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Challenges of modern managers

Note: Throughout the handout, he includes she too; similarly him and his would include her

1. Introduction Manager vs. owner - difference
a. `Manager will be effective is he/she has a sense of ownership although he/she is not the
owner example being cost conscious; looking at the larger picture and in the larger
interests of the organization
b. Manager does it mean only to manage somehow; definitely not? Managing optimally the
resources at his/her command.
c. What does a manager manage?
i. Issues to solve them
ii. People management
iii. Strategy management
iv. Process management
v. Quality management
vi. Human Resource management or HRM
vii. Sales management
viii. Financial management
ix. Marketing management
x. Infrastructure management etc. The list is endless.
d. What skills should he/she possess to be successful and effective?
Can be grouped under Personal skills and Professional skills
i. People skills
1. Motivation
2. Empowerment
3. Recognition
4. Reward
5. Penalty if required
ii. Multi-tasking skills
iii. Organizing skills
iv. Net working skills
v. Communication skills, both written and oral
vi. Presentation skills
vii. Persuasive skills
viii. Decision making skills
ix. Facilitation skills
x. Problem solving skills
xi. Negotiating skills
xii. Talent management skills
xiii. Relationship management skills
xiv. Listening skills
xv. Being assertive, rather than being submissive or aggressive
xvi. Team building skills
xvii. Process orientation
xviii. Synchronizing skills synchronizing his priorities with those of the organization
xix. Personal discipline
xx. Being proactive and not reactive
xxi. Ability to scotch rumours in the initial stages itself
xxii. Ability to deal with a challenging situation firmly
xxiii. Being quality conscious
xxiv. Ability to conduct a meeting
xxv. Project management skills
xxvi. Documentation skills
xxvii. Being flexible in approach without any compromise on principles
xxviii. Understanding the difference between being accommodative and flexible on one
hand and compromising on the other hand
xxix. Personal development skills - professionally
xxx. Ability to promote visibility with the top management, both for self and his team
xxxi. Being tech savvy
xxxii. Conflict resolution skills
xxxiii. Being ethical by and large
xxxiv. Being decisive in a given situation without dragging his feet
xxxv. Ability to innovate and reinvent
xxxvi. Ability to practice lean management
xxxvii. Ability to deal with employees of both sexes without fear or favour
xxxviii. Ability to handle sexual harassment cases firmly
xxxix. Ability to be a watch dog
xl. Risk management
xli. Ability to manage issues relating to governance
xlii. Ability to sustain growth

2. What are the limitations of a manager?
a. Inability to read the larger picture
b. Too much living in the present, forgetting the larger picture
c. Being tempted to compromise for reaching short-term goals losing the long-term
perspective; missing the woods for the trees
d. Most of the times, sense of identity with the organization is absent as sense of ownership is
lacking; this could be a personality trait or the limitation of the scope of role or the
limitations of the top management style
e. Lack of clear career path within the organization

3. What could be the constraints in general for a manager?
a. Resources constraint including time
b. Too many senior staff as subordinates
c. Too many junior staff as subordinates
d. New management or next generation taking over the reins
e. Management philosophy Ends justify means and a no-holds barred attitude of the
f. Market is not conducive for growth
g. Conservative management with focus on loyalty rather than professionalism
h. Defective HR policies
i. Organizational structure being skewed top heavy or middle heavy or bottom heavy; some
corrective action required to be taken to bring in balance in overall human resources
j. Management not being proactive
k. Bureaucratic layers in decision making
l. Vested interests holding key positions in the organization
m. Militant union

4. In what way modern management is different from the conventional management? (challenges)
a. Working in insulation in the past vs. operating in a global environment
b. Absence of technology vs. technology environment
c. Being a specialist vs. being a specialist and a generalist at the same time
d. Not so demanding environment vs. continuously evolving and dynamic environment
e. Being respectful to seniors vs. attitude of questioning everything
f. Ability to focus vs. tendency to get distracted
g. Simplicity of data by and large vs. plethora of data
h. Physical copies of critical documents and relatively easy handling of confidentiality vs.
electronic data management and its concomitant risks (hacking etc.)
i. Less opportunities for professional development vs. higher demands for professional
development and opportunities too
j. Limited job hop opportunities vs. substantial opportunities to fall a victim
k. Limited women force in the past vs. substantial number of women employees
l. Hierarchy driven organization vs. tendency towards flat organizational structure
m. Only monetary rewards in the past vs. non-monetary rewards evolving a satisfactory non-
monetary rewards scheme
n. Exclusive management of the past vs. inclusive and democratic way of management that is
the current trend and practice
o. Dealing with knowledge workers unlike in the past
p. Diversity of culture & cross-cultural sensitivity unlike in the past
q. Increasing ability to handle uncertainty
r. How to engage employees across functional areas in decision making; rather than from top
to bottom approach it should be from to top approach
2. Redesigning the organisation into a more open, democratic and inclusive community
There must be a greater sharing and diffusion of power, knowledge, information into all the
members of the organization at every level of the corporate ladder, which means greater
empowerment of the people in the lower levels of hierarchy, especially with the front-line
employees who are in direct contact with the customer. Strategy-making should move away
from a top-down process done and imposed on all by an elite few at the upper levels of the
organization towards a bottom-up process which enables every employee to participate in
evolving the strategy. Similarly decision-making, problem-solving and innovation systems of
the organization must be able to harness the collective wisdom of the entire organization.
3. Rethinking leadership and control towards a more equitable self-managing power-
Leaders of the future must be able to create an environment which leads to self-management and
self-discipline among the employees rather than an imposed control from about through
compliance to rules, or fear of punishment. The leader must be able to create a high-trust culture
which unleashes the creativity of people. He or she must rely less on authority or position and
more on shared vision, values and purpose. Regarding hierarchy, Gary Hamel states: The
traditional organizational pyramid must be replaced by a natural hierarchy where status
and influence correspond to contribution rather than position.
This evolutionary thrust is expressing itself in the emerging society through the following
1. Increasing empowerment and participation of woman, with more and more woman
entering into the professional world and rising to leadership position.
2. Greater empowerment and participation of those workers in the lower levels of the
corporate hierarchy.
3. Thrust towards inclusive growth, economic upliftment of the poorer section of the
society, people participation in development, and a greater focus on minorities.

Management I nnovation
Planning Questioning
Budgeting Challenging
Measuring Dreaming
Evaluating I magining
Organizing Creating
Structuring Experimenting
Controlling Learning