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Being a successful manager in the 21st century takes many skills that can be placed into three categories: Management Style, Communication, and Employee Relations. Historically, managers have mostly fallen into the Theory X type manager, meaning they pushed for production at any cost to the employee. The manager would assume that most people dislike work and avoid it whenever possible. People responded to punishment and negative reinforcement, and also that employees wanted to be directed and did not want the responsibility of making their own decisions.
The 21st century manager will be much the opposite, seeing the employee as the number one asset. They see the employee as being driven and embracing responsibility, while being loyal to the company due to a positive reward system. Managers will stand back allowing for self-direction, and employee creativity and imagination to be tapped into. Next, communication is key to the success of any organization.
One important skill for a manager is being multicultural, and/or multilingual – being able to speak another language, and to understand and adapt to differing cultural cues.
This allows for a diverse work environment with less culture shock and improved human relations. Information will flow equally up and down the organization; employees will be kept informed about the Key Operating Indicators of the company, such as Internal PPM Scrap, Efficiency, On Time Delivery, etc.
Allowing for a visual representation of how the organization is doing, and making the employees feel more connected; in turn increasing productivity, decreasing scrap, pushing for quality and on time delivery – while being able to track improvements.
Finally, organizations have changed their outlook on customer relations, by making their employees their internal customers. Employees will be used as guides for continuous improvement of processes and policies throughout the organization.
This will allow the employee to form loyalty and commitment, knowing they have a say in how things work. Managers will be team leaders and coaches to new employees, meaning everyone is helping everyone else; allowing employees to embrace change. Employees with this new commitment will be more likely to be promoted from within with a wealth of company information and knowledge, helping them to renew the cycle and become better managers themselves.
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