from India may be more likely to respond to the concepts of company loyalty and prestige.  This shows that there can be cultural barriers between two countries and managers need to try to learn and understand their different culture of various employees while working in the multinational companies. It is vitally important that managers and employees are able to communicate company business, as well as their own needs. Managers are able to achieve cross-cultural competence by gaining experience during negotiations and meeting people from different cultures.

They have to be able to recognize miscommunication and correct mistakes when they happen. Manager of the 21st century needs to have the ability to navigate or study about the changes in technology and trends and make strategies and plans that will provide benefits to the organization. They should have an ability to predict or guess how the market will react or change in the near future and also should have the ability to sense for any good or bad changes that could affect the company’s growth and development. In today’s working environments, managers require far more than thinking skills and content knowledge. They need to have the ability to navigate the complex life and work environments in the globally competitive information in order to develop adequate life and career skills. It has been observed that developing a 21st century business, organization requires managers who are capable of navigating information can be helpful in the future. They also need to navigate competing interests of employees, and customers, scarce resources, ambiguity in authority, unclear rules and lack of information in the organization. In conclusion, the 21st century managers have faced many challenges and enhanced their traits over time in improving their qualities and skills as technology and business change their course in these many years.

A manager needs to look into the factors which can be beneficial for the business and for the employees. Thus, this essay highlights the challenges faced  and skills required by the managers in this global competitive market such as managing generation differences, forming or building trusting relationships, fully understanding diversity, digital and technology, overcoming cultural barriers between different countries and navigating regarding future. The results of this essay suggest that managers which have faced various challenges need to obtain different skills to have a positive impact on their success. 

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